Business Plan : 3 Your Business Concept
The Business Concept section for a retail business plan is one of three primary elements that potential investors will actually read because it answers the question, “What am I investing in?” This section provides an opportunity to create a visual image of your concept in the mind of the reader. This is your chance to get others excited about your concept, enough so that they will ask two more questions, “How much will it cost me?” and “What is my return on investment?”
Investors and bankers, first and foremost, want to be sold on the thought that your business concept is a great idea. They need to be convinced that the concept should succeed in appealing to customers; after all, those reading your plan shop retail too.
This section should focus on a detailed description of the concept. There are three components needed in order for your narrative to portray a vivid visual image. First, you should have a detailed description and concept statement. Second, you should provide a sample merchandise images or list of merchandise ideas; and third, present graphic design layouts or renderings of the storefront.
Concept Description and Statement
Writing a vivid concept description is a lot like telling a good friend about a fantastic new shop you have visited. The natural tendency will be to tell about all the great merchandise the shop has to offer. You will be sure to mention interesting design elements, unique furnishings or special attractions. And let’s not forget the service. A good descriptive summary of the service style, as well as the promptness, are a necessity in order to properly communicate the conceptual image of the store. Differentiation such as casual-theme or high-end, quick service or counter service make it necessary clearly define the service style.
The writing style you use should be similar to that of a retail critic, albeit one that has only positive things to print about your store. Descriptive remarks about the overall atmosphere you want to project helps to solidify the conceptual picture you are trying to create.
In addition to describing the merchandise, décor and service, your narrative should inform the reader of other key factors such as the shops price point, hours of operation and sales staff.
Be sure to express any unique selling points or points of differentiation the shop may have. Points of difference might include anything from accessories to décor to entertainment. Typical distinctions are often made for signature items, green accessories new to the area, unique service styles or unusual décor.
The concept statement should inform the reader about the size of the storefront and the number of patrons it holds. Elaborate on amenities such as a cash wrap or dressing rooms, providing details about additional products capacity, décor or other significant factors. Illustrate the type of location the concept requires such as a free standing building or a lease space in a shopping center. Describe also the parking conditions and accessibility to the restaurant.
Finally, be sure to enlighten the reader of additional services the shop may offer such as an in-store seamstress, consignment items or local events.
You should include some of the marketing material you intend on using like a sample flyer. The sample flyer does not have to include everything you will sell, only enough items to give the reader a sense of expectation. The presentation can depict either a printed flyer or a rendering of the in-store signage.
Flyers don’t need elaborate design to effectively convey the image of your concept. For instance, the flyer for a proposed vintage store would probably be simple in design, reflecting the casualness of the concept. It might consist of simple typed inserts encased in a laminated menu cover.
Conversely, a high-end flyer might typically be designed by a graphic artist. Much thought would be given to the choice of paper stock and menu covers. The main thing to remember is that the flyer should represent the image of your concept.
You should also include a floor plan rendering. Architectural drawings, floor plans, and artist renderings will also help sell your concept to the reader. Understandably, not every conceptual plan is far enough along to have architectural drawings. Some business plans are presented with the expectation of finding a site, therefore a meaningful floor plan is not available or even feasible.
The purpose for this section is to convey anything and everything that is part of your concept and that can help create the visual image you want the reader to experience.
Below are examples of different floor plans.