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Business plan online store free

This sample business plan is intended to provide you with a template that can be used as a reference for when you’re hard at work on your plan. The company is a completely fictional organic denim and apparel company, however, we made sure the industry research was grounded in real world numbers as much as possible. Let’s get started:

Executive Summary

I'll Be Denim is an organic denim clothing line headquartered in Los Angeles that currently focuses exclusively on locally producing a slim fit, straight fit, and regular fit line of jeans for men and women. Founded by Elena Horowitz, a retail industry veteran with experiences at JCrew, the Gap, and Levi’s, and James Foster, a serial entrepreneur, the duo is out to bring socially conscious fashion to the masses.

Currently selling online and through partnerships with a handful of local boutiques in LA, the company is projecting to sell upwards of 0,000 in year 1 and reaching 0,000 in 3 years. Plans for expansion include setting up distribution and manufacturing relationships in New York, another fashion centric goldmine where the company aims to gain greater market penetration.

With an emphasis on environmentally responsible fashion, I’ll Be Denim will also be starting a jeans recycling program where consumers will be able to ship or drop off old pairs of jeans and have them used in the manufacturing process for new ones.

Industry research has found that US consumers own on average 7 pairs of jeans and stick to one brand based one one important variable, fit. Given that statistic the company’s designs center around providing the best fit, with a tagline of “denim so good, you’ll never take your clothes off”. To further take advantage of this insight, I’ll Be Denim will be launching a custom tailor option where users will be able to request custom fit jeans through an online portal.

The primary competition comes from three foreign brands namely Kuyichi, Hiut Denim, and Nudie Jeans, all which have been committed to sustainable fashion since the onset and are huge advocates for the organic cotton movement. The brand value proposition and differentiation will come from being an American brand with images of patriotism and ruggedness that shows both fashion forward thinking and a concern for the environment.

Primary means of marketing will be online through analytic-driven approaches like SEO and paid search, in addition to capitalizing on social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. User generated content and engagement will be key as product pages will include Instagram photos and promote consumer pride in our products.

The organic cotton will be sourced from two mills, one based in Turkey and the other in Japan where it will be transformed to denim and dyed in natural indigo colors and shipped to our manufacturing and shipping partner DenimsR’Us in LA. Day to day operations are handled through an office in LA with a second office in New York to be opened in a years time.

The company has been funded through the two founders, their family and friends, alongside some private investment.

Our Story

I’ll Be Denim is a denim clothing line based out of Los Angeles focused on bringing the highest quality organic denim wear to North America. Founded by reputable designer Elena Horowitz and business partner James Foster in October, 2012 with the duo having gone from a small basement operation in Elena’s home to successfully launching their online store and scaling their operations.

After both founders worked for several years in the retail and fashion industries respectively, one thing became increasingly clear to both of them, the industry is in the midst of a deep moral and ethical crisis. With cheap labour being continuously exploited with abysmal working condition overseas and traditionally manufactured cotton using upwards of 25 percent of the world’s entire agrochemicals consisting of unimaginable amounts of insecticides and pesticides, Elena and James decided enough is enough.

The duo’s vision for I’ll Be Denim is simple, fashionable denim wear made with organic materials that’s manufactured locally and created with the intent to make the fit so comfortable that you’ll never want to take their clothes off. To achieve such a grand vision, the company is committed to providing the best in class customer service in addition to working with only the most detail oriented local manufacturers and promoting eco-friendly fashion to the mainstream.

The guiding values and principles for the company are “guilt-free fashion” (letting customers purchase high-quality apparel without shutting out their conscious), “the denim is in the details” (working with only the best local production factories), and “eco is not a fad, but our last chance” (sourcing organic denim from certified suppliers).

Current Company Status

I’ll Be Denim was incorporated in October, 2012 and operates as a partnership between Elena Horowitz and James Foster. All company shares are held by the founding duo. Since sourcing, manufacturing, and selling out of Elena’s basement to friends, family, and through local boutiques, the company has grown to have it’s own online store, relationships with suppliers of premium organic denim in Turkey, and local manufacturers in LA. The company has had its revenues double every two months.

I’ll Be Denim Objectives

I’ll Be Denim is currently selling denim jeans online through its Shopify ecommerce store shipping primarily within Southern California with market penetration in New York, another in addition to sporadic orders north of the border to Canada in Toronto and Montreal. It also currently partners with two local fashion boutique stores focused on selling eco-friendly apparel that looks and feels good. The company is laser-focused on growing its sales and operations as broken down in the two phases listed below:

Phase I (Next 6 Months)

  • Increase online sales by 20 percent by end of year through influencer and social media marketing tactics

  • Partner with 3 additional local high-end fashion boutiques with shared values as distribution channels

  • Increase online social presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest by 30 percent

  • Build out a “custom apparel” line of the business giving online consumers the ability to create their own denim jeans and jackets

Phase II (Next 12 Months)

