We are proud to announce our NEW community destination. Engage with resident experts and fellow entrepreneurs, and learn everything you need to start your business. Check out the new home of StartupNation Community at startupnation.mn.co

Need help with some portions of business plan

LJinSweetwaterLJinSweetwater subscriber Posts: 2
edited July 2007 in Business Planning
I am in the process of writing a business plan and need help with resources for market study.  I will be opening a small boutique carrying unique, (not found in the chain stores, etc.), moderate/better fashion accessories, gift items, and a few contemporary home decor pieces will be scattered about.  The home decor pieces will be used to disply the other merchandise, but will also be for sale.  This boutique will fill a niche that is currently void in a small town.  We have 1 upscale ladies` boutique, 1 discount dept. store, and 1 moderate dept. store.  It will be located inside an established gallery on Main St., in an historic downtown shopping district.  While there are a couple of gift shops there, I will carry items completely different from theirs.  Locals and tourists shop downtown, but, by the same token, locals must drive either 45 minutes to Knoxville, or 1.5 hours to Chattanooga to reach contemporary boutiques like I plan.  The home decor items available here are either "country" or antique.  The majority of my customers will be fashion forward women, ages 30-50, mainly professional, although there are many upscale communities with fashion forward women who do not work outside the home.  Beginning my store inside the gallery offers a great advantage...low overhead - rent, inventory, and operational expenses...they provide paid sales associates who know their local clientele and tourist "regulars" personally, the gallery has all personnel expenese, all maintenance expenses, general liablility, etc.  I will be free to focus on marketing, developing my own customer base, monitoring trends, and growing my business.
I do have 18 years` experience managing and buying for a ladies` boutique that my mother owned for 35+ years.  (Which was closed about 5 years ago - in a different city - for purely personal reasons).  In fact, I "grew up" in the Atlanta Trade Mart, as vacations were always tied-in with buying trips, and I began learning the ropes of buying as a teenager.  This field is where my "gift" lies, and I know without a doubt that this boutique I am planning will be a hit.  I expect it to grow to the point of needing it`s own location within 3 years.  But, I can`t base a business plan on what I "know"...I need resources for hard data.  I will be presenting the full business plan to angel investors for start-up funding.  (I also have 20 years` experience - retail and office environments - in full charge bookkeeping, budgeting, staff development, relationship development, and financial and administrative operations).
I have my marketing plan in place, and have received estimates which I will include in my budget.
I would be grateful for any resources that you might suggest for market studies and any other aspects of a business plan.  I will be reviewing WWD and other trade publications at the public library.  I cannot hire a consultant, and need to complete the studies on my own.
Also, I have noticec several posts for Fundraiser 1.0.  I cannot find much information about how it works, however.  I do not yet have a website for my business as I am in the planning stages.  Is a website needed to raise capital via Fundraiser 1.0?
Any and all suggestions are very welcome!
Thank you! 


  • Options
    robertjrobertj subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    In your post you say "I expect it to grow to the point of needing it`s own location within 3 years.  But, I can`t base a business plan on what I "know"...I need resources for hard data." 
    First of all, because of your experience and knowledge - I`d say that what you "know" - has real value.
    However, as you indicate - when you start talking to potential investors, that alone may not be enough. Some "hard data" would certainly help.
    So the advise we give our clients in this situation is:
    Your business plan is based upon certain assumptions. Those assumptions may be founded on experience, data or whatever.
    First, identify the CORE assumptions - those that are crucial to your plan. Write them down- then look for ways to validate those assumptions.
    For example; as a retail type operation you may be basing sales  projections on a traffic assumption (so many people will come to my boutique every day/week etc).
    Then - you could "canvas" some of the neighboring businesses with a few questions about traffic.

    What are the high traffic days/ hours?
    How many people come into their store each day?
    Next -if you want further data - you could do some spot checking of your own. Actually count the people who go buy your proposed location on the "high traffic" times. NOTE: This may not give you an absolute answer unless you spend a lot of time doing it - but it should give you an indication of the accuracy of your assumption.
    I hope this helps.
    Robert j
  • Options
    LJinSweetwaterLJinSweetwater subscriber Posts: 2
    Thank you both for the votes of confidence, and the suggestions.  They were helpful and gave me a good boost too!!!  
Sign In or Register to comment.