Business Plan:


Developing a Business Plan for E-Ventures

Specific Features


Primary source of information: “The Asian Manager’s Handbook of E-Commerce”, Rajesh Chackrabarti and Vikas Kardile; “The E-Myth Contractor”, Michael E. Gerber; and “IndiaSoft” Conference Materials

"The key to success in e-venture is not technology, but value addition and customer satisfaction. Technology should serve, not rule."


Aspects of the business plan that need special attention in the case of an e-business strategy as against a general business strategy include:

  • Basics of an e-business plan

  • Market segmentation and trends in online business

  • Online buyer behavior

  • Standard e-venture startup strategies

  • Naming, branding, differentiating, and positioning for e-ventures

  • Aligning and synergizing online and offline activities of your business



Basics of an e-Business Plan

  • A clear vision statement

  • Focus on value addition

  • E-content strategy

  • Alternative revenue models

  • Attracting web-advertisers

General Product Groups and Associated Strategies

  • Impulse Products: the customer has typically not planned ahead what he wants to buy; he buys such products when he sees them.

    • Your strategies: Plan on providing ideas to the customer depending on his taste and preferences. Try to keep the customer at your site for as long as possible and display your wires to him till he stumbles upon something that he jus cannot do without.

  • High Involvement Products: In case of expensive and complex items, customers consider a number of factors and shop around before they buy.

    • Your strategies: Instead of a varied product display, focus on building trust and facilitating the buying process. Offer side by side price comparisons of different products or brands and provide shopping and delivery guarantees.

  • Known Products: In case of standardized and well-known products, price, selection and availability act as differentiation factors.

    • Your strategies: Information and display are important, but the quality of customer service is your decisive competitive advantage.

  • Customizable Products: Some products come with a lot of optional features that the customers can chose from.

    • Your strategies: Enable customers to design their own products rather than offer a choice of pre-fabricated products. Explain the pros and cons and typical uses of the different choices.

Standard e-Venture Internal Start-up Models

The four common corporate models:

  • Spin-out: Your corporation can create a spin-out company with its own executives, physical locations, strategies and operations.

    • Pros: Creates much greater freedom for online operations and liberates the e-venture from the bureaucracy of the larger organization.

  • Cons: Misses out on part of the synergies.


  • E-Business Division: The e-business is set up to slowly transform the entire organization into an online enterprise. It is developed in the shadow of the parent, as a separate unit, often reporting directly to the CEO.

    • Pros: The positive spillovers of e-business are best captured in this approach.

    • Cons: Cultural and group conflicts may become a problem.

  • Internal Evolution: An internal e-venture team is formed to formulate and implement your e-business strategies. The team and its operations may later develop into an independent e-business.

  • Developing with a Partner: The parent company can partner with another company to develop the e-commerce unit. This approach provides an opportunities to both companies and to develop greater synergies by combining their core competencies.

Naming, branding, differentiating, and positioning for e-ventures

Branding is more important on the web than in offline business because it is one of the ways available to distinguish an online product or website from millions of competitors. On the Internet, it is almost impossible to get visitors without a recognizable brand name.

  • Destination Branding: In your advertising and marketing campaign, you can impart a new meaning to an existing word (eg. “Amazon”) and associate it with a completely different context. Test the proposed name on a pilot sample across the target market to make a better choice.

  • Logo: The logo should be:

    1. simple

    2. distinctive

    3. intuitive (see a sample: Logo of the Ten3 Business e-Coach - Design Secrets)