  • Explore possibility of brick-and-mortar operations through testing pop-up stores in LA region

  • Create strategic partnerships with local fashion boutiques in New York for distribution in the area

  • Scope out local manufacturers in New York area for quality production with aim of opening operations for denim jackets as the next product line and increased delivery within region

  • Initiate a jean recycling program whereby consumers will be able to deposit their denim and have them be reused in the creation of new jeans

The Team

Elena Horowitz is an award-winning fashion designer who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked at top retail brands like J Crew, the GAP, and Levi’s for the past 15 years. Fed up with the lack of speed with which most retail brands were moving towards embracing eco-friendly means of production, she decided to quit her job and start I’ll Be Denim. She serves as Chief Design Officer (CDO) and works with partner manufacturers to ensure quality of product.

James Foster dropped out of the University of Berkeley after finding success with his first online store selling fertilizer and garden equipment with his college roommate. After successfully exiting the company, he went on to hold operational positions in management for a slew of ecommerce companies before meeting Elena at a party and hitting it off. The two discussed their guilt over buying from traditional fashion brands and decided to combine forces to launch their own label. He serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and oversees all supplier relationships, business logistics and strategic partnerships.

Market Size and Development

A recent report looking at the Global Denim Consumption and Production through the years 2011 to 2021 by Denimandjeans.com found that in 2007 the world jeans market was worth an estimated .6 billion and is at pace to grow to .2 billion by the year 2014. The report also revealed that North America consumes an estimated 39 percent of denim purchased worldwide while more than 50 percent of production is still based in Asia, specifically in countries like China, India, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Another report that focused exclusively on the denim consumption habits in the US found that an average US consumer owns 15 denim garments on average, 7 of which are pairs of jeans. Out of all apparel purchased denim makes up 17 percent which explains why it continues to be the highest selling clothing item in the world.

However, when it comes to consumer behaviour and trends most US denim purchasers buy jeans for fit at 66 percent citing the reason over its brand name. Interestingly enough though, 73 percent prefer to purchase the same brand as the one they own with men showing more loyalty at 64 percent than women at 45 percent.

Going deeper into the growing level of awareness around environmental sustainability and climate change, the Cotton Incorporated 2013 Environment Survey found that 51 percent of consumers say that environmentally friendliness is important to their apparel purchase decisions. Digging a little further, about 33 percent are actually more likely to seek out environmentally clothes for themselves.

When it comes to the material of their clothes though, nearly 72 percent of survey respondents say that natural fibres are better for the environment than synthetics, with 51 percent of consumers willing to pay more for them. Such trends are driving global brands like Gucci, Timberland, and others to focus on making their products and supply chain more environmentally friendly.

Pair all those facts together and you get a winning combination championed by I’ll Be Denim, provide consumers with organic denim manufactured locally with an emphasis on designing for fit while also offering custom fit solutions.

Competition

  • Kuyichi - Based in the Netherlands, the company has been in the market since 2001 selling organic denim wear while simultaneously using natural indigo dyeing techniques and running a robust jeans recycling program

  • Hiut Denim - Based in the UK, the company operates out of a small town known for manufacturing jeans. It currently offers a selection of organic denim jeans targeted at both men and women, making only 100 pairs a week and resolving to only make jeans

  • Nudie Jeans - Headquartered in Sweden, the company achieved its goal of launching an organic denim jeans collection in 2012 and has both online and brick-and-mortar locations. They also have a wide assortment of sustainable efforts ranging from providing a fair living wage to everyone involved in the manufacturing process and recycling jeans.

Brand Differentiation and Value Proposition

Though there are more than a handful of organic denim startups, at I’ll Be Denim, we firmly believe that with the founder’s combined experience, industry partnerships, and focus on providing the quality denim jeans produced with sustainability in mind from cradle to grave, the brand can stand out. Our plan is to leverage our American heritage and love for the fabric and use a marketing strategy that is closely aligned with building personal relationships with our target market. In addition, with fit being the biggest variable in jean purchase decisions, our custom fit program in addition to our slim, straight, and regular fit jeans will help us delight our customers who in turn will spread the word.

Target Market

With our initial line of slim fit, straight fit, and regular fit denim jeans, we’re looking to target the following consumer segment:

  • Age: 17-35

  • Social Media Savvy: Voraciously active on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr

  • Fashion Forward: With a keen eye on their day to day wear, these male and female fashionistas dress to impress

  • Addicted to Mobile: They Instagram their food, check their Facebook status while waiting in line, and tweet every traffic disruption they experience.

