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 about your t-shirt business and where it is now. For example, are you just getting started or do you already have a t-shirt business that you want to grow?
Next, give an overview of every part of your plan that comes after this one. For instance, in a few words, describe the t-shirt business. Talk about the type of t-shirt business you are running. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of the people you’d like to buy from you. Give a quick summary of your plan for marketing. 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 t-shirt business you run.
For example, you might be responsible for one of the following:
- Women’s T-Shirt Business: This kind of T-shirt business has a wider range of T-shirt styles, such as cap sleeves, thin straps, tanks, etc.
- Men’s T-Shirt Business: This kind of business is all about selling men’s t-shirts.
- The Unisex T-Shirt Business makes both men’s and women’s t-shirts.
- Children’s T-Shirt Business: This kind of T-shirt business is all about designing and sizing shirts for kids.
In the section of your business plan called “Company Analysis,” you need to explain what kind of t-shirt business you run and give some history about it.
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.
This might seem useless, but there are more than one way to use it.
First, you can find out more about the t-shirt business by learning about it. 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 example, if there was a trend toward certain t-shirt designs or themes, it would be helpful to make sure your plan lets you quickly add or change inventory.
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 your analysis of the t-shirt business, you need to describe the business as a whole.
In the market analysis part of your business plan for selling t-shirts, you should answer the following questions:
- How much money does the business that sells t-shirts make?
- Is the market getting smaller or bigger?
- Who are your biggest market competitors?
- 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 T-shirt business might be? You can get this number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the people in your area.
In the “Customer Analysis” section of your t-shirt business plan, you must describe 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 t-shirt business you run will depend a lot on the type(s) of customers you choose. Baby boomers are much older than teens, so it makes sense that they would want different things and respond 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. Since most t-shirt shops mostly sell to people in their own city or town, it’s easy to find this kind of demographic information on government websites.
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.
Other places to buy t-shirts are your main competitors.
Indirect competitors are alternatives to direct competitors that customers can buy from. This also includes shirts and other clothing.
You should make a list of the other t-shirt businesses that you are in direct competition with. These are some other kinds of T-shirts that people buy from you.
Give an overview of each of their businesses and a list of their 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?
The last part of your competitive analysis is to list the ways you are better than your competitors. For example:
- Will you sell t-shirts of good quality?
- Will you have T-shirt options that your competitors don’t have?
- 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 your t-shirt business marketing plan, you should have:
Product: In the section about the product, you should repeat what kind of t-shirt business 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 sections of your marketing plan, you basically list the products you sell and how much they cost.
Place is the name of the location of your t-shirt business. Write down the locations where customers can buy from you. Will there be a front on your store? A web page? Run booths or places at events? Will you sell your products in stores or on websites besides your own? Write your plan for distribution here.
Promotions: The section on promotions is the last part of your plan for marketing your t-shirt business. Here, you’ll list how you’ll bring customers to your business (s). Here are some ideas for how to promote your business:
- Social media marketing
- Putting ads in local newspapers and magazines
- Trying to get in touch with local blogs and sites
- 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 you need to do to run your t-shirt business, like serving customers, buying supplies, making shirts, etc.
Long-term goals are the steps you’ll want 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.
To prove that your t-shirt business can work as 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 or someone else on your team should have worked in the t-shirt business 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, try to find advisory board members who have worked in t-shirt businesses or who have run retail 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 do you plan to serve each day: 100 or 200? 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 show your assets and your debts. For example, you won’t make money right away if you put $25,000 into building up your t-shirt business. Instead, it’s an asset that you hope will make you money for many years. You don’t have to pay back a $100,000 check from a bank right away, either. You’ll have to pay that back slowly 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 example, let’s say a company in the entertainment business came to you with a huge contract to make 100,000 branded T-shirts, which would cost you $50,000 to do. Well, in most cases, you would have to pay the $50,000 now for things like making the product, paying employees, etc. But imagine that it took the company 180 days to pay you. During that period of 180 days, you may run out of money.
When you make your Income Statement and Balance Sheet, don’t forget to include some of the most important costs for starting or growing a t-shirt business:
- The building of an office
- The price of equipment How much it costs to keep a good stock of T-shirts Price of keeping a good supply of things on hand
- Staff pay or salaries Insurance for businesses
- Fees and permits
- Legal expenses