Startup Retail Business Plan Template

Whether you want to start your own retail business or expand an existing one, you need a business plan. The following startup retail business plan template lets you know what elements you need to include in a successful retail business plan.

To ensure your coffee shop business success in this highly competitive market, you need a properly structured business plan for your coffee shop. With over 12 years of experience, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs create business plans to start and grow their coffee shop businesses.If this is your first time writing a business plan, we’ll walk you through these sections and give you some key things to consider.

Things to Know Before Writing a Retail Business

Retail trade is the final step in the distribution of products, including brick-and-mortar stores and non-retailers operating through mail-order, door-to-door, kiosks, and the internet.

There are 12 subsectors within the US Retail Trade sector, from food and beverage stores to motor vehicles and parts dealers.

This industry’s main products and services are

  • Automobile and auto parts dealers
  • General merchandise stores
  • Online retailers
  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers
  • Retailers of food and beverages
  • Retailers of health and personal caree
  • Gas stations
  • Retailers of other products

While some products sold by retailers are staples, others are more discretionary in nature. In the coming years, disposable income per capita is expected to increase, making it possible for consumers to spend more.

As stores reopen and consumers feel more comfortable, the Consumer Confidence Index is forecast to rise during the period, along with a decrease in the national unemployment rate.

Due to this, retail trade is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.2% over the 3 years to 2024, reaching $5.9 trillion. Additionally, profit is expected to increase a little during this period.

Key Success Factors for Retail Businesses

There are 6 factors that can help you boost profitability, efficiency, and ultimately success in the retail industry despite the challenges.

  • Having a skilled workforce: Experienced employees can provide a pleasant experience for customers by providing excellent customer service and clear knowledge of products sold, either in-store or online.
  • Establishing a clear market position: Having clear branding and marketing helps consumers identify stores carrying particular goods and brands.
  • A loyal customer base: Building strong relationships with consumers can encourage repeat business.
  • Keeping an eye on competitors: By monitoring the competition, operators can offer competitive prices as well as products that match the quality and range of those offered by their competitors.
  • Inventory control: In order to prevent the build-up of excess stock, operators must ensure popular items are reordered.
  • Scale economies: Being part of a chain, franchise, or co-op allows players to obtain buying and marketing power.

What is a Startup Retail Business Plan?

A startup retail business plan is a roadmap for starting and growing your retail business. Your business plan outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing strategy, and details your financial projections.

Any bank or investor you approach will require a startup retail business plan, so putting one together will be critical to securing funding.

In short, writing a business plan can help you succeed if you’re thinking of starting a retail business or pitching to investors or venture capitalists.

startup retail business plan template
Business Plan Template

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Why You Need a Startup Retail Business Plan

Retail business plans can be used to gain interest from potential investors or to secure loans from banks. They are also helpful to you as the owner. A start business plan allows you to thoroughly analyze every aspect of your potential business.

A solid, detailed plan gives you a clear path to follow, forces you to examine the viability of a retail business idea, and may help you better understand your company’s finances and competition.

Retail business owners who have a business plan grow 32% faster than those who don’t, and 77% of fast-growing businesses have one.

A retail business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Funding Sources for Retail Business

No matter how large or how small your retail business is, you should think about your financing options. Below are four types of funding you should investigate:

Inventory loan

This is a traditional term loan in which you receive a lump sum and repay it over time with interest. This loan is best suited for a large purchase made once a year or every few years.

Government Incentives

When choosing a business location, you can consider different community incentives before making your final choice. Government incentives can help reduce operating costs and long-term overhead.

You can begin your business with the help of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). You can find government resources about financing your business by using the website’s Loans and Grants Search Tool.

Bank Loans

Many banks offer small business loans. See if a business loan is right for you by contacting your bank. Banks also offer business lines of credit and other resources to help you find the right option.


Consider finding an investor or group of investors to finance your company. Be sure to do your research and have the numbers and information to back up your business before you contact an investor. You will need to show progress to investors, and they will do research and investigation concerning your retail business plan. In return, investors often desire ownership of a part of your company.

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How to Write a Retail Business Plan

To write a retail business plan, you don’t need to be an expert. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to write a retail business plan, or you can just download our proven sample business plans to get a better idea.

Startup Retail Business Plan PDF and Word

Download our startup retail business plan template in PDF and Word here.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the most important part of the document since it outlines the whole business plan. Despite the fact that it appears first in the plan, write the executive summary last so you may condense key concepts from the other nine parts.

It’s a part that catches the investor’s eye and provides key information about your company’s overview and upcoming short- and long-term goals.

Tell them what kind of retail business you have and what stage you’re in; for example, are you a startup, do you have a retail shop that you want to expand, or do you have a lot of retail businesses?

Finally, an executive summary should provide investors with a preview of what they may expect from the rest of your document.

  • Provide a high-level overview of the retail industry
  • The name, location, and mission of your retail company
  • A description of your retail business, including management, advisors, and a brief history
  • Discuss the type of retail business you are operating, Give an overview of your target customers., and how your company differs from competitors in the industry
  • Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales, and partnership plans.
  • And give an overview of your financial plan

Check out these executive summary examples to help you write a perfect one for your retail business plan.