  • Eco-Friendly: They feel a pinch everything they know their clothes were manufactured unethically or are aware of the eco-footprint they have by consuming clothes made with regular cotton

  • Location: The beachheads for the company will be LA and New York, however, with the ability to shop online, we’ll heavily promote ourselves throughout southern California

Marketing Plan

  • SEO: Our content and blogging efforts will be targeted at having us rank competitively for keywords like “organic denim”, “organic jeans”, and “eco-friendly garments”

  • Paid Search: We will invest in both Google Adwords and Facebook Ads to take advantage of their PPC services with optimized landing pages for conversion

  • Instagram: We will launch campaigns and contest to encourage user-generated images which we will then upload to our product pages to build a community around our brand and the values we stand for

  • Other Social Media: We will subcontract a community manager to regularly engage our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest communities

  • PR: We will promote our story, values, and fashion to leading fashion blogs and print magazines emphasizing our earth-friendly and ethically manufactured clothing

  • Business Development: We will actively look for the most popular local fashion boutiques frequented by our target market that shares in our values and beliefs

Another point to highlight is our focus on customer service with a 100 percent “fit satisfaction” guarantee or reimbursement for any alternations, in addition to a complete refund policy effectively in place.

Daily Operations

For our day to day operations, I’ll Be Denim has established several key partnerships that ensure long-term durability and the ability to scale alongside demand for our goods.

We will source the best organic cotton from two suppliers, one located in Turkey and the other in Japan which means that their supplies were produced without the use of any pesticides and was dyed in indigo using a natural means. Once the shipment arrives in the US, it’ll be routed to our production and shipping partner, DenimsR’Us located in the outskirts of LA who the company will work closely with to ensure quality through regular checks and audits. It is also where the products will ship out of through an integrated backend system and order processing mechanism.

The I’ll Be Denim office is located on 2029 Century Park East where the two co-founders in addition to two admin and one sales and marketing support staff will work out of handling all online order processing and ensuring the purchase to delivery of their denim products runs smoothly. It’s also where all requests for refunds will be handled in addition to the future launch of the jean recycling program.

Financial Plan

Pro Forma Income Statement

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Sales 5650 0000 0000
Direct Cost of Sales 370 000 5000
Other Production Expenses 370 000 5000
Total Cost of Sales 0740 4000 0000
Gross Margin 4910 6000 0000
Gross Margin % 74.54% 73.11% 72%
Expenses
Payroll 7600 2600 2000
Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses

The business landscape continues to change very quickly, and that constant change brings about plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Additionally, the tools and cost-benefit involved in building and marketing an online business have become increasingly easier, cheaper and faster than ever. But in an era where technology is always a part of our lives, you need to make your business idea, model and planning stand out if you want to succeed in the long run.

"People have completely shifted the way that they relate to their technology," says Jon Burg, a senior social engineer who works with Fortune 100 companies on emerging technologies at Digitas. "People are no longer looking at their computers as a screen or a mobile phone as just their phone. Rather, they're looking at it as a gateway to their life. What does that mean? It means there are new opportunities for marketers and entrepreneurs to talk to people in a new environment in a more meaningful manner."

Users are very willing to attach themselves and become loyal consumers around new products and services today, and if you find a way to capitalize on that enthusiasm, you can bring a customer in for good while also gaining a brand advocate (someone who will express their enjoyment to others). When it comes to planning, it's all about your understanding of the target market (as it always has been), but these days its much more reliant upon your willingness to adapt and change.

Business Plan for an Online Business: Deciding What Business to Build

"Don't think of the formal business plan until you actually need it," notes Tim Berry, president and founder of Palo Alto Software, the maker of Business Plan Pro software, who blogs at bplans.com and is the author of Plan-As-You-Go Business Plans. "If you grow as a company, you'll need it then in what is called the business plan event. But it's much less formal then it was in years past, and more pragmatic. Do each part of the business plan when you need it, and don't worry about such formality up front."

While Berry is not suggesting you scrap the idea of a business plan altogether, he is saying that online entrepreneurs need to focus on the innovation and planning of the business first, getting their idea up and running and then being observant and open to changes. While the content of the business plan changes based on your specific business situation, what needs to be included in your plan doesn't. He compares online business planning in 2010 to steering a boat or a car: "if you're driving your car with GPS turned on, you have a final destination, but depending on traffic and weather, there needs to be an ability to change direction and take a detour."

Dig Deeper: The Best Industries for Starting a Business

Business Plan for an Online Business: Steps for Creating Your Business Plan

The web is a powerful tool for companies of all types, and as it has changed, so have the types of companies who prosper. The four main purposes of Internet sites, as described by noted columnist Rhonda Abrams in The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies, are transactional, content, promotional and relational. Regardless the type of online business you are running, here are the recommended steps in putting together your business plan (read more about writing a great business plan).

Dig Deeper: Business Plan PowerPoint Template

Business Plan for an Online Business: Set Up a Review Schedule (Be Open to Change)

You should never complete any business planning without a review schedule, but it has become increasingly important to do it earlier and more often. Why worry about the subtleties of an executive summary, language or a market analysis if you don't have the most important element for actually using and working a plan? What matters is the planning for the future, not just the formal plan.

