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Magazine Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

How to Start a Magazine Business

Magazine Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their magazine companies. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a magazine business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is a Magazine Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your business plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for a Magazine Business

If you’re looking to start a new magazine business, or grow your existing magazine publishing company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the revenue growth of your business in order to improve your chances of success. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Magazine Companies

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a magazine business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financial projections are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

Personal savings is the other most common form of funding for a new magazine business. Venture capitalists will usually not fund a magazine business, but they might consider funding a one with a national presence, but never an individual location. This is because most venture capitalists are looking for millions of dollars in return when they make an investment, and an individual location could never achieve such results.  With that said, using a savings account and bank loans are the most common funding paths for magazine businesses.

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How to write an effective business plan for a magazine business.

If you want to start a magazine business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Each of the key components of a magazine publishing business plan are detailed below:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of business you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a digital magazine business that you would like to grow, or are you starting an online magazine business?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the magazine industry. Discuss the type of business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target audience. Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of business you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of magazine businesses:

  • Entertainment magazine : this type of magazine business focuses on topics such as arts, culture, fashion and leisure
  • Academic and professional magazine: this type of magazine business focuses on subjects like finance, health, or science
  • Home and living magazine: this type of magazine is devoted to cooking, home decorating, etc.
  • Business magazine: this type of magazine typically focuses on business people, companies, emerging business or technology trends, etc.
  • Digital magazine: this type of magazine is accessible via an electronic device, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, or computer. An internet connection is required to access or download the content, but once downloaded, it is available for viewing offline.
  • Online magazine: this type of electronic magazine is similar to a digital magazine, but typically comes with fewer features. An internet connection is required to access the content.

In addition to explaining the type of magazine startup you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of customers served, number of positive reviews, number of annual subscriptions, etc.
  • Your legal business structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the magazine industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the magazine industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section:

  • How big is the magazine industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your magazine business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: advertisers, consumers of varying ages and with varying interests, and authors.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of magazine business you operate. Clearly, business people would respond to different marketing promotions than teens, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most magazine businesses primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other magazine businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes social media platforms, other reading material, or alternative leisure activities. You need to mention such competition as well.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other magazine businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be house flippers located very close to your location.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What interest or niche do they specialize in?
  • What formats are their publications available in?
  • How often is the magazine published?
  • What is their pricing strategy (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide better articles, features, and/or photos?
  • Will you provide more opportunities for guest authors?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a magazine business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of magazine company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to printed magazines, will you offer a digital version?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your magazine company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your magazine business located near a distribution center, or in an area known as a “hub” for the content you specialize in, etc. Discuss how your location might be ideal for attracting and retaining customers.

Promotions : The final part of your magazine marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Reaching out to local websites
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your magazine business, including selling ad space, creating quality content, finding contributors, designing each issue, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to land your 10 th major magazine advertising account, or when you expect to have 5,000 subscribers, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your magazine distribution to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your magazine business’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing magazine businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in publication or marketing or successfully running small businesses.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you publish one issue per month or four? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your magazine business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a magazine business:

  • Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
  • Cost of equipment and supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or the wireframe for your digital publication.  

Putting together a business plan for your magazine business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the magazine industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful magazine business.  

Magazine Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my magazine business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Magazine Business Plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of magazine business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a magazine business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of magazine businesses?

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Magazine Business Plan

Executive summary image

Running a magazine business enables you to share your thoughts with a larger audience that shares your interests in a particular topic. Also, it keeps you in the company of creative people.

Do you want everything perfect for your magazine business, then why not write a business plan first?

Need help writing a business plan for your magazine business? You’re at the right place. Our magazine business plan template will help you get started.

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  • Fill in the blanks – Outline
  • Financial Tables

How to Write A Magazine Business Plan?

Writing a magazine business plan is a crucial step toward the success of your business. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first section planned to offer an overview of the entire business plan. However, it is written after the entire business plan is ready and summarizes each section of your plan.

Here are a few key components to include in your executive summary:

Introduce your Business:

Start your executive summary by briefly introducing your business to your readers.

Market Opportunity:

Products and services:.

Highlight the magazine services you offer your clients. The USPs and differentiators you offer are always a plus.

Marketing & Sales Strategies:

Financial highlights:, call to action:.

Ensure your executive summary is clear, concise, easy to understand, and jargon-free.

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2. Business Overview

The business overview section of your business plan offers detailed information about your company. The details you add will depend on how important they are to your business. Yet, business name, location, business history, and future goals are some of the foundational elements you must consider adding to this section:

Business Description:

Describe your business in this section by providing all the basic information. Describe what kind of magazine business you run and the name of it. You may specialize in one of the following magazine businesses:

  • Online magazine business
  • Print magazine business
  • Lifestyle magazine business
  • Fashion magazine business
  • Business and Finance magazine
  • Travel magazine business
  • Sports magazine business
  • Health and wellness magazine business
  • Technology magazine business
  • Describe the legal structure of your magazine business, whether it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or others.Explain where your business is located and why you selected the place.

Mission Statement:

Business history:.

If you’re an established magazine service provider, briefly describe your business history, like—when it was founded, how it evolved over time, etc.

Future Goals:

This section should provide a thorough understanding of your business, its history, and its future plans. Keep this section engaging, precise, and to the point.

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan should offer a thorough understanding of the industry with the target market, competitors, and growth opportunities. You should include the following components in this section.

Target market:

Start this section by describing your target market. Define your ideal customer and explain what types of services they prefer. Creating a buyer persona will help you easily define your target market to your readers.

For instance, individuals with hobbies or interests or professionals would be an ideal target audience for a magazine business.

Market size and growth potential

Competitive analysis:, market trends:.

Analyze emerging trends in the industry, such as changes in customer behavior or preferences, etc. Explain how your business will cope with all the trends.

Regulatory Environment:

Here are a few tips for writing the market analysis section of your magazine business plan:

  • Conduct market research, industry reports, and surveys to gather data.
  • Provide specific and detailed information whenever possible.
  • Illustrate your points with charts and graphs.
  • Write your business plan keeping your target audience in mind.

4. Products And Services

The product and services section should describe the specific services and products that will be offered to customers. To write this section should include the following:

Describe your content:

Mention the magazine content your business will offer. This list may include content like,

  • Opinion pieces
  • Other formats of content

Any interactive features:

Frequency & distribution:, additional services:.

In short, this section of your magazine plan must be informative, precise, and client-focused. By providing a clear and compelling description of your offerings, you can help potential investors and readers understand the value of your business.

5. Sales And Marketing Strategies

Writing the sales and marketing strategies section means a list of strategies you will use to attract and retain your clients. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing plan:

Unique Selling Proposition (USP):

Define your business’s USPs depending on the market you serve, the equipment you use, and the unique services you provide. Identifying USPs will help you plan your marketing strategies.

For example, exclusive content, high-quality visuals, or customization could be some of the great USPs for a professional magazine business.

Pricing Strategy

Marketing strategies:, sales strategies:, customer retention:.

Overall, this section of your magazine publisher business plan should focus on customer acquisition and retention.

Have a specific, realistic, and data-driven approach while planning sales and marketing strategies for your magazine business, and be prepared to adapt or make strategic changes in your strategies based on feedback and results.

6. Operations Plan

The operations plan section of your business plan should outline the processes and procedures involved in your business operations, such as staffing requirements and operational processes. Here are a few components to add to your operations plan:

Staffing & Training:

Operational process:, equipment & software:.

Include the list of equipment and software required for the magazine business, such as computers, print production equipment, videography equipment & software, online publishing & digital equipment, etc.

Adding these components to your operations plan will help you lay out your business operations, which will eventually help you manage your business effectively..

7. Management Team

The management team section provides an overview of your magazine business’s management team. This section should provide a detailed description of each manager’s experience and qualifications, as well as their responsibilities and roles.


Key managers:.

Introduce your management and key members of your team, and explain their roles and responsibilities.

Organizational structure:

Compensation plan:, advisors/consultants:.

Mentioning advisors or consultants in your business plans adds credibility to your business idea.

This section should describe the key personnel for your magazine business, highlighting how you have the perfect team to succeed.

