The overall market for baby products might seem relatively recession-proof. After all, the stork keeps bringing new customers no matter what's happening with the economy. If you're planning to open a store dedicated to selling items for the home nursery, you'll need to examine every aspect of the business before putting that "open" sign in the window. In other words, you'll need to write an in-depth business plan.

Describe the business. Give the name of the store and its address. Tell the reader why you selected this particular location. Include the square footage of the sales area, how much space will be used for the office and how much is available for inventory storage. List the categories of products that your store will offer. Comment on the ambiance of the store and how it will be a plus for sales.

Introduce your products. Specify the kinds of goods you will be selling and include brands and suppliers. Discuss the research you conducted before deciding on your product mix. Tell how you decided which brands to carry. Include photographs of your main products.

Provide market information. Include the relevant demographic information for your market area. Give the projected birth rate and population trends for the area. List your principal competitors and tell why your store will be able to penetrate the existing market. Estimate the percentage of market share you expect to capture and give the dollar value of that share.

Calculate income projections for the store's first three years of operation. Include sales revenue and expense details. For the first year, give monthly amounts. Include a company balance sheet -- showing assets, liabilities and net worth -- as of the most recent month and personal financial statements of the owners; suppliers and lenders require this information.

Provide biographical summaries of the owners. Include prior work experience, especially in retailing. Include other background information, such as civic and charitable activities. Include information on professional resources, such as attorneys, accountants, designers and consultants.

Write the executive summary. Include highlights of the business plan. Discuss your vision for the new store and what compels you to take this step. Write the summary last -- to be sure that it contains your main points -- but place it first in the business plan.


Work closely with your accountant in creating the financial projections. During the course of the year, measure performance by comparing actual results with the projections. Your banker, accountant and attorney should all have experience with retailing.