This is part of the premise behind Berry's new book, and as he says, "Doing a plan is beneficial to get all of your thoughts on paper, but that one-time process is nothing compared to the ongoing planning process and changes you undergo as a business." He recommends that you set up a timeframe (perhaps the third Thursday of each month) to evaluate your business, your competitors and your customer conversion rate.

Dig Deeper: Business Plan Checklist

Business Plan for an Online Business: Define Your Business Objectives and Personality

From a very basic level, you need to identify what your goals are as a business. What are you selling, where does it fit within the market, and what is its price in comparison? If you're not a transactional site, you'll still want to define how you plan to make money, whether that's via advertising, traffic and visitors, etc. How do you envision your site being successful, because the definition of success will differ for each entrepreneur and business type?

Dig Deeper: The One Day Business Plan Worksheet

Business Plan for an Online Business: Complete Your Financial And Management Summary

You need to outline what kind of experience your management team has and also any financing that you already have lined up. Consider your management summary to be a resume of the qualifications and work history for the people involved in your startup. If it's a smaller venture, which many online businesses tend to be, you'll want to play up your understanding and expertise in the digital space.

While sales, revenue, and established users will be catchy in a business plan, you also want to describe how much capital you already have and will need, what the cost of operation will be, and what type of accounting you plan on utilizing.

"The beauty of starting an online business, if you don't have hard sales numbers," says Berry, "is that you can at least get the site up and live, get a module, get going in a way that is more practical and more close to reality than it was in the past to show potential investors what they're spending on."

Dig Deeper: Financial Projections Model


Business Plan for an Online Business: Measure the Market and the Metrics

Focus specifically on the demographics and users you're looking to hit with your new business, and how your price and costs might compare with what the market wants to pay. This is the spot to list your existing competition and what they're doing right or wrong, and remains one of the most attractive and important sections to lure investors or lenders. If you can find a way to show that you have innovative ideas and marketing strategies, you're a step ahead. And in today's business landscape, those innovative ideas must include a social media strategy (yes, Facebook, Twitter and more).

"I love the word personality when it comes to finding your personality in the social space," says Brendan Gallagher, the VP/Group Creative Director for Emerging Technologies at Digitas. " Using social media to evangelize a category or vertical that is your product is an important piece to this, because that's how you find influencers. And when you find influencers, that's how you find people who are related that are around things you make or can help identify the impact its going to have on society."

Regarding metrics, online entrepreneurs are blessed with the availability of way more metrics than any businesses in the past. There are immediate ways to measure your business success that are very practical and very inexpensive, which makes them considerably easier to obtain.

"Online sentiment and what customers are saying is certainly important," says Burg, "but it doesn't tell you whether people are purchasing your goods. The best way to measure success is by taking note of how you are performing with people you already have a relationship with. That gives you a great idea of how effective your business actually is performing.

Dig Deeper: Write a Marketing Analysis That Will Simply Dazzle

Business Plan for an Online Business: Don't Forget an Exit Plan

This strategy goes along with the first pillar above, but as important as planning a regular review strategy is, planning how you exit your business is just as important as how you start it. The goal is to maximize the value of your company before converting it to cash, and to minimize the amount of time consumed. This will differ for every business, and for every person. Is your goal to get the site started and sell to an investor? Is it a 5-year project for you before you move on to another venture, or is it the business you want to stay with. Defining all of these objectives early on, and thinking more long-term, can help you to get your business up and running and also keep your goals in check.

Dig Deeper: Top 10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Writing a Business Plan

0000 0000
Depreciation 40 40 40
Leased Equipment

This sample business plan is intended to provide you with a template that can be used as a reference for when you’re hard at work on your plan. The company is a completely fictional organic denim and apparel company, however, we made sure the industry research was grounded in real world numbers as much as possible. Let’s get started:

Executive Summary

I'll Be Denim is an organic denim clothing line headquartered in Los Angeles that currently focuses exclusively on locally producing a slim fit, straight fit, and regular fit line of jeans for men and women. Founded by Elena Horowitz, a retail industry veteran with experiences at JCrew, the Gap, and Levi’s, and James Foster, a serial entrepreneur, the duo is out to bring socially conscious fashion to the masses.

Currently selling online and through partnerships with a handful of local boutiques in LA, the company is projecting to sell upwards of 0,000 in year 1 and reaching 0,000 in 3 years. Plans for expansion include setting up distribution and manufacturing relationships in New York, another fashion centric goldmine where the company aims to gain greater market penetration.

With an emphasis on environmentally responsible fashion, I’ll Be Denim will also be starting a jeans recycling program where consumers will be able to ship or drop off old pairs of jeans and have them used in the manufacturing process for new ones.

Industry research has found that US consumers own on average 7 pairs of jeans and stick to one brand based one one important variable, fit. Given that statistic the company’s designs center around providing the best fit, with a tagline of “denim so good, you’ll never take your clothes off”. To further take advantage of this insight, I’ll Be Denim will be launching a custom tailor option where users will be able to request custom fit jeans through an online portal.