8. Financial Plan

Your financial plan section should provide a summary of your business’s financial projections for the first few years. Here are some key elements to include in your financial plan:

Profit & loss statement:

Cash flow statement:, balance sheet:, break-even point:.

Determine and mention your business’s break-even point—the point at which your business costs and revenue will be equal.

Financing Needs:

Be realistic with your financial projections, and make sure you offer relevant information and evidence to support your estimates.

9. Appendix

The appendix section of your plan should include any additional information supporting your business plan’s main content, such as market research, legal documentation, financial statements, and other relevant information.

  • Add a table of contents for the appendix section to help readers easily find specific information or sections.
  • In addition to your financial statements, provide additional financial documents like tax returns, a list of assets within the business, credit history, and more. These statements must be the latest and offer financial projections for at least the first three or five years of business operations
  • Provide data derived from market research, including stats about the industry, user demographics, and industry trends.
  • Include any legal documents such as permits, licenses, and contracts.
  • Include any additional documentation related to your business plan, such as product brochures, marketing materials, operational procedures, etc.

Use clear headings and labels for each section of the appendix so that readers can easily find the necessary information.

Remember, the appendix section of your magazine business plan should only include relevant and important information supporting your plan’s main content.

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This sample magazine business plan will provide an idea for writing a successful magazine plan, including all the essential components of your business.

After this, if you still need clarification about writing an investment-ready business plan to impress your audience, download our magazine business plan pdf .

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Frequently asked questions, why do you need a magazine business plan.

A business plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful magazine business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

Overall, a well-written plan can help you make informed decisions, which can contribute to the long-term success of your magazine business.

How to get funding for your magazine business?

There are several ways to get funding for your magazine business, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

Small Business Administration (SBA) loan

Crowdfunding, angel investors.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available, check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

Where to find business plan writers for your magazine business?

There are many business plan writers available, but no one knows your business and ideas better than you, so we recommend you write your magazine business plan and outline your vision as you have in your mind.

What is the easiest way to write your magazine business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any magazine business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software .

About the Author

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Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Magazine Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Magazine Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your Magazine business plan.

We have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their Magazine businesses.

Below is a template to help you create each section of your Magazine business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Happy Trails Magazine is a startup magazine company located in New York City, New York. The company is founded by Lawrence MacGuire, who has experience in traveling and offering podcasts from around the world. Now, with the expertise of knowledge and business acumen, he has determined he can confidently start and effectively grow a successful magazine company. He believes his experience of strategic planning, marketing skills, financial capabilities, and wide and deep knowledge of traveling practices will provide everything needed for long-term growth and profitability.

Happy Trails Magazine will provide a comprehensive array of articles of interest for a wide variety of travel-loving customers. The Happy Trails Magazine will be the premiere travel magazine, providing services and products to each customer, while supporting the strategic goals of the company. Happy Trails Magazine will be the ultimate choice in tourist travel for customers to ensure that every need and desire of all travelers is fully and completely met.

Product Offering

The following are the services and products that Happy Trails Magazine will provide:

  • Unique and exclusive content creation
  • Experienced writers who provide superior journalism and reporting
  • Photography from around the world
  • Art and illustrations that support the travel articles
  • Special offers of travel and related products for publication subscribers
  • Online magazine offered in addition to hard copy publication
  • Fun quiz and explorer’s facts for readers
  • On-time delivery every month

Customer Focus

Adults within the New York City region. Customers who love to travel. Global customers who want to read about travel and enjoy excellent magazine articles. Advertisers who will purchase space and positions in the monthly magazine release. Collaborators who partner with Happy Trails Magazine to effectively market products and services.

Management Team

Happy Trails Magazine is owned and operated by Lawrence MacGuire. He recruited managers from his former place of employment at a nationally-known magazine company, including Derek Flanagan, as his Operations Manager, and Sherry Culver, as the Senior Administrative Manager.

Lawrence MacGuire is a graduate of Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where he earned a degree in the Art of Hospitality and Travel. He has been employed by a global resort chain with over 500 hotels for the past ten years.

Tracey Newthorn is a graduate of University of Ohio, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in business in the hospitality industry. She has spent the past two summer sessions in international travel and is an accomplished photographer. She will be the Artistic & Photographic Manager of Happy Trails Magazine.

Alex Hawkins, an experienced magazine editor, will be the Executive Manager & Senior Editor of the Happy Trails Magazine. His former position was as the Senior Manager of Horizons Over Hawaii Magazine for over 20 years. His experience with travel and journalism leads to the new position of executive management.

Success Factors

Happy Trails Magazine will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly-qualified team of Happy Trails Magazine
  • Comprehensive menu of accurate and complete travel-related stories, as well as multiple photographic demonstrations of places to visit and things to see.
  • Additional value added with each subscription via a number of special offers found in Happy Trails Magazine labeled, “For Subscribers Only!”
  • Outstanding photography and illustrations that highlight the beauty of world travel
  • Happy Trails Magazine offers the best pricing in town. Their pricing structure is the most cost effective compared to the competition.

Financial Highlights

Happy Trails Magazine is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its magazine. The funding will be dedicated toward securing the office space and purchasing office equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated toward three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for the print ads and marketing costs. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Office space build-out: $20,000
  • Office equipment, supplies, and materials: $10,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $150,000
  • Marketing costs: $10,000
  • Working capital: $10,000

The following graph outlines the financial projections for Happy Trails Magazine.

Happy Trails Magazine Pro Forma Projections

Company Overview

Who is happy trails magazine.

Happy Trails Magazine is a newly established, full-service consumer magazine published in New York City, New York. Happy Trails Magazine will be the most beautiful, consumer-relatable, and cost-effective choice for a global reading and subscribing community. Happy Trails Magazine will provide a comprehensive menu of editorial articles, In-Style pictorials, Go-To suggestions for hotel/travel bargains and special discounts for any reader to enjoy. Their full-service approach includes a comprehensive website with multiple gateways to information and related services.

  Happy Trails Magazine will be the premier travel magazine in the publications industry. Led by the team of experienced professionals, the magazine will entice travelers to explore the world, while advertisers and interested parties will enjoy purchasing ads, placing click through ads and offering specials throughout the hard copy and digital magazine. Happy Trails Magazine removes all headaches and issues of traveling globally and ensures all travel negatives are addressed and diminished, while delivering the best customer service.

Happy Trails Magazine History

Lawrence MacGuire is a graduate of Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where he earned a degree in the Art of Hospitality and Travel. He has been employed by a global resort chain with over 500 hotels for the past ten years. During his prior employment, he recognized that many of the world’s finest destinations have been passed over in favor of traditional, favored locations. After much research and industry information-gathering, he started the Happy Trails Magazine to appeal to youthful travelers and old alike as they traveled the world.

Since incorporation, Happy Trails Magazine has achieved the following milestones:

  • Registered magazine, Happy Trails Magazine, LLC to transact business in the state of New York.
  • Has a contract in place for a 10,000 square foot office at one of the midtown buildings
  • Reached out to numerous contacts to include Happy Trails as a source for advertising.
  • Began recruiting a staff of 3 and 2 office personnel to work at Happy Trails Magazine.

Happy Trails Magazine Services

The following will be the services and products the Happy Trails Magazine will provide:

Industry Analysis

The travel magazine industry is expected to grow over the next five years to over $24684 billion. The growth will be driven by an exponential interest in travel exhibited during the recent pandemic years, as most consumers were sequestered with no ability to travel. The industry is also expected to grow now as people begin to explore once again, looking for places off the beaten path. While travel costs remain high due to shipping and supply line issues and the economy, consumers find delight in exploring travel magazines and the pleasure of escape they offer.

Costs will likely be reduced as the process of production and print continue to fall due to technology advancements. The software that drives the consumer-provider relationships will also change, as most redundant or fairly simple administrative tasks will be given software solutions rather than handed over to a live publication agent.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

    Total population1,680,988100%
        20 to 24 years114,8726.8%
        25 to 34 years273,58816.3%
        35 to 44 years235,94614.0%
        45 to 54 years210,25612.5%
        55 to 59 years105,0576.2%
        60 to 64 years87,4845.2%
        65 to 74 years116,8787.0%
        75 to 84 years52,5243.1%

Customer Segmentation

Happy Trails Magazine will primarily target those young adults and adults who live within the New York City region. They will also target customers who love to travel, including global customers who want to read about travel and enjoy excellent magazine articles. Advertisers who will purchase space and positions in the monthly magazine release will be welcomed. Collaborators who partner with Happy Trails Magazine to effectively market products and services.