Business Plan Template

Free: Executive Summary Examples

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Company Analysis

The company analysis follows the executive summary as the second section of a retail business plan. Your company overview will be short and clear, similar to the executive summary.

Even if they just have a few minutes, your reader has to understand what your company does and who your customers are.

The following sections will be included in your business plan’s Company Analysis:

  • Company summary: Your company analysis will describe the type of retail shop you are running and its future goals.
    The type of retail business you might be focused on (Department Stores, Supermarkets, Specialty Retailers, Convenience Stores, Supermarkets/hypermarkets, Discount Stores, E-Commerce Stores, Warehouse Stores, etc)
  • Company history: When and why did you start your retail shop business?
  • What milestones have you achieved so far? Your milestones could include served 100th customer, new fleet purchase, etc.
  • Legal structure and ownership: Do you have S-Corp status? Is it an LLC? A sole proprietorship? Describe your legal structure.
  • Mission statement: An overview of your retail company’s guiding principles. Learn how to write a perfect mission statement.

Industry Analysis

The retail business plan’s research section will most likely be the most time-consuming. Here, you will elaborate on how you will fit into the existing retail market. Since your research findings should serve as a sound confirmation of the conclusions you have outlined thus far, they will demonstrate your understanding of the industry and market.

Industry analysis can be presented as a 8-step process when written as part of a company’s business plan.

  1. Give a quick overview of the retail industry. Define the retail business in terms of size (in dollars), historical background, service region, and products.
  2. Examine previous trends and growth patterns in the retail industry.
  3. Identify the market’s major competitors.
  4. Age, gender, and general lifestyle of the targeted market
  5. Determine the factors that have an impact on the retail industry. These might include government regulatory rules and other businesses’ competitive activities.
  6. Using research data, the industry forecast expected growth over the next five to ten years. Predictions should be made for both the long and short term.
  7. Describe how your retail business intends to position itself in the industry. Concentrate on how your retail business can benefit from opportunities highlighted in the industry.

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Customer Analysis

The first condition for a retail business is to identify its target customers clearly. Customers can be categorized into the following segments: Teenagers, College students, Sports enthusiasts, Techies, Baby boomers, Couples, etc.

The customer analysis section is an important part of any retail business plan since it evaluates the consumer segments that your company serves. It identifies target customers, determines what those customers want, and then explains how the your retail items will meet those requirements.

Customer analysis may be divided into two parts: Psycho-social profiles (why your retail items suits a customer’s lifestyle) and Demographic profiles (descriptions of a customer’s demographic qualities).

With regards to demographics, include information about: When moving residential, the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of your customers. When targeting businesses, describe what kind of business, size, and location your target customers are.

The psychological profiles of your target clients reveal their wants and needs. The better you understand and identify these demands, the better your chances of attracting and retaining customers will be.

Competitor Analysis

It is necessary to do a competitor analysis. Because you may use their data to define your goals, marketing plans, tactics, new product lines, pricing, and more. Use competitor analysis to:

  • Identify the strength and weakness of your retail business competitors.
  • Search for opportunities to distinguish your retail business from competitors.

The first step is to determine who your direct and indirect competitors are.

The direct competitors consists of other retail businesses that offer essentially the same retail items to the same people as you do.

Your indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors.

Businesses that sell the same or similar items as you but operate online.

Once you’ve identified the competition, concentrate on the direct, head-to-head competitors, since they are the most threatening to your retail business— but keep an eye on the indirect competition as well, just in case.

Provide an overview of each direct competitor’s business and detail their strengths and weaknesses.

You will be able to position yourself competitively in the market if you perform proper competition research. Perform a SWOT Analysis to learn your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and competitive advantages in the following areas:

  • Prices – Are they offer cheaper retail items or more costly than you and other competitors, what value do buyers get for that price?
  • Quality – Are they offer premium retail items, the perceived worth in the eyes of the customers
  • Customer service – How they respond to their consumers, whether they treat them poorly or well, and the degrees of satisfaction customers show
  • Reputation — The sum of everything mentioned above: their credibility, how loved the brand is, and the loyalty of their customers

The final section of your competitive analysis should include a list of your areas of competitive advantage. for example: Are you going to offer premium retail items? Will you have specialty products? Will you offer better pricing or will you offer greater customer support?

Consider how you will outperform your competitors and include them in this portion of your retail business plan.

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Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan for a retail business involves identifying the target demographic and finding retail items that suit their preferences.

As part of your marketing plan for a retail business, you should include:

Pricing and Product Strategy

Your retail business must offer retail items that are different from those of your competitors. Research what your competitors offer and how they price their retail items. Unique retail items identifies your retail business as the place to go for unique retail store and differentiates it from others.

Placing and Promotions

The location of your retail business is referred to as place. Document your location and explain how it will affect your success. Is your retail establishment, for example, next to a densely populated society or in the mall? Discuss how your location could provide a consistent flow of customers.