The primary competition comes from three foreign brands namely Kuyichi, Hiut Denim, and Nudie Jeans, all which have been committed to sustainable fashion since the onset and are huge advocates for the organic cotton movement. The brand value proposition and differentiation will come from being an American brand with images of patriotism and ruggedness that shows both fashion forward thinking and a concern for the environment.

Primary means of marketing will be online through analytic-driven approaches like SEO and paid search, in addition to capitalizing on social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. User generated content and engagement will be key as product pages will include Instagram photos and promote consumer pride in our products.

The organic cotton will be sourced from two mills, one based in Turkey and the other in Japan where it will be transformed to denim and dyed in natural indigo colors and shipped to our manufacturing and shipping partner DenimsR’Us in LA. Day to day operations are handled through an office in LA with a second office in New York to be opened in a years time.

The company has been funded through the two founders, their family and friends, alongside some private investment.

Our Story

I’ll Be Denim is a denim clothing line based out of Los Angeles focused on bringing the highest quality organic denim wear to North America. Founded by reputable designer Elena Horowitz and business partner James Foster in October, 2012 with the duo having gone from a small basement operation in Elena’s home to successfully launching their online store and scaling their operations.

After both founders worked for several years in the retail and fashion industries respectively, one thing became increasingly clear to both of them, the industry is in the midst of a deep moral and ethical crisis. With cheap labour being continuously exploited with abysmal working condition overseas and traditionally manufactured cotton using upwards of 25 percent of the world’s entire agrochemicals consisting of unimaginable amounts of insecticides and pesticides, Elena and James decided enough is enough.

The duo’s vision for I’ll Be Denim is simple, fashionable denim wear made with organic materials that’s manufactured locally and created with the intent to make the fit so comfortable that you’ll never want to take their clothes off. To achieve such a grand vision, the company is committed to providing the best in class customer service in addition to working with only the most detail oriented local manufacturers and promoting eco-friendly fashion to the mainstream.

The guiding values and principles for the company are “guilt-free fashion” (letting customers purchase high-quality apparel without shutting out their conscious), “the denim is in the details” (working with only the best local production factories), and “eco is not a fad, but our last chance” (sourcing organic denim from certified suppliers).

Current Company Status

I’ll Be Denim was incorporated in October, 2012 and operates as a partnership between Elena Horowitz and James Foster. All company shares are held by the founding duo. Since sourcing, manufacturing, and selling out of Elena’s basement to friends, family, and through local boutiques, the company has grown to have it’s own online store, relationships with suppliers of premium organic denim in Turkey, and local manufacturers in LA. The company has had its revenues double every two months.

I’ll Be Denim Objectives

I’ll Be Denim is currently selling denim jeans online through its Shopify ecommerce store shipping primarily within Southern California with market penetration in New York, another in addition to sporadic orders north of the border to Canada in Toronto and Montreal. It also currently partners with two local fashion boutique stores focused on selling eco-friendly apparel that looks and feels good. The company is laser-focused on growing its sales and operations as broken down in the two phases listed below:

Phase I (Next 6 Months)

  • Increase online sales by 20 percent by end of year through influencer and social media marketing tactics

  • Partner with 3 additional local high-end fashion boutiques with shared values as distribution channels

  • Increase online social presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest by 30 percent

  • Build out a “custom apparel” line of the business giving online consumers the ability to create their own denim jeans and jackets

Phase II (Next 12 Months)

  • Explore possibility of brick-and-mortar operations through testing pop-up stores in LA region

  • Create strategic partnerships with local fashion boutiques in New York for distribution in the area

  • Scope out local manufacturers in New York area for quality production with aim of opening operations for denim jackets as the next product line and increased delivery within region

  • Initiate a jean recycling program whereby consumers will be able to deposit their denim and have them be reused in the creation of new jeans

The Team

Elena Horowitz is an award-winning fashion designer who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked at top retail brands like J Crew, the GAP, and Levi’s for the past 15 years. Fed up with the lack of speed with which most retail brands were moving towards embracing eco-friendly means of production, she decided to quit her job and start I’ll Be Denim. She serves as Chief Design Officer (CDO) and works with partner manufacturers to ensure quality of product.

James Foster dropped out of the University of Berkeley after finding success with his first online store selling fertilizer and garden equipment with his college roommate. After successfully exiting the company, he went on to hold operational positions in management for a slew of ecommerce companies before meeting Elena at a party and hitting it off. The two discussed their guilt over buying from traditional fashion brands and decided to combine forces to launch their own label. He serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and oversees all supplier relationships, business logistics and strategic partnerships.