  • Young adults through seniors
  • Those who love to travel
  • Those who want to travel to exotic, almost unknown destinations
  • Those who enjoy viewing beautiful photography
  • Those who like to read magazine articles about travel
  • Advertisers and interested parties who want to sell through or collaborate with Happy Trails Magazine

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Happy Trails Magazine will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

Sunset Magazine

Sunset Magazine, started in 1953 by a married couple, Ernest and Columbine Trentom, who were experienced global travelers. They began the magazine in a home office and quickly built their subscriber base to over fifteen million at the height of popularity. In recent years, the popularity of Sunset Magazine has waned, due to the loss of advertisers and poor construction of the magazine during production. The subscriber base has moved to new, more trendy, travel accommodations and travel styles.

Sports Illuminated

Sports Illuminated was founded by Cissy Travers, an ardent sportswoman and enthusiast of global sports events. With distribution to over 10 million readers, Ms Travers maintains complete control of the magazine and related ventures, which include sporting goods sales, sports apparel sales and global sports items.

The magazine was founded in 2001, when Cissy Travers took a medium-grade local magazine in upstate New York, and began to manage the content within. During the following five years, she single handedly engaged sports writers of the highest caliber and photographers who traveled the world on behalf of the magazine to shoot pivotal sporting events. Since that time, the magazine has continued to grow as new sporting events are added globally every year.

Taft & Hanson

Taft & Hanson Magazine was established in 2003 by Rogert Taft and Renee Hanson, a couple who traveled throughout the United States in their luxury recreational vehicle. The magazine is dedicated to the ultra-expensive and luxurious recreational vehicles manufactured and on the roads of America, with each monthly edition highlighting both the features of the vehicles and the features of traveler’s retreats around the nation.

The magazine is published once each quarter and is available by subscription only. Each edition is priced at $125 per copy. Designed to entice readers to purchase new recreational vehicles as they are released from manufacturing, the magazine makes it’s return on investment by selling to manufacturers and consumers alike.

Rogert Taft and Renee Hanson travel extensively throughout the nation, each reporting and writing about various aspects of living the “luxurious recreational vehicle life,” and the accommodations in which they choose to stay, which is used by the magazine publishers as another form of revenue in advertising. The magazine has earned a five-star rating by the Travelers Trailers International and has a following of over 100,000 subscribers.

Competitive Advantage

Happy Trails Magazine will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Happy Trails Magazine will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Highly-qualified team of skilled employees who are able to provide a comprehensive travel experience via the magazine and website.
  • Additional value added with each subscription via a number of special offers found in Happy Trails Magazine labeled, “For Subscribers Only!”
  • Unbeatable pricing for customers; subscribers are offered the lowest pricing of any travel magazine on the market.

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for magazine is as follows:

Word of Mouth/Referrals

Happy Trails Magazine has built up an extensive list of contacts over the years by providing exceptional service and expertise to hospitality and lodging clients. The contacts and clients will follow them to this new company and help spread the word of Happy Trails Magazine.

Professional Associations and Networking

Trade Associations for travel and travel accommodations will be joined and actively pursued by the Happy Trails Magazine staff. Professional Networking in the New York City region will also be conducted to increase visibility and engage additional subscribers and advertisers.

Print Advertising

Limited print advertising will be offered within travel magazines and news periodicals. The bulk of the advertising will be found on the internet within various social network channels.

Website/SEO Marketing

Happy Trails Magazine will fully utilize their website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all the services and products that the magazine provides. The website will also list their contact information and list their top-rated travel spots and special discounts for subscribers. The website will engage in SEO marketing tactics so that anytime someone types in the Google or Bing search engine “travel magazine” or “travel reading near me,” magazine will be listed at the top of the search results.

The pricing of the magazine will be moderate and on par with competitors so customers feel they receive excellent value when purchasing their services.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for the Happy Trails Magazine. Operation Functions:

  • Happy Trails Magazine is owned and operated by Lawrence MacGuire. He recruited managers from his former place of employment at a nationally-known magazine company.
  • Lawrence MacGuire is a graduate of Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where he earned a degree in the Art of Hospitality and Travel. He has been employed by a global resort travel magazine affiliated with over 500 hotels for the past ten years.
  • Derek Flanagan will take on the position of Operations Manager, with a professional background of several years in management within the travel magazine world.
  • Tracey Newthorn is the Artistic & Photographic Manager of Happy Trails Magazine. She is a graduate of University of Ohio, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in business in the hospitality industry. She has spent the past two summer sessions in international travel and is an accomplished photographer.


Happy Trails Magazine will have the following milestones completed in the next six months.

  • 5/1/202X – Finalize contract to lease office space
  • 5/15/202X – Finalize personnel and staff employment contracts for the magazine
  • 6/1/202X – Finalize contracts for magazine advertisers
  • 6/15/202X – Begin networking at industry events
  • 6/22/202X – Begin moving into magazine office
  • 7/1/202X – magazine opens its doors for business

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for Happy Trails Magazine are the fees they will charge to subscribers for their services, in addition to charges they solicit from advertisers who place ads in their publications. .

The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff the magazine. The expenses will be the payroll cost, rent, utilities, office supplies, and marketing materials.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Happy Trails Magazine is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its travel magazine. The funding will be dedicated toward securing the office space and purchasing office equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated toward three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for the print ads and association memberships. The breakout of the funding is below:

Key Assumptions

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.

  • Number of Subscribers Per Month: 750
  • Number of Advertising Accounts Per Month: 50
  • Average Revenue per Month: $550,000
  • Office Lease per Year: $100,000

Financial Projections

Income statement.

FY 1FY 2FY 3FY 4FY 5
Total Revenues$360,000$793,728$875,006$964,606$1,063,382
Expenses & Costs
Cost of goods sold$64,800$142,871$157,501$173,629$191,409
Initial expenditure$10,000$0$0$0$0
Total Expenses & Costs$291,815$416,151$454,000$483,240$514,754
EBITDA$68,185 $377,577 $421,005 $481,366 $548,628
Depreciation$27,160$27,160 $27,160 $27,160 $27,160
EBIT$41,025 $350,417 $393,845$454,206$521,468
Interest$23,462$20,529 $17,596 $14,664 $11,731
PRETAX INCOME$17,563 $329,888 $376,249 $439,543 $509,737
Net Operating Loss$0$0$0$0$0
Use of Net Operating Loss$0$0$0$0$0
Taxable Income$17,563$329,888$376,249$439,543$509,737
Income Tax Expense$6,147$115,461$131,687$153,840$178,408
NET INCOME$11,416 $214,427 $244,562 $285,703 $331,329

Balance Sheet

FY 1FY 2FY 3FY 4FY 5
Accounts receivable$0$0$0$0$0
Total Current Assets$184,257$381,832$609,654$878,742$1,193,594
Fixed assets$180,950$180,950$180,950$180,950$180,950
Depreciation$27,160$54,320$81,480$108,640 $135,800
Net fixed assets$153,790 $126,630 $99,470 $72,310 $45,150
TOTAL ASSETS$338,047$508,462$709,124$951,052$1,238,744
Debt$315,831$270,713$225,594$180,475 $135,356
Accounts payable$10,800$11,906$13,125$14,469 $15,951
Total Liability$326,631 $282,618 $238,719 $194,944 $151,307
Share Capital$0$0$0$0$0
Retained earnings$11,416 $225,843 $470,405 $756,108$1,087,437
Total Equity$11,416$225,843$470,405$756,108$1,087,437
TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY$338,047$508,462$709,124$951,052$1,238,744

Cash Flow Statement

FY 1FY 2FY 3FY 4FY 5
Net Income (Loss)$11,416 $214,427 $244,562 $285,703$331,329
Change in working capital($19,200)($1,966)($2,167)($2,389)($2,634)
Depreciation$27,160 $27,160 $27,160 $27,160 $27,160
Net Cash Flow from Operations$19,376 $239,621 $269,554 $310,473 $355,855
Net Cash Flow from Investments($180,950)$0$0$0$0
Cash from equity$0$0$0$0$0
Cash from debt$315,831 ($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)
Net Cash Flow from Financing$315,831 ($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)
Net Cash Flow$154,257$194,502 $224,436 $265,355$310,736
Cash at Beginning of Period$0$154,257$348,760$573,195$838,550
Cash at End of Period$154,257$348,760$573,195$838,550$1,149,286

Magazine Business Plan FAQs

What is a magazine business plan.