Promoting your retail business is the final part of your marketing plan. In this step, you document how you will drive customers to purchase your retail items. A few marketing methods you could consider are:

  • Pre-Opening Events
  • Strategies for Online Retail Marketing
  • Email marketing 
  • Marketing through influencers
  • Merchandising in-store
  • Curbside displays
  • Collaborations and partnerships
  • Referral programs

You should also think about your retail company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which should explain why clients should choose you over other retail businesses. Ensure that your USP is reflected in your marketing.

Operations Plan

While the previous sections of your retail business plan described your goals, your operations plan discusses how you will achieve them.

An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it’s also helpful for you and employees because it pushes you to think about tactics and deadlines.

Your operational plan should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who – Personnel in charge of completing specific tasks.
  • What – A breakdown of the responsibilities of each personnel.
  • Where – The location of everyday operations.
  • When –The deadlines for completing tasks and goals.
  • How much – The amount of money required for each department to perform their job.

Your operations plan should be divided into two individual parts, as seen below.

Your daily short-term processes include all the tasks involved in your retail store, maintaining your shop space, packing your retail items, completing sales transactions, choosing and dealing with vendors, and delivering the final products to your clients. etc.

Long-term goals are milestones you hope to reach. they might be growing your business, such as introducing new items or retail outlets, meeting particular sales milestones, and meeting other essential business-oriented goals like recruiting more staff, opening additional locations, and so on.

Management Team

When writing a startup retail business plan, the management section’ outlines your management team, staff, resources, and how your business ownership is structured.

This part may be easily organized by dividing it into the following points:

  • Ownership Structure
  • Internal Management Team
  • External Management Resources
  • Human Resources

Ownership Structure

This section outlines your retail business’s legal structure. If your company is a sole proprietorship, it may simply be one phrase. It might be longer if your company is a partnership or a corporation. You should make it a point to clarify who owns what part of the business.

Internal Management Team

This section should not only outline who is on your management team but also how each person’s skill set and experiences will contribute to the growth of your retail business. Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct expertise in the retail business. If this is the case, highlight your experience and skills.

External Management Resources

Think of these external management resources as your internal management team’s backup. Consider forming an advisory board if your team is lacking expertise and experience with retail business.

An advisory board would consist of 3 to 7 people who would serve as mentors to your retail company. They would assist in answering queries and providing strategic direction.

If necessary, search for advisory board members with expertise running retail business.

Describe all of your company’s external professional advisers, such as accountants, bankers, attorneys, IT experts, business consultants, and/or business coaches. 

Human Resources

The final topic to consider in the management area of your retail business plan is your human resource needs.

Financial Plan

As part of your financial plan, you should present a 5-year financial statement broken down monthly or quarterly for the first year, and then annually. Financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

Income Statement

A profit and loss statement is more commonly called an income statement. It shows your revenue and subtracts your expenses to determine whether you were profitable or not.

As you develop your income statement, you need to develop assumptions. Will you serve 50 customers per day or 200? Will sales grow by 2% or 8% per year? Your choice of assumptions will greatly impact your business’s financial forecasts. Conduct as much research as possible in order to ground your assumptions in reality.

Business Plan Template

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Balance Sheet

While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities.

The balance sheet shows your retail business’s net value at a specific point in time. It categorizes all of your company’s financial data into three categories:

  • Assets: Tangible goods with the monetary worth that the company owns.
  • Liabilities: Debt owing to a company’s creditor.
  • Equity: The net difference when the total liabilities are subtracted from the total assets.

The equation that expresses the relationship between these financial data elements is Assets = Liabilities + Equity.

Create a pro forma balance sheet for your retail business plan that highlights the information in the income statement and cash flow projections. A balance sheet is normally prepared once a year by a company.

Balance sheets indicate your assets and liabilities, and while they contain a lot of information, they are simplified to highlight the most important things you need to know.

For example, spending $500,000 to build out your retail shop will not result in instant revenues. Rather, it is an asset that should help you earn money for many years to come.

Similarly, if a bank sends you a check for $200,000, you do not have to pay it back right now. Rather, that is a liability that you will repay over time.

Cash Flow Statement:

Your cash flow statement will help you determine how much money you need to start or grow your retail business. In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a retail business:

  • Fees for registering a retail business
  • Taxes and licenses costs
  • Business insurance
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Facility rent and security deposits
  • Construction / remodeling
  • Start-up Inventory
  • Cookware
Business Plan Template

Free: Balance Sheet Template

Create a financial statement for your business by downloading our free balance sheet templates.


List any additional material you cannot include elsewhere, such as resumes from key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit histories.

Attach your full financial projections along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling in the appendix.

Bonus Tip: Find out what to include in a business plan appendix when writing a retail business plan.  

Summary of the Retail Business Plan

A retail business plan is a worthwhile investment. As long as you follow the template above, you will become an expert in no time. By following the template, you will understand the retail business, your competition, and your customers. The plan will help you understand the steps necessary to launch and grow your retail business.

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Since 2010, Wise business plans’ MBA professional business plan writers has developed business plans for thousands of companies that have experienced tremendous success.

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