Market Size and Development

A recent report looking at the Global Denim Consumption and Production through the years 2011 to 2021 by Denimandjeans.com found that in 2007 the world jeans market was worth an estimated .6 billion and is at pace to grow to .2 billion by the year 2014. The report also revealed that North America consumes an estimated 39 percent of denim purchased worldwide while more than 50 percent of production is still based in Asia, specifically in countries like China, India, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Another report that focused exclusively on the denim consumption habits in the US found that an average US consumer owns 15 denim garments on average, 7 of which are pairs of jeans. Out of all apparel purchased denim makes up 17 percent which explains why it continues to be the highest selling clothing item in the world.

However, when it comes to consumer behaviour and trends most US denim purchasers buy jeans for fit at 66 percent citing the reason over its brand name. Interestingly enough though, 73 percent prefer to purchase the same brand as the one they own with men showing more loyalty at 64 percent than women at 45 percent.

Going deeper into the growing level of awareness around environmental sustainability and climate change, the Cotton Incorporated 2013 Environment Survey found that 51 percent of consumers say that environmentally friendliness is important to their apparel purchase decisions. Digging a little further, about 33 percent are actually more likely to seek out environmentally clothes for themselves.

When it comes to the material of their clothes though, nearly 72 percent of survey respondents say that natural fibres are better for the environment than synthetics, with 51 percent of consumers willing to pay more for them. Such trends are driving global brands like Gucci, Timberland, and others to focus on making their products and supply chain more environmentally friendly.

Pair all those facts together and you get a winning combination championed by I’ll Be Denim, provide consumers with organic denim manufactured locally with an emphasis on designing for fit while also offering custom fit solutions.

Competition

  • Kuyichi - Based in the Netherlands, the company has been in the market since 2001 selling organic denim wear while simultaneously using natural indigo dyeing techniques and running a robust jeans recycling program

  • Hiut Denim - Based in the UK, the company operates out of a small town known for manufacturing jeans. It currently offers a selection of organic denim jeans targeted at both men and women, making only 100 pairs a week and resolving to only make jeans

  • Nudie Jeans - Headquartered in Sweden, the company achieved its goal of launching an organic denim jeans collection in 2012 and has both online and brick-and-mortar locations. They also have a wide assortment of sustainable efforts ranging from providing a fair living wage to everyone involved in the manufacturing process and recycling jeans.

Brand Differentiation and Value Proposition

Though there are more than a handful of organic denim startups, at I’ll Be Denim, we firmly believe that with the founder’s combined experience, industry partnerships, and focus on providing the quality denim jeans produced with sustainability in mind from cradle to grave, the brand can stand out. Our plan is to leverage our American heritage and love for the fabric and use a marketing strategy that is closely aligned with building personal relationships with our target market. In addition, with fit being the biggest variable in jean purchase decisions, our custom fit program in addition to our slim, straight, and regular fit jeans will help us delight our customers who in turn will spread the word.

Target Market

With our initial line of slim fit, straight fit, and regular fit denim jeans, we’re looking to target the following consumer segment:

  • Age: 17-35

  • Social Media Savvy: Voraciously active on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr

  • Fashion Forward: With a keen eye on their day to day wear, these male and female fashionistas dress to impress

  • Addicted to Mobile: They Instagram their food, check their Facebook status while waiting in line, and tweet every traffic disruption they experience.

  • Eco-Friendly: They feel a pinch everything they know their clothes were manufactured unethically or are aware of the eco-footprint they have by consuming clothes made with regular cotton

  • Location: The beachheads for the company will be LA and New York, however, with the ability to shop online, we’ll heavily promote ourselves throughout southern California

Marketing Plan

  • SEO: Our content and blogging efforts will be targeted at having us rank competitively for keywords like “organic denim”, “organic jeans”, and “eco-friendly garments”

  • Paid Search: We will invest in both Google Adwords and Facebook Ads to take advantage of their PPC services with optimized landing pages for conversion

  • Instagram: We will launch campaigns and contest to encourage user-generated images which we will then upload to our product pages to build a community around our brand and the values we stand for

  • Other Social Media: We will subcontract a community manager to regularly engage our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest communities

  • PR: We will promote our story, values, and fashion to leading fashion blogs and print magazines emphasizing our earth-friendly and ethically manufactured clothing

  • Business Development: We will actively look for the most popular local fashion boutiques frequented by our target market that shares in our values and beliefs

Another point to highlight is our focus on customer service with a 100 percent “fit satisfaction” guarantee or reimbursement for any alternations, in addition to a complete refund policy effectively in place.

Daily Operations

For our day to day operations, I’ll Be Denim has established several key partnerships that ensure long-term durability and the ability to scale alongside demand for our goods.

We will source the best organic cotton from two suppliers, one located in Turkey and the other in Japan which means that their supplies were produced without the use of any pesticides and was dyed in indigo using a natural means. Once the shipment arrives in the US, it’ll be routed to our production and shipping partner, DenimsR’Us located in the outskirts of LA who the company will work closely with to ensure quality through regular checks and audits. It is also where the products will ship out of through an integrated backend system and order processing mechanism.