A magazine business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your magazine business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections. You can easily complete your Magazine business plan using our Magazine Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Magazine Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of magazine businesses, some examples include: Entertainment magazine, Home and living magazine, Business magazine, Digital magazine, and Online magazine.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Magazine Business Plan?

Magazine businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

What are the Steps To Start a Magazine Business?

Starting a magazine business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster. 1. Develop A Magazine Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed magazine business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast. 2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your magazine business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your magazine business is in compliance with local laws. 3. Register Your Magazine Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your magazine business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your magazine business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 7. Acquire Necessary Magazine Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your magazine business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your magazine business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

Learn more about how to start a successful magazine business:

  • How to Start a Magazine Company - The World's Leading Business Plan Template Directory

Magazine Business Plan Template [Updated 2024]


Magazine Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Magazine business or expand your current Magazine business, you need a business plan.

The following Magazine business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Magazine business plan.

You can download our business plan template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Magazine business plan: I. Executive Summary II. Company Overview III. Industry Analysis IV. Customer Analysis V. Competitive Analysis VI. Marketing Plan VII. Operations Plan VIII. Management Team IX. Financial Plan

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Magazine Business Plan Home I. Executive Summary II. Company Overview III. Industry Analysis IV. Customer Analysis V. Competitive Analysis VI. Marketing Plan VII. Operations Plan VIII. Management Team IX. Financial Plan

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Your Magazine Business Plan: A Full Blueprint

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Over 37 million adults in the UK regularly read magazines. Whether online or on paper, the allure of perusing pages packed with interesting information is still going strong, 400 years since the first mag was published.

From baking to beauty and gardening to gossip, there’s a publication to match every hobby and to ignite many new interests.

With dozens to choose from on newsstands across the country, you might have decided that there’s one missing – yours.

If your dream is to launch a successful magazine , there’s a lot of work to do before you can enjoy soaring circulation figures.

Beyond the hours of preparation and lists of start-up costs, you’ll be entering a highly competitive market. And if your plans involve a printed version, be aware that annual numbers of printed magazines bought declined from 820.1 million in 2011 to 422.3 million in 2017.

But, if you find your niche, secure your finance and plan carefully, your editorial enterprise could be very lucrative.

Here we delve deeper into how to write the ideal. Follow it and soon you could be spotting people adding your magazine to their shopping trolley or happily devouring its contents on the train.

Why Do I Need A Business Plan For a Magazine?

business plan for a magazine

Like any business, launching a magazine requires a carefully-considered, professional approach.

Beyond filling the pages with compelling content precisely targeted at your readers, you’ll first and foremost be running a business. You’ll need more than an ounce of acumen to secure your subscription base .

Your job will require you to:

  • Recruit, train and engage staff
  • Sell ads, regularly and consistently
  • Persuade readers to take out a subscription and regularly part with their money
  • Maintain circulation figures to attract advertisers
  • Create and run an appealing website
  • Organise production and printing
  • Establish an efficient distribution system
  • Set up an exceptional customer service offering
  • Keep content fresh and engaging

At the heart of any successful start-up is a solid business plan. Your magazine business plan has to clearly set out your intentions for you, your team and your investors.

Read on to discover how to start your magazine adventure with the help of a well-structured and effective business plan.

Template Business Plan For a Magazine

business plan template

1. Executive Summary

Kick off your business plan with a concise but informative executive summary. This should feature the key top-line points about your business: its name, aims and mission statement along with a financial summary.

Industry-specific detail can include:

  • Both the name of your publishing company and the magazine(s)
  • Target readership and how you’ll attract them
  • Circulation targets for the first three years
  • Frequency of publication
  • Your magazine’s USP

Your mission statement should sum up your vision: focus on your audience and what your magazine will give to them.

Position the opportunity you’re taking advantage of, outlining the problem you’ve spotted and the solution you’ve devised. Will expert writers be sharing advice and insight? Will an online community provide a platform for exchanging ideas and tips?

From your executive summary, you can also extract juicy information to write an elevator pitch: your plans in a 60-second nutshell.

What would you tell a stranger in a lift about your business? What’s it called? Who’s it aimed at? What makes it unique? Aim to write a pitch that couldn’t apply to any other magazine on the market.

Perfecting this at an early stage will crystallise your vision. And, of course, allow you to spread the word about your magazine quickly and convincingly.

2. Objectives

Set yourself ambitious but achievable objectives right from the start. As well as giving you something concrete to aim for, sharing them will also provide ongoing accountability. When colleagues, friends and family know your targets, they’ll be keen to encourage you to strive for them.

So don’t just type them into a document and forget about them. Print them out in large fonts, stick them on your office wall, use them as your laptop and phone wallpaper: make them real.

And make them SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. You could even make them SMARTER: adding evaluated and reviewed to your initial criteria.

In your magazine business plan , you could include KPIs such as:

  • To raise £XX to cover initial publication costs and establish a cash reserve
  • To publish XX pages in issue one, rising to XX pages by issue four
  • To print XX copies of issue one, rising to XX copies of issue four
  • To increase the advertising rate card by XX% by the end of year one
  • To increase average number of ad pages sold from XX in issue one to XX in issue four
  • To have XX subscribers by the end of year one
  • To sign up XX subscribers to a regular payment plan, e.g. Direct Debit, by the end of year one

3. Market Analysis

To make an impact on the newsstands, you need to know – and understand – the competition. ask yourself the following:.

  • What titles are already out there? Who publishes them? Are they multi-nationals with megabucks or small start-ups?
  • How high, or low, is their circulation? How many ads do they feature? What kind of companies advertise – major brands or niche companies? How much do they charge? What proportion of advertisers pay the rate card and how many get a discount?
  • Do they publish online as well as in print? Do they have an app?
  • Are there already magazines based on a similar topic to yours? If so, is there room for another one? What will your USP be?

Alongside your rivals, you also need to research your target readers. Identifying them and getting under their skin is crucial to success.

So, define your audience as precisely as possible:

  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do?
  • How old are they?
  • What is their income?
  • What are their interests?
  • What qualifications do they have?
  • What magazines do they currently read?

From there, think about the size and potential of that group and how you can reach them. Then use this to inform your sales and marketing strategy.

4. Business Structure

business structure

Make sure to outline your business structure clearly. Are you operating as a limited company or a partnership? How many staff will your team consist of? What approach are you taking to staff welfare and engagement? Why will talented people want to work on your magazine?

Stress how your employees will add to your competitive advantage by focusing on their strengths and the breadth of the roles available.

Depending on the restrictions of your budget and the extent of your ambitions, your magazine could need:

  • CEO/Editor-in-chief
  • Office manager
  • Journalists and writers, probably with distinct specialisms
  • Sub-editors and proofreaders
  • Photographers
  • Graphic designers
  • Website manager
  • Sales and marketing manager
  • Subscriptions manager
  • Distribution manager
  • Customer service executives

As part of your business plan for a magazine , you can describe each of these roles and accompanying responsibilities in detail.

Highlight how your team will cover all bases to ensure high quality content, strong advertising revenue, a reliable distribution network and a loyal subscription base. Along with, of course, all the departments necessary to run a successful business: HR, accounts, customer service etc.

5. SWOT Analysis

swot analysis

Assessing the potential of your business, taking all criteria into consideration, will reassure prospective investors that you understand the challenges ahead.

The easiest way to do this is through a SWOT analysis: examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business that can impact on whether you sink or swim.

Share your strengths with confidence. Ensure that they position you as professional and prepared, ticking off the basics and beyond.

These could include the calibre of your writers, the award-winning portfolio of your chief photographer or your personal track record of running a profitable business.

Don’t be shy or overly-cautious. Recognising your weaknesses, and all start-ups have them, shows that you’ve spotted the potential pitfalls and are taking steps to address them.

