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Writing a Business Plan for an Internet Based Company

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Business Plan for an Internet Based Company

A business plan is adaptable to any type of business, whether it is a brick-and-mortar business, internet based or both. However, when the internet is introduced into the plan, new details are needed that would not be needed for a company with only a storefront. The plan for the internet-based company must address things like online marketing strategies, website development and maintenance, programming support and so on.

First, it is important to understand that the business plan for an internet based company requires the same sections as a traditional business plan. There must be sections for the Executive Summary, Business Description, Market Strategies, Competitive Analysis, Design and Development, Operations and Management and Financial. However, in each of these sections you will also include information specific to running a company on the internet.

Identifying the Business Model

Internet based companies can be quite different to storefronts. Though the company may sell products and services, it may also be an information hub mostly selling advertising or some other money making opportunity. Facebook and LinkedIn did not begin by selling memberships, but when it came time to expand and generate funding, the business plan had to address the changes needed in the business model to attract internet based revenues.

The business plan for an internet based company will have a number of technology related expenses that must be included. They include expenses for web development, hosting, online advertising, and initial and ongoing website programming expenses. There is still the need to include non-internet based expenses also, including business incorporation and license fees applicable no matter what form the business takes.

Recognizing Competitive Differences

The sections most likely to have major differences when a company is internet based are Marketing Strategies and Competitive Analysis. An internet company may sell physical products and service, but not necessarily. The next social media sites may not sell directly to users, but could rely on advertising revenue also. However, no matter what an internet site sells, there must be a clear picture of the competition in the business plan.

An internet company can literally go global almost overnight, if desired, which adds another dimension to marketing. Unlike a brick-and-mortar company that must go through elaborate and complicated export procedures, an internet company can deliver products and services online. This ability to rapidly grow must be addressed in the business plan, for one simple reason. Potential funders will want to know that you have carefully planned for the possibility of rapid changes. There have been many companies that did not plan for growth and discovered they were unable to add the staff and technological capacity needed to keep up with demand.

Internet companies must be able to change direction quickly as technology advances, and that adds another degree of uncertainty. Addressing the plans for managing rapid change and showcasing the management talent ready and able to steer the company in a volatile environment will attract funders.

A business plan for an internet based company will include the same sections as one written for a storefront business. However, the internet based company has additional issues that will have to be addressed in order for the plan to be accepted by funders, useful for benchmarking and able to keep the business on track. A quality business plan sets a business course, but it also needs to be adaptable if it is to be a valuable management tool.

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