The I’ll Be Denim office is located on 2029 Century Park East where the two co-founders in addition to two admin and one sales and marketing support staff will work out of handling all online order processing and ensuring the purchase to delivery of their denim products runs smoothly. It’s also where all requests for refunds will be handled in addition to the future launch of the jean recycling program.

Financial Plan

Pro Forma Income Statement

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Sales 5650 0000 0000
Direct Cost of Sales 370 000 5000
Other Production Expenses 370 000 5000
Total Cost of Sales 0740 4000 0000
Gross Margin 4910 6000 0000
Gross Margin % 74.54% 73.11% 72%
Expenses
Payroll 7600 2600 2000
Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses

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If your first thought when hearing the words "business plan" is "yuck", then you're not alone.

For most people, the thought of writing a business plan brings up painful memories of past homework assignments and many online store owners view them as something only "real world" businesses and Silicon Valley startups need.

And lets face it, there's all that fun marketing stuff you could be doing like taking product photos, writing blog posts and opening social media accounts.

But the truth is, the fun stuff will only be meaningful if you build your business on a strong foundation.

And that's where writing a simple business plan comes in.

Why You Need a Business Plan

Even if you don't actually need funding for your business or need to submit a business plan to anyone, there are still some compelling reasons you should consider writing one for yourself.

For example, let's say that you're just starting out. You've created an online store, you may even be making some sales. Creating a business plan at this stage could help you see the bigger picture and chart a strategic course for future growth.

Or maybe you're five years into running your business and you're starting to feel stuck and things are beginning to plateau. Creating a business plan at this stage could help you think outside of the day-to-day grind of running of your business and discover new ways to market it or new products you could be selling to boost revenue.

On the flip side, maybe your business is trending downward. Creating a business plan in this scenario could potentially help you either change the way your business works as a whole or cut your losses before you're in deeper trouble.

The point is, if you haven't written a business plan, you should take the time to do so, no matter what point in your business's lifecycle you're in.

And the best part? It's not that hard.

Let's look at how you can do it.

Components of a Good Business Plan

Remember, if you're just doing this for yourself, there's no need to go overboard and turn this into a major project that holds you back from launching and making some initial sales. Think of it as something designed to help open up some ideas for your business and shed light on some angles that maybe you haven't thought of yet.

In the future, if you actually need to submit a formal business plan to someone, you could always use this one as a starting point and spruce it up as opposed to having to start from scratch.

The key areas of a business plan include the following. Find out how defining each can help your business.

Executive Summary - While it's the last thing you will write, it's the first part of the business plan. This part summarizes the main highlights of the rest of the sections.

Company Description - This is a high level overview of your company, products or services, types of consumers, and competitive advantages. Ultimately, think of it like what you would tell someone in an elevator ride about your business if you wanted them to invest in it. Also known as an extended elevator pitch.

Market Analysis - This is your research about your industry and target market. If you haven't formally defined your target customer, this will help you do so.

Operational Plan - This covers the day to day operations of your business, from location and hours to inventory and accounting. As you go through this, you can make sure that each of the vital processes in your business are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Organization & Management - This tells people about the main players in your business - who owns it, who manages it, etc. It will help you define all parties involved with the foundation of your business so everyone has a clear understanding of where they fit and who does what.

Products & Services - This is where you describe the products and services offered by your business. You should think about them from your customer's perspective. It will help you to better sell your products and services once you've defined them using this approach.

Marketing & Sales - This is where you layout how you will reach your target market, identify prospects, and sell your products and services. While composing this section, creative marketing and sales strategies might emerge.

Financial Projections - This is where you really dig in and figure out how much your business will make over the next five years. As an established business, you will include historical data and be able to make your predictions based off of that. Coming up with these numbers could be a huge motivation boost and keep you working towards a specific goal as opposed to just seeing what happens.

Funding Request - This is the part of the plan where you define your outside funding needs and exactly how you plan on using those funds as well as pay them back. Even if you're just investing your own money into your business, this can help you really focus your spending so it is all allocated and documented properly.

As you can see, creating a business plan can be a huge eye-opener for your business, no matter what stage you're at.

Business Plan Templates & Resources

Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources on the web that you can use to make the business plan writing easier. Best of all, many of them are free. Here are just a few.

  • SBA Create Your Business Plan - This guide walks you through each section of your business plan with all of the details you need to craft them. They also have a Business Plan Tool that will walk you through the process, step by step.
  • SCORE Business Plan & Financial Statements Templates - Fully detailed sample templates for start-ups, established businesses, and non-profits.
  • Sample Business Plans - Over 500 sample business plans for various industries including restaurants, retail, medical, health, services, fitness, pet services, and many more.

If you want more samples, you can try this (really long) Google search for industry business plan filetype:pdf -template -sample -checklist -outline -format. Just replace industry with your own to find sample PDF business plans.