Maybe you’re aware that your current funding isn’t sufficient to cover your ambitious marketing campaign or perhaps you’re concerned by a lack of suitable candidates during your recruitment process.

Whatever they are, turn your weaknesses around by detailing how you’re going to overcome them.


Showcase your dreams here: if you believe there’s a strong possibility of expanding your magazine brand into a book, an app or even a reader event, say so. Use this chance to express your passion for the project and inspire the same in others.

If you’ve already secured interest from advertisers, add it here. And if you’ve completed any market research, pick out the highlights that present the best opportunities for growth.

Be honest about threats. Demonstrate your understanding of the market and how it could jeopardise your future plans. Will the effects of Brexit deter advertisers? Could distribution costs spiral as you grow? Could you survive if a major publisher launched a rival title?

6. Sales and Marketing

Who came first, the reader or the advertiser? Neither can exist without the other. Both are vital to your success.

A comprehensive approach to marketing will make sure you secure sufficient income from each. Use your magazine business plan to outline what strategies you’ll be employing to achieve this.

For instance, maybe you’re recruiting a marketing team with an excellent industry track record. You’ll be encouraging them to hit their targets through ongoing training and incentives.

To initially attract readers, you could devise a direct mail campaign with sample content from your magazine. Accompanied by an enticing offer – try your first edition free – the responses will soon start to populate your customer database.

To spread the word to possible advertisers, introduce your title to companies large and small, ad agencies and, if relevant, public sector bodies. Hold events, send sample copies, gather feedback, offer deals and make your magazine memorable asap.

To establish your brand online, set up social media accounts and get the conversations about your magazine started.

Be thorough here. Your marketing will determine if your idea makes or breaks so have a clear vision early on about how it will work and what you want it to achieve.

financial planning

Like all new businesses, getting your enterprise off the ground requires detailed financial planning and management. You’ll need to cover off start-up costs, ongoing expenditure and income generation, sales, profit and loss, and cashflow forecasts , and your pricing strategy.

Alongside this, you need to outline the source of your funding, plus any shortfall you still need to secure.

At this stage, start-up costs should be looming large on your agenda. List them clearly in your business plan to demonstrate that you understand the financial commitment.

Your initial budget for the first three months will likely include:

  • Staff and/or freelance wages
  • Office space rental fees
  • Distribution costs, including vehicles
  • Printing costs
  • Equipment purchase/hire, e.g. computers, printers, phones and office furniture
  • Website design
  • Consultant fees
  • Advertising and marketing

Start-up costs will be lower if you’re planning an online-only publication but still need to be carefully researched and recorded.

Your appendix should include spreadsheets covering cashflow, profit and loss forecasts, and sales forecasts. Each should include projections for at least the first three years.

Of course these will be based largely on guesswork but provided they’re backed up by your research and accurately calculated, it gives an indication of what is achievable.

8. Conclusion

End your magazine business plan on a positive note. Recap on your aims and vision, focusing on your passion and commitment while highlighting that you have the knowledge, experience and dedication to make your business a success.

Be prepared and you’ll be one step closer to taking the helm of a magazine that enjoys impressive circulation, happy advertisers and a healthy profit.  

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Online Magazine Business Plan [Sample Template]

By: Author Tony Martins Ajaero

Home » Business Plans » Media Sector

Are you about starting a magazine publishing company ? If YES, here is a complete sample online magazine business plan template & feasibility study you can use for FREE .

There are several niches and loads of well – known magazines that are sold all over the world. Magazines are generally published on a regular schedule; it can be weekly or monthly or even quarterly and they usually contain a variety of content based on the market the magazine is designed for.

When it comes to generating incomes, magazine companies exploit the sale of their magazines in newsstands, from advertisement from stakeholders and of course from those who sign – on to prepaid subscriptions and when it comes to distributing magazines, most magazines publisher make use of the mailing system, bookshops, strategic news – stands, through registered vendors and selected pick – up locations et al.

There is no restriction to the numbers of publications house that can engage in magazines publications, sales and distribution. As a matter of fact, students can start their own magazines publications right from their campuses and distribute it within the campus community.

A Sample Online Magazine Business Plan Template

1. industry overview.

In the united states of America, a total number of 152 magazines closed shop In 2011 and also a total number of 82 magazines ceased operations in 2012 due to inability to make profits and of course generate enough money to continue publications.

In 2013, statistics has it that subscription levels for 22 out of the top 25 magazines in the United States of America dropped from 2012 to 2013. As a matter of fact, the only few magazines that experienced increase within the said period are Time magazine, Glamour magazine and ESPN magazine.

The United States’ magazine industry generates combined revenue of over 27.29 Billion U.S. dollars with magazine advertising alone generating over 15.2 Billion U.S. dollars.

History has it that a U.K. publication; The Gentleman’s Magazine which was first published in 1731, in London was the first ever general interest magazine to be published. It is on record that the oldest consumer magazine which was first published in 1739; The Scots Magazine is still in print till this days.

The print industry is currently experiencing some challenges; investment in magazines is experiencing decline. It is on record that there is a steady decline in total numbers of magazines that are sold in the United States daily. Statistics has it that in 1985, there were about 1,676 dailies in the United States but in 2011, the number dropped to 1,382 and of course it is still dropping.

It has been projected by market experts that the magazine industry will generate combined revenue of 16.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, which is over 4 billion U.S. dollars less than the combined revenue generated in 2011. It is also projected that corporate organizations who advertise in magazines will also cut their magazine advertising spending much less than their newspaper advertising spending.

The magazine industry is truly struggling to survive in the United States of America and in other countries of the world. A survey that was conducted revealed that in 2012, only about 3 percent of Americans stated that they regularly read magazines; and 9 percent stated that they read magazines sometimes.

It is good enough that the magazine industry is extremely well-organized in its data collection and presentation; which is why new publication firms who are interested in coming into the industry choose niche groups that attracts a wide range of readership.

Despite the fact that the magazine industry appears to be saturated in the United States, there is still a positive outlook for the industry especially when it comes to leveraging on the internet. People are encouraged to go into magazine publications because it is now easier to gain wider readership with the aid of the internet and couple with the fact that it will cost little or nothing to launch an online magazine publication.

2. Executive Summary

Boston Weekly®, Inc. is a new but standard magazine publishing and distribution company that will be based in Boston – Massachusetts, USA. Our niche as a magazine publishing company covers News, Entertainment, Business and Sport.

Our state of the art in – house printing press is located in a standard corner piece facility that is centrally located in the heart of Boston and few minutes drive to Harvard University Community.

We have put plans and robust distribution network in place to enable us effectively distribute our weekly magazine to key cities throughout the United States of America and also to the rest part of the world via our online platform and mobile apps.

Boston Weekly®, Inc. is established by the Massachusetts awarding winning journalist – Dr. Campbell Washington and other like mind investors. Dr. Washington has B.A. in English Language, Advance Diploma in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School.

He has robust experience in print journalism having worked for over 15 years with some of the leading magazine publishing companies in the United States of America prior to starting his own business. We are in the Magazine Publication and Distribution Industry to favorably compete with other leading brands in the industry such as Time Magazine, ESPN Magazine and New York Times et al.

Our corporate business goal is to be among the top 10 magazine publishing and distribution brand in the United States of America. As a company, we are willing to go the extra mile to invest in some of the finest professionals we can find and also we have set plans in place to setup a standard and start of the art printing press and distribution network.

Boston Weekly®, Inc. will at all times demonstrate her commitment to sustainability, both individually and as a firm, by actively participating in our communities and integrating sustainable business practices wherever possible.

We will ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by meeting our customers’ needs precisely and completely whenever they patronize our magazine either hardcopies or subscribing on our online portal. We will cultivate a working environment that provides a human, sustainable approach to earning a living, and living in our world, for our partners, employees and for our customers.

Our plan is to position Boston Weekly®, Inc. to become the leading brand in the magazine publishing and distribution industry in the whole of Massachusetts, and also to be amongst the top 10 magazine brand in the United States of America within the first 10 years of starting our business.

This might look too tall a dream but we are optimistic that this will surely come to pass because we have done our research and feasibility studies and we are enthusiastic and confident that Boston – Massachusetts is the right place to launch this type of business before spreading to other cities all across The United States of America.

