Business Plan for a Website?

Is there anywhere I can find a business plan for a website? I’ve found some examples of a business plan for a retail store, entertainment company, etc. but some of this stuff doesn’t seem to apply to a website.

There is a book from Envato founder Collis Ta’ed - how to make succesfull business from a blog or something. If you want to monetize from the web site
If you want to monetize from web design business it should be great resource to pick this kit from Sitepoint

Good question. I could recommend an article about how to start an online business and what should be included in a business plan.
About on-line business plan >>

> Good question.

it’s a crap question (imo, obviously). the idea that such things are available, or more to the point, are good idea to get, off-the-shelf seems ludicrous to me. maybe that’s just me.

surely what you need is an idea (a good one), and they come from the bunch of information and experiences you’ve collected and stored throughout your life, then selectively combined and output making for an insightful good idea.

I agree with johnnyboy, but for a different reason. A business is the same whether online or offline. A website is only a tool you can use to promote the business and help to make it more popular. To make a business plan especially for a website is, in my opinion, bass akwards. You don’t plan a business around a website. You plan a website around an already well-planned business.

I’ve found some examples of a business plan for a retail store, entertainment company, etc. but some of this stuff doesn’t seem to apply to a website.

An online retail plan would be quite different from an entertainment company online business plan.

The digital economics that would underpin such planning are practically unknown. An online entertainment company would have to develop a model that big labels haven’t yet mastered. However, if you do proper research you can find sites like Magnatune. And alternative business models – in that case the business model can be completely different.

So, a further challenge is – where online and offline models differ – how brand positioning remains consistent and effective. That’s one aspect most miss. Many online plan for an all online, zero offline model.

With retail, it’s about visual merchandising, and testing. Mostly because there are so many fallacies and misinformation out there, you’ll want to start out with online retail as a test platform.

What isn’t a plan is selling for the lowest price possible, plus just enough less to take years to go out of business. Or giving everything away free as a marketing and business plan substitute, only to wonder what happened. (And never learning a thing because the whole exercise was about avoiding marketing)

Finally, online is more about giving up on the “big idea” business plan developed with nondisclosures and secrecy and an absolute vacuum of customer or user input. In an environment of cut-an-paste thinking and monkey-see monkey-do business models, you want a dozen, interlocking ideas which all work together to differentiate you from competitors – an ecosystem.

So – setting aside all that – what is it going to be? Fiverr clone or Craigslist copy? The five billionth directory? Wannabe TemplateMonster site? Facebook knockoff?

Thx for the replies! I was able to pretty much finish the business plan over the last couple of days but I’m having a problem with 2 parts… which would be Market Trends and Market Size… how would I calculate somethin like that for a website?

how would I calculate somethin like that for a website?

Most of these are discounted by the person reading the plan, as they are the stuff of pipe dreams. Still; the thoroughness and thought process for calculation can tell people more about how real-world savvy you are – and that earns you bonus points.

For market trends, a trend is a history of growth over time. If you know it’s a trend you’re well on your way to tracking down the raw data.

(Keep in mind you’ve said nothing specific – about anything – that’s the best generic reply you’ll get without context and a whole whopping lot of missing specifics).

Next, market trend implies money spent. Industry magazines often have year end rundowns about this, December/January is a good time to look at industry journals or trade publications. If there’s no money spent; it’s not a market trend. And if there’s ‘no competition,’ it’s not a market trend.

Finally, markets are people. Markets don’t buy – people do. Knowing the customer starts with definition. With technology markets you have market stages – often defined as Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.

Further, there’s a “chasm” between the Adopters and Early majority – a difference in mind set where mistakes are easily made. Understanding this psychology means you ‘get’ what each different market segment wants.

Not understanding the psychology means you’ve just written down some useless data the reader will gloss over.

Market trend implies market size. Your task is not to hint you’ll stroll in and get 100% – it’s to persuade the business plain reader you have a credible strategy to carve out Significant Market Share.

You won’t get one percent without a path to market share. And anyone worth putting a plan in front of knows this.

That means thorough competitive analysis (strengths, weakness, opportunity, threat or SWOT). That means a clear, understandable, competitive advantage against competition (positioning strategy, Unique Selling Proposition).

Who is this business plan for exactly? What is the purpose?

Back to your questions, market size you can determine through industry searches (e.g. google “number of used airplanes sold per year”) or if you’re just looking at adsense clicks or the such you can use Adwords or the such to give you an indication of search volume that can get you started.

Yup, that hits the nail on the head. A business plan is a business plan, and a website is a marketing/crm/retailing/information channel, not a business.

Unless your website is your business and there is no physical business associated with it.

There is always a physical business associated. Even an affiliate website has bookkeeping to do, new income avenues to explore, and performance statistics to track.

And those are expenses involved in the business and one could argue “physical” tasks but they are not the business itself so to say

a website is a marketing/crm/retailing/information channel, not a business

is over the top. A website can be a business and for many people it is.

One can launch a series of information sites and monetize them with adsense ads. Does that mean the websites are not a business? One could be nitpicky and say that the websites aren’t a business, they are simply a delivery vehicle for advertisements and the selling of ads are the real business but seriously now?

You can certainly create a business plan for an Internet only business and it would include items that would not be found in a “regular” business plan.

I agree with this, but my point is that you don’t plan a business around a website. The only real difference between any business on the web and a brick and mortar is the location. A good business plan accounts for that.

Before the WWW there were a whole lot of businesses that sold exclusively through mail-order. I think it’s reasonable to presume that the successful ones started with a good business plan, realizing that the postal service wasn’t their business. It was just the vehicle they used to promote and sell their products.

Every business should start with a plan that includes a description, a marketing plan, a financial plan, and an operations plan. It’s up to the business owner to fill in the blanks under those headings.

The Small Business Toolkit describes the basics better than I can, but it doesn’t seem to differentiate between business located on the web and store front businesses.

hi ,
you didn’t mention which types of services provided by your website.I think this site ( may be helpful for you.

That is really a silly statement. If you have ever pitched a real business plan to real investors you’ll know that investors are hugely concerned with the marketing aspects of the plan, especially the metrics to define the market, identify the other players in the markets, and establish a penetration plan.

It’s extremely difficult to get that information, which is why there are loads of companies who do nothing but create market research information and sell it for very high prices. I have been involved in pitches where we spend 50k+ just on the market data.

Understanding your market is a key element of any new business.

A website is not a business. A website can’t really function without some structure around it - people to administer it and host it, content producers, and someone to collect the money that comes in. There needs to be a bank where the money goes, credit card transaction providers, it goes on and on.

Amazon sells books.
Google sells ads, and services, and other things.
Facebook sells ads.
NetFlix sells media content.

Those are businesses, not websites.

They they have offices, pay taxes, have meetings, phone calls, accounting, and all of the other things that businesses do.

The fact that they do business via the internet isn’t redefining what their business is. If a bookseller was successful just selling books through the mail you wouldn’t say that their mailbox is a business.

It makes no sense to distinguish online businesses as some special kind of entity.

I think you should consult with a business analyst. If you want to take ideas, given URL should be great resources for your business plan.

You can find lots of business plans models at
Of course, they are not free…