Business Plan Competitions

Did you know that there are actually business plan competitions annually?

The winners of these competitions get funding for their small business. And the ones that don't still get good publicity and recognition by the organizations they submit them to.

Here are a few examples of the latest business plan competitions for 2013 to give you an idea of the kinds that are out there.

You can also search for business plan competitions on Google to find ones that are specific to your region or your industry. If you do need funding and have an awesome business plan, this could be a good way to go about getting it.

Have you created a business plan for your business? What did you learn from it?

0000 0000
Depreciation 40 40 40
Leased Equipment
Utilities 00 00 00
Insurance 00 00 00
Rent 000 000 000
Payroll Taxes 640 890 800
Other
Total Operating Expenses 7380 4630 6940
Profit Before Interest and Taxes 530 370 3060
EBITDA 670 510 0200
Interest Expense 830 750 570
Taxes Incurred 110 586 147
Net Profit 590 034 343
Net Profit/Sales 5.96% 4.43% 8.45%
Pro Forma Cash Flow
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Cash Received
Cash from Operations
Cash Sales 5650 0000 0000
Subtotal Cash from Operations 5650 0000 0000
Additional Cash Received
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Received
New Current Borrowing
New Other Liabilities (interest-free)
New Long-term Liabilities
Sales of Other Current Assets
Sales of Long-term Assets
New Investment Received
Subtotal Cash Received 5650 0000 0000
Expenditures Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Expenditures from Operations
Cash Spending 7600 2600 2000
Bill Payments 3957 4975 3540
Subtotal Spent on Operations 1557 7575 5540
Additional Cash Spent
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out
Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing
Other Liabilities Principal Repayment
Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment 600 00 00
Purchase Other Current Assets 800 800 800
Purchase Long-term Assets
Dividends
Subtotal Cash Spent 2957 9175 7140
Net Cash Flow 693 825 860
Cash Balance 7293 8118 0978
Projected Balance Sheet
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Assets
Current Assets
Cash 7293 8118 0978
Inventory 70 207 070
Other Current Assets 800 600 400
Total Current Assets 3363 7926 3448
Long-term Assets
Long-term Assets 000 000 000
Accumulated Depreciation 40 280 420
Total Long-term Assets 860 720 580
Total Assets 6223 3646 2028
Liabilities and Capital Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable 33 822 661
Current Borrowing
Other Current Liabilities
Subtotal Current Liabilities 33 822 661
Long-term Liabilities 8400 6600 4800
Total Liabilities 8033 8422 3461
Paid-in Capital 0000 0000 0000
Retained Earnings -5400 -1810 -4776
Earnings 590 034 343
Total Capital 190 224 8567
Total Liabilities and Capital 6223 3646 2028
Net Worth 190 224 8567
Utilities 00 00 00
Insurance 00 00 00
Rent 000 000 000
Payroll Taxes 640 890 800
Other
Total Operating Expenses 7380 4630 6940
Profit Before Interest and Taxes 530 370 3060
EBITDA 670 510 0200
Interest Expense 830 750 570
Taxes Incurred 110 586 147
Net Profit 590 034 343
Net Profit/Sales 5.96% 4.43% 8.45%
Pro Forma Cash Flow
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Cash Received
Cash from Operations
Cash Sales 5650 0000 0000
Subtotal Cash from Operations 5650 0000 0000
Additional Cash Received
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Received
New Current Borrowing
New Other Liabilities (interest-free)
New Long-term Liabilities
Sales of Other Current Assets
Sales of Long-term Assets
New Investment Received
Subtotal Cash Received 5650 0000 0000
Expenditures Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Expenditures from Operations
Cash Spending 7600 2600 2000
Bill Payments 3957 4975 3540
Subtotal Spent on Operations 1557 7575 5540
Additional Cash Spent
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out
Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing
Other Liabilities Principal Repayment
Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment 600 00 00
Purchase Other Current Assets 800 800 800
Purchase Long-term Assets
Dividends
Subtotal Cash Spent 2957 9175 7140
Net Cash Flow 693 825 860
Cash Balance 7293 8118 0978
Projected Balance Sheet
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Assets
Current Assets
Cash 7293 8118 0978
Inventory 70 207 070
Other Current Assets 800 600 400
Total Current Assets 3363 7926 3448
Long-term Assets
Long-term Assets 000 000 000
Accumulated Depreciation 40 280 420
Total Long-term Assets 860 720 580
Total Assets 6223 3646 2028
Liabilities and Capital Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable 33 822 661
Current Borrowing
Other Current Liabilities
Subtotal Current Liabilities 33 822 661
Long-term Liabilities 8400 6600 4800
Total Liabilities 8033 8422 3461
Paid-in Capital 0000 0000 0000
Retained Earnings -5400 -1810 -4776
Earnings 590 034 343
Total Capital 190 224 8567
Total Liabilities and Capital 6223 3646 2028
Net Worth 190 224 8567

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