3. Our Products and Services

At Boston Weekly®, Inc. we will ensure that we maximize all the services and products that are associated with a magazine publishing and distribution business. As part our strategy to create multiple sources of income in line with our core business concept, we will encourage our clients to subscribe to our magazines as against buying from the newsstands.

This is so because we are aware that it is easier to get huge discount from post office services as against transporting your magazines to newsstands that are scattered all around the United States. Another key factor that we will leverage on is to create a strong online presence and also to push our electronic magazine far and wide within the online community.

If we can successful gain appreciable numbers of online subscription and adverts, then we are likely not going to struggle to manage and finance your magazine publication company. Here are some of our products and services;

  • Distribution of Hardcopies Magazines Nationwide
  • Availability of online subscription for our e – Magazine
  • Create Large Platforms for Publicity and Advertising for both individual and corporate clients
  • Operate a standard printing press open to the general public
  • Run a consultancy and Advisory services as it relates to magazine publications and journalism.

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • To be amongst the top 10leading magazine publishing and distribution companies in the United States of America before our 10 th anniversary.
  • Our mission is to build a world – class magazine publishing and distribution business whose magazines can be find in all nooks and crannies of the United States of America; a magazine company with a very strong online presence with active subscribers from all over the world.

Our Business Structure

As part of our plan to build a standard Magazine Publishing and Distribution Company in Boston – Massachusetts, we have perfected plans to get it right from the beginning which is why we are going the extra mile to ensure that we have competent and hardworking employees to occupy all the available positions in our company.

The picture of the kind of Magazine Publishing and Distribution Company we intend building and the business goals we want to achieve is what informed the amount we are ready to pay for the best hands available in the Magazine Publishing and Distribution industry as long as they are willing and ready to work with us to achieve our business goals and objectives.

Below is the business structure that we will build Boston Weekly®, Inc.;

  • Chief Executive Officer / Editor in Chief

Human Resources and Admin Manager

  • Journalist / Content Creators / Photo Journalist

Graphic Artist

  • Sales and Marketing Officer
  • Accountants / Cashiers
  • Printing Press Workers (Printing Machine Operators)
  • Dispatch Riders and Van Drivers
  • Customer Service Executives

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Executive Officer / Editor in Chief:

  • Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results; developing incentives; developing a climate for offering information and opinions; providing educational opportunities.
  • Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
  • Responsible for fixing prices and signing business deals
  • Responsible for providing direction for the business
  • Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
  • Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of the magazine production and distribution process
  • Evaluates the success of the organization
  • Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
  • Updates job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities; reading professional publications; maintaining personal networks; participating in professional organizations.
  • Enhances department and organization reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests; exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments.
  • Defining job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carrying out staff induction for new team members
  • Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
  • Oversee the smooth running of the daily office and shop activities.

Journalist / Content Creator / PhotoJournalist

  • Conduct research, determine the number of pages, screen the content, stories, photographs, features, Ads, the style of the magazine in the magazine and the design and layout of Magazine et al.
  • Responsible for creating contents for our magazine
  • Assist the editorial team in editing contents
  • Responsible for conducting interviews.
  • Liaising with management to determine their requirement and budget
  • Responsible for developing concepts, graphics and layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and websites
  • Responsible for managing the magazine production process from typesetting through to design, print and production
  • Responsible for reviewing final layout and suggesting improvement if necessary
  • Determine size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy, and font style and size
  • Responsible for liaising with external printers on a regular basis to ensure deadlines are met and material is printed to the highest quality
  • Responsible for preparing drafts or material based on an agreement brief.
  • Research and advice the organization on style, genre and other trendy info as it relates to graphic design.

Sales and Marketing Manager

  • Manage external research and coordinate all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
  • Model demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer purchases
  • Identify, prioritize, and reach out to new partners, and business opportunities et al
  • Responsible for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
  • Develop, execute and evaluate new plans for expanding increase sales and distribution network
  • Document all customer contact and information
  • Represent the company in strategic meetings
  • Help increase sales and growth for the company

Print Press Workers (Printing Machine Operators)

  • Operate the printing machines
  • Responsible for carrying out all casual or unskilled jobs in the printing press
  • Responsible for packaging magazines meant for delivery
  • Handles any other duty as assigned by the line manager / supervisor

Accountant / Cashier

  • Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports; analyzes financial feasibility for the most complex proposed projects; conducts market research to forecast trends and business conditions.
  • Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting
  • Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Responsible for administering payrolls
  • Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for the organization
  • Serves as internal auditor for the organization

Distribution Van Drivers/ Dispatch Riders:

  • Responsible for distributing magazines across our distribution network and news stands
  • Delivers customer’s orders promptly (customers on subscription plans)
  • Runs errand for the organization
  • Any other duty as assigned by the sales and marketing executive

Client Service Executive

  • Responsible for taking orders from clients when the call or email the organization
  • Ensures that all contacts with customer (e-mail, walk-In center, SMS or phone) provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
  • Through interaction with customers on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
  • Manages administrative duties assigned by the shop manager in an effective and timely manner
  • Consistently stays abreast of any new information on Papilloma House of Pizzas products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to customers when they make enquiries
  • Responsible for cleaning the entire printing press facility at all times
  • Ensure that toiletries and supplies don’t run out of stock
  • Any other duty as assigned by the Human Resource and Admin manager.

6. SWOT Analysis

Due to our desire and drive for excellence when it comes to running a magazine publication and distribution company, we were able to engage some of the finest business consultants in Boston – Massachusetts to look through our business concept and together we were able to critically examine the prospect of the business to be sure we have what it takes to run a standard magazine publication and distribution company that can compete favorably compete with other leading brands in the industry such.

In view of that, we were able to take stock of our strengths, our weakness, the opportunities available to us and also the threats that we are likely going to be exposed to if we launch our magazine publication and distribution business in Boston – Massachusetts and even in the United States of America as a whole.

Here is a of what we got from the critically conducted SWOT Analysis for Boston Weekly®, Inc.;

Our core strength lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient, editors, journalist, and graphic designers; a team with excellent qualifications and experience various niche areas in the magazine and printing press industry.

Aside from the synergy that exist in our carefully selected team; the contents in our magazine and the quality of the magazine will be guided by best practices in the industry.

As a new magazine publishing and distribution company in Boston – Massachusetts, it might take some time for our organization to break into the market and gain acceptance in the already saturated and highly competitive magazine publishing and distribution industry; that is perhaps our major weakness. Another weakness is that we may not have the required cash to promote our business the way we would want to.

  • Opportunities:

The opportunities available to us are unlimited. Loads of people consume buys, subscribe and read magazine on a daily basis and all what we are going to do all we can to push our magazine to our target market. So also, there are loads of organizations and individual who would want to place paid adverts in magazines to promote their brands.

The possible threat and challenges that we are likely going to face when we start our own magazine publication business are the ability to consistently attract adverts from corporate organizations.

The truth is that there are several options when it comes to choosing advertising platforms hence most corporate organizations would rather go with trusted and tested platforms as against trying out new magazine that they aren’t sure can break into the market and gain prominence.

Another threat and challenges that we are likely going to be confronted with when we start our magazine publication business is to be able to effectively find a cheaper distribution options. Most magazine publications companies spend more when it comes to transporting their magazines to different newsstands scattered within the locations they intend selling their magazines.


  • Market Trends

In setting up a magazine publication company, you have two options; you either run a full magazine publication company with a printing press or you can contract the printing of your magazines to a standard and reliable printing press.

If you choose to choose to run the whole publication process within the same facility, it means that you would have to set – up a printing press with standard printing machines, binders, cutting machines et al. If you are considering starting a magazine publication company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of setting up the business and gaining readership but also on your distribution network.

The truth is that most magazines companies run into loss simply because they spend more in distributing their magazines to various newsstands across the country. It will pay you if you encourage your clients to subscribe to your magazines as against buying from the newsstands.

It is easier to get huge discount from post office services as against transporting your magazines to newsstands that are scattered all around the United States. Another key factor that you can leverage on is to create a strong online presence and also to push your electronic magazine far and wide within the online community.

As a magazine publisher, if you can successfully gain appreciable numbers of online subscription and adverts, then you are likely not going to struggle to manage and finance your magazine publication company and that is exactly what we plan to do.

