Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the important parts.
Your Executive Summary should get the reader’s attention quickly. Tell them what kind of clothing store you own and what its status is. For instance, are you just starting out, do you want to grow your business, or do you run a chain of clothing stores?
Next, give an overview of every part of your plan that comes after this one. For example, in a few words, explain how clothing stores work. Talk about the kind of clothing store you are running. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of the people you’d like to buy from you. Give a brief overview of your marketing plan. Find out who on your team is the most important. And explain how you plan to deal with your money.
In your business analysis, you will explain what kind of clothing store you own and run.
For example, you could run a clothing store that specializes in:
- High-end clothing
- Athletics and sports clothes
- Wedding Dresses
- Clothing for hip hop
In the section of your business plan called “Company Analysis,” you need to describe what kind of clothing store you run and give some history about the business.
Be sure to answer questions like:
- When and why did you start your business?
- What big steps have you taken so far? As a milestone, you could have hit a sales goal, opened a new store, etc.
- Your legal structure. Do you have an S-Corp set up for your business? An LLC? A one-person company? Tell us about your justice system.
In your industry analysis, you should describe how clothing stores work.
This might seem useless, but there are more than one way to use it.
First, learning about the business of running a clothing store gives you information. It helps you understand the market better.
Second, market research can help you come up with a better plan, especially if it shows you market trends. For instance, if there was a trend toward local clothing stores that also had websites, it would be helpful to make sure that your plan includes a strong online presence.
Doing market research is also a good way to show your readers that you know what you are talking about. This is what you do by doing your research and putting it in your plan.
In the industry analysis section of your clothing store’s business plan, you should answer the following questions:
- How much money does the business of a clothing store make?
- Is the market getting smaller or bigger?
- Who are your main competitors on the market where you do business?
- Who are the most important suppliers in the market?
- What kinds of changes are happening in business?
- How do you think the business will grow over the next 5–10 years?
- How large should the market be? That is, how big do you think the market for your clothing store could be? You can get this number by figuring out how big the market for your niche is in the whole country and then multiplying that number by the number of people in your area.
In the customer analysis section of your clothing store business plan, you must talk about the customers you serve or expect to serve.
Customer segments include college students, sports fans, soccer moms, techies, teens, baby boomers, and others.
As you might guess, the type of clothing store you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. Obviously, baby boomers would want a different atmosphere, different prices, and a different range of products than teens, and they would also react differently to different marketing campaigns.
Try to figure out who your ideal customers are by looking at their demographics and how they think and feel. In terms of demographics, you should talk about your customers’ ages, genders, locations, and levels of income. This kind of information is easy to find on government websites because most clothing stores mostly sell to people who live in the same city or town.
Psychographic profiles can tell you what your customers want and need. If you can understand and describe these needs well, it will be easier to find new customers and keep the ones you already have.
In your competitive analysis, you should find out who your direct competitors are and then focus on them.
There are other stores that sell clothes that are direct rivals. Most likely, they are nearby stores that sell the same things you do.
Indirect competitors are other things that customers can buy from you that are not your direct competitors. You might have online competitors, which are businesses that sell the same or similar products as you, but only online.
Give a summary of the business of each direct competitor and list its strengths and weaknesses. You won’t know everything about your competitors unless you have worked for one of them. But you should be able to learn important facts about them, like:
- What kind of clients do they work with?
- What kinds of goods do they sell?
- What is the price range (high, low, etc.)?
- What are their strengths?
- What do they not do well?
For the last two questions, try to answer from the point of view of your customers. You can find this information on review websites.
In the last part of your competitive analysis, you should list the ways in which you are better than your competitors. Here’s an example:
- Will you offer products or services that are the best?
- Will you sell things that none of your competitors do?
- Will you make it easier or faster for customers to get your products?
- Will you give your customers better service?
- Your prices will be better, right?
In this part of your plan, you should think of ways you can do better than your competitors and write them down.
Usually, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, its price, where it will be sold, and how it will be promoted. In the business plan for a clothing store, you should do the following for the marketing plan:
Product: In the product section, you should write again about the type of clothing store you wrote about in your Company Analysis. Then, explain in detail what you will be selling.
Price: List your prices and how they compare to those of your competitors. In the product and price parts of your marketing plan, you basically just list the things you sell and how much they cost.
Place is the address of your clothing store. Write down where you are and how your position will affect your success. For example, is your clothing store next to a gym, an office building with a lot of people, etc.? Talk about how people could keep coming to your place. Also, if you have kiosks or plan to have kiosks, explain where they are.
Promotions: This is the last part of your clothing store’s marketing plan. Here, you’ll list how you’ll bring customers to your business (s). Here are some ideas for how to promote your business:
- Make your storefront look better to attract more customers.
- Marketing with social media
- Search engine optimization
- Putting ads in local newspapers and magazines
- Trying to get in touch with local blogs and sites
- Local radio advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
You wrote about your goals in other parts of your business plan. In the operations plan, you talk about how you’ll reach those goals. There should be two different parts to your operations plan.
Everyday short-term processes include everything that goes into running a clothing store, such as helping customers, buying inventory, keeping the store clean, etc.
Long-term goals are the steps you plan to take to get there. Some of these dates could be when you hope to serve your 1,000th customer or make X dollars in sales. It could also be when you plan to hire your Xth worker or open a new location.
If you want to show that your clothing store can be a business, you need a strong management team. Show the backgrounds of your key players, with a focus on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.
You and/or other people on your team should have worked in a clothing store before. If so, talk about what you’ve learned and what you’ve done. But you should also talk about any business experience you have that you think will help your business do well. If you don’t have a strong enough team, you might want to put together an advisory board. A board of advisors could have anywhere from 2 to 8 members. These people would help you with your business as mentors. They would answer questions and give planning tips. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have worked in clothing stores or who have run clothing stores or small businesses successfully.
Your 5-year financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement. For the first year, it should be broken down monthly or quarterlyly, and after that, it should be done annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, your balance sheet, and your cash flow statement.
Income Statement: Most people call an income statement a P&L, which stands for profit and loss. It shows how much money you made and how much it cost you, so you can see if you made a profit.
When making your income statement, you have to make some assumptions. For example, how many people will you serve every day? 25 or 100? How much will sales increase each year? 2% or 10%? As you might expect, the assumptions you make will have a big impact on your business’s financial projections. Do as much research as you can to try to find facts that support what you think.
Balance Sheets: Balance sheets have a lot of information on them, but the most important thing to know is that they list your assets and your debts. For example, if you spend $200,000 building up your clothing store business, you won’t start making money right away. Instead, it’s an asset that you hope will bring in money for years to come. In the same way, you don’t have to pay back a $100,000 check right away. You’ll have to pay that back over time instead.
Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure that you never run out of money. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t know that you can make money and still go bankrupt if you run out of cash. For instance, you might need to buy supplies now that you won’t be able to sell and get paid for for a few months. During those months, you could run out of money.
When making your Income Statement and Balance Sheet, be sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a clothing store business:
- Location build-out costs, which include fees for design, construction, etc.
- Furniture prices
- The cost of buying the first stock, paying employees, and getting insurance for the business.
- Fees and permits
- Legal expenses