8. Our Target Market

When it comes to news, entertainment and sports magazine, there is indeed a wide range of available customers (readership). In essence, our target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those who love to get the latest updates on news, entertainment and sports et al.

In view of that, we have conducted our market research and we have ideas of what our target market would be expecting from us. These are the groups of people we intend marketing our magazines to;

  • Corporate Executives
  • Government Officials
  • Business People
  • Celebrities
  • Military Men and Women
  • Sports Men and Women
  • Everyone who resides in our target locations.

Our Competitive Advantage

Beyond every reasonable doubt, the competition in the magazine industry is high but one thing is certain, if you are able to set a standard in the industry, you are sure going to get committed and faithful readers who would not mind paying annual subscription fee upfront.

Although you can experience less competitions if you choose to carve a niche for yourself and also exploit the internet and perhaps a book / reader’s club.

We are quite aware that to be highly competitive in the magazine publishing and distribution industry means that you are not only expected to be able to deliver consistent and robust contents at all time, but you must be able to meet set targets.

No one would want to continue to subscribe to your magazine if they are not sure they are likely going to get the magazines deliver to them as at when due.

Our competitive advantage lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient, editors, journalist, and graphic designers; a team with excellent qualifications and experience various niche areas in the magazine and printing press industry.

Lastly, all our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category (startups magazine publishing and distribution businesses in the United States) in the industry. It will enable them to be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our business aims and objectives.


  • Sources of Income

Boston Weekly®, Inc. is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the magazine publishing and distribution industry in the United States of America and we are going to go all the way to ensure that we do all it takes to achieve our corporate goal of generating enough income to run the business and pay our staff members as at when due.

Boston Weekly®, Inc. will generate income by offering the following products and services;

10. Sales Forecast

It is important to state that our sales forecast is based on the data gathered during our feasibility studies, market survey and also some of the assumptions readily available on the field. Below are the sales projections that we were able to come up with for the first three years of operations;

  • First Year-: $250,000
  • Second Year-: $450,000
  • Third Year-: $800,000

N.B : This projection is done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and the arrival of a competitor in same location as ours within the period stated above. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

We are mindful of the fact that there are stiffer competition in the magazine publishing and distribution industry; hence we have been able to hire some of the best marketing experts to handle our sales and marketing.

Our sales and marketing team will be recruited based on their vast experience in the magazine publishing and distribution industry and they will be trained on a regular basis so as to be well equipped to meet their targets and the overall business goal of Boston Weekly®, Inc.

Our goal is to grow Boston Weekly®, Inc. to become one of the top 10 magazine publishing and distribution company in the United States of America which is why we have mapped out strategy that will help us take advantage of the available market and grow to become a major force to reckon with not only in the United States of America but also in other parts of the world (online magazine).

Boston Weekly®, Inc. is set to make use of the following marketing and sales strategies to attract clients;

  • Introduce our magazine publishing and distribution company by sending introductory letters alongside copy of our magazine to corporate organizations, advertising agencies and key stake holders.
  • Promptness in bidding for advert contracts from the government and other cooperate organizations
  • Advertise our business cum magazine in relevant business TV stations, and radio station.
  • List our business cum magazine on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
  • Create different subscription packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still supply them with copies of our magazine
  • Leverage on the internet to promote the sale and distribution of our magazine
  • Engage direct marketing approach
  • Encourage word of mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied clients

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

We have been able to work with our in house brand and publicity consultants to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market.

We are set to become the number one choice for both corporate clients and individual clients in the whole of the United States and beyond which is why we have made provisions for effective publicity and advertisement of our magazine publishing and distribution company. Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote and advertise Boston Weekly®, Inc.;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook , twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote our services
  • Install our Bill Boards on strategic locations all around key cities in the United States of America
  • Engage in road show from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
  • Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact corporate organizations by calling them up and informing them of Boston Weekly®, Inc. and how they can subscribe
  • List our magazine publishing and distribution company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise our magazine publishing and distribution company in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site.
  • Ensure that all our staff members wear our branded shirts and all our vehicles and bikes are well branded with our company logo et al.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

When it comes to pricing for products such as magazine, there are no hard and fast rules; the price depends on the size and packaging. Generally, the prices for magazine and similar products like pamphlets, newspapers and journals et al are affordable hence there is no need to employ any detailed strategies when it comes to pricing.

In view of that, our prices will conform to what is obtainable in the industry but will ensure that within the first 6 to 12 months our magazine are sold a little bit below the average prices of various magazine brands in the United States of America.

We have put in place business strategies that will help us run on low profit margin for a period of 6 months; it is a way of encouraging people to buy into our brands.

  • Payment Options

At Boston Weekly®, Inc., our payment policy is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different people prefer different payment options as it suits them. Here are the payment options that will be available in every of our outlets;

  • Payment by cash
  • Payment via Point of Sale (POS) Machine
  • Payment via online bank transfer (online payment portal)
  • Payment via Mobile money

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will help us achieve our payment plans without any itches.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

When it comes to starting a standard magazine publishing and distribution business, one is expected to spend the bulk of the start – up capital on building a standard and well – equipped printing press. Aside from that, you are not expected to spend much except for purchasing distribution vans, paying of your employees and utility bills.

This is the key areas where we will spend our start – up capital;

  • The Total Fee for Registering the Business in Boston – Massachusetts – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services (software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $1,300.
  • Cost for hiring Business Consultant – $2,500.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  • Cost for payment of rent for 12 month at $1.76 per square feet in the total amount of $105,600.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500) and phone and utility deposits ($2,500).
  • The cost of printing the first set of your magazines – $50,000
  • The cost for distributing the magazines – $10,000
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $100,000
  • Cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
  • Cost of purchase of distribution vans – $50,000
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Sound System, tables and chairs et al) – $4,000.
  • The cost of Launching a Website – $600
  • The cost for our opening party – $10,000
  • Miscellaneous – $10,000

We would need an estimate of $500,000 to successfully set up our magazine publishing and distribution company in Boston – Massachusetts. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of the entire staff member for the first month of operation.

Generating Funding / Startup Capital for Boston Weekly®, Inc.

Boston Weekly®, Inc. is a business that is owned and financed by Dr. Campbell Washington and other like mind investors. They do not intend to welcome any external business partner, which is why he has decided to restrict the sourcing of the start – up capital to 3 major sources.

These are the areas we intend generating our start – up capital;

  • Generate part of the start – up capital from personal savings and sell of stocks
  • Source for soft loans from family members and friends
  • Apply for loan from my Bank

N.B: We have been able to generate about $100,000 (Personal savings $80,000 and soft loan from family members $20,000) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $400,000 from our bank. All the papers and document have been signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited with the amount.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

The future of a business lies in the numbers of loyal customers that they have the capacity and competence of the employees, their investment strategy and the business structure. If all of these factors are missing from a business (company), then it won’t be too long before the business close shop.

One of our major goals of starting Boston Weekly®, Inc. is to build a business that will survive off its own cash flow without the need for injecting finance from external sources once the business is officially running. We know that one of the ways of gaining approval and winning customers over is to sell our magazine a little bit cheaper than what is obtainable in the market and we are well prepared to survive on lower profit margin for a while.

Boston Weekly®, Inc. will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and re – training of our workforce is at the top burner of our business strategy.

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of three years or more as determined by the board of the organization. We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.

Check List / Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check:>Completed
  • Business Registration: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
  • Securing Point of Sales (POS) Machines: Completed
  • Opening Mobile Money Accounts: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Leasing of facility and construction of standard Bakery: In Progress
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
  • Generating capital from business partners: Completed
  • Applications for Loan from the bank: In Progress
  • Writing of Business Plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents and other relevant Legal Documents: In Progress
  • Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
  • Graphic Designs and Printing of Packaging Marketing / Promotional Materials: In Progress
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of the Needed furniture, racks, shelves, computers, electronic appliances, office appliances and CCTV: In progress
  • Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business both online and around the community: In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement (License): Secured
  • Opening party / launching party planning: In Progress
  • Establishing business relationship with vendors – wholesale suppliers / merchants (papers, and inks et al): In Progress
  • Purchase of delivery vans and bikes: Completed

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Magazine Publishing Business Plan Sample

Published May.08, 2018

Updated Apr.23, 2024

By: Jakub Babkins

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Magazine Publishing Business Plan Sample

Table of Content

Do you want to start magazine publishing business?

Do you want to start a magazine publishing business? Although this business requires a lot of initial capital, the rate of return which it yields on investment is extremely high. Magazine companies generate incomes from various sources such as from the advertisements which are featured in them, from the people who sign in online, and of course, from their sales in newsstands. But starting a magazine isn’t an easy job and you will have to effectively plan everything. In the United States, 9 out of 10 magazine businesses fail due to poor planning. That’s why before you consider how to start your own magazine , you will have to prepare a comprehensive business plan. If you are wondering how to write one, here we are providing you the business plan of a magazine publishing business startup named ‘The Reader Monthly’.

Executive Summary

2.1 the business.

The Reader Monthly will be a lifestyle magazine owned by Martha Martin, a passionate writer. The company’s main office will be located in Dallas.

2.2 Management

The success of a startup heavily depends on its staff and management that’s why Martha planned it before considering how to start a magazine business on your own . The main management of the company will comprise of sales executives, graphic artists, and journalists. The staff will be hired one month before the launch of startup and will be trained by Martha.

2.3 Customers

We will target the young adults, adults and senior citizens of the United States. Our readers can read our magazine either in printed form or in digital form on any device.

2.4 Business Target

Our business targets, as outlined by our publishing company business plan , are as follows:

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - 3 Years Profit Forecast

Company Summary

3.1 company owner.

The Reader Monthly will be owned by Martha Martin, a passionate writer. Martha has been associated with some of the biggest international magazines including TIME and PEOPLE for more than 13 years.

3.2 Why the Business is being started

The business is being started due to two reasons. The first one is to make profits in this industry. The second one is Martha’s passion for writing and her desire to add something better to the society. Martha herself described the reason for starting her venture in the book launch ceremony of her latest book The Dying Angel as, “ starting my own magazine is something I am born for.”

3.3 How the Business will be started

The company will be started in an abandoned press office in Dallas which ceased to function a few months before. The company will initially procure following things for the startup.

  • Office furniture including filing cabinets, work desks, roundtables, couches and chairs for the meeting area
  • Computers with color printers and scanners
  • Press machines
  • Graphic designing software including Illustrator, Freehand, and Photoshop
  • A strong internet connection and office telecom systems
  • Assorted office stationary and brochures

The financial experts have forecasted following costs for the startup:

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Startup Cost

The detailed startup requirements are given below:

Research and Development$32,750
Expensed Equipment$32,750
Start-up Assets$220,875
Cash Required$332,500
Start-up Inventory$32,625
Other Current Assets$232,500
Long-term Assets$235,000
Total Requirements$245,000
Start-up Expenses to Fund$151,875
Start-up Assets to Fund$123,000
Non-cash Assets from Start-up$18,750
Cash Requirements from Start-up$0
Additional Cash Raised$18,750
Cash Balance on Starting Date$21,875
Liabilities and Capital$0
Current Borrowing$0
Long-term Liabilities$0
Accounts Payable (Outstanding Bills)$0
Other Current Liabilities (interest-free)$0
Planned Investment$620,125
Investor 1$0
Investor 2$0
Additional Investment Requirement$0
Loss at Start-up (Start-up Expenses)$313,125
Total Funding$255,000

Services for customers

Before you start a publishing business or even think about how to start a publishing business , you must decide what type of magazine will you be publishing and which niches will it cover. You must also plan what other services for business will you offer, for instance, sending magazines to subscribers by mail. The Reader Monthly will be a lifestyle magazine but it will also contain a few sections featuring health, entertainment, and technology. We will offer following services to our customers/readers:

  • Magazine Retail Sales: Our readers can get our latest magazines from any newsstand or bookshops located across the United States. Retail sales will be the biggest generator of our revenue in our annual sales from the magazine readers.
  • Magazine Subscription: Our readers can also subscribe us to get the latest magazine delivered to their doorstep in printed form.
  • Magazine Online Subscription: Our readers can also subscribe us to get a copy of the electronic magazine which can be read on any electronic device.
  • Advertisements: We will offer advertisement services to the various companies and businesses located across the United States. Advertisements will be our biggest source of revenue.

Marketing Analysis of magazine publishing business

The most important component of successful magazines business plan is its accurate marketing analysis that’s why Martha acquired the services of marketing experts to help her through this phase. It is only after this stage that a good magazine business plan could have been developed. If you are starting a magazine on a smaller scale, say an online magazine, you can just take help from this magazine business plan sample or the other magazine business plans available online. Marketing analysis is an extremely important component of all publishing business plans , therefore, it must be considered before starting a magazine business plan .

5.1 Market Trends

The American magazine industry contributes $28 billion in revenue every year and the magazine advertising are alone responsible for generating more than $15.2 billion. There are more than 21,000 publishing businesses in the United States that employ more than 117,000 people across the country. However, the magazine industry declined rapidly with the increasing popularity of the internet and the smartphones which completely eliminated the need for printed magazines. The industry nowadays is truly struggling for surviving in America as well as in other countries. A 2012 survey revealed that only 3 percent of Americans read magazines on a regular basis. Statistics has it that in 1985, there were more than 1,676 dailies in America but in 2011, the number dropped to below 1,400 and is still dropping. While the popularity of printed magazines keeps falling, people are paying more attention to electronic magazines which can be read on any device like laptops, mobile phones, kindles. You also need to create a magazine in a mobile application that will allow users to quickly learn about the release of new materials, but for this, you will have to write a business plan for mobile applications . After identifying these trends, it is clearly evident that it is not easy for a startup to survive in the magazine industry unless it is properly planned and adds value to its readers.

5.2 Marketing Segmentation

It is very important to analyze the market segmentation of the readers which will be buying your magazine because a successful and efficient magazine marketing plan can only be developed after we completely know our potential customers. Our experts have identified the following type of audience which we will be targeting:

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Marketing Segmentation

The detailed marketing segmentation of our target audience is as follows:

5.2.1 Young Adults:

Our first target group will be the young adults in the United States who are between 18 to 25 years of age. This group mostly comprises of college or university students who like to read magazines in their free time. According to a recent survey by Statista, young adults read more magazines than any other age group in the United States that’s why this group will have the biggest contribution in our revenue from the magazine’s sales.

5.2.2 Adults:

Our second target group comprises of adults from 25 to 60 years of age. These people lead a busy life due to their employment and other engagements that’s why they don’t read as many magazines as the young adults or the senior citizens.

5.2.3 Senior Citizens:

Our third group comprises of senior citizens aged above 60. These people are usually retired and have a lot of spare time that’s why they also read magazines. The detailed market analysis of our potential customers is given in the following table:

Potential CustomersGrowth
Senior Citizens35%11,43313,34416,55318,74520,54513.43%
Young Adults45%22,33432,34443,66552,54466,43210.00%

5.3 Business Target

We aim to see ourselves among the top ten lifestyle magazines of the United States within next six years of our launch. Our main business targets to be achieved as milestones over the course of next three years are as follows:

  • To achieve the net profit margin of $10k per month by the end of the first year, $15k per month by the end of the second year, and $25k per month by the end of the third year
  • To balance the initial cost of the startup with earned profits by the end of the first year
  • To have around 99,000 subscribers through direct sampling and marketing by the end of the first year

5.4 Product Pricing

Our pricing strategy is as follows:

  • Single issue: $0.65 per issue
  • Yearly print subscription: $7.0 per 12 issues
  • Yearly e-magazine subscription: $1.49 per 12 e-issues

We have strategically priced our e-magazines in extremely cheaper range due to two reasons. Most of the people prefer electronic magazines to print magazines, and it is costlier to send print magazines to the readers as compared to providing them the digital ones.

Sales strategy is also an important component of an effective magazine business plan so make sure to plan it before you consider how to start a magazine business .

6.1 Competitive Analysis

We have a really tough competition because we will be competing with magazines some of which have been around for decades. Our biggest competitors are US Weekly, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Harper’s BAZAAR and GQ. Our competitive advantage will be our lower prices combined with quality content which will be no less than that of the top magazines.

6.2 Sales Strategy

After carrying out a detailed analysis, our experts came up with the following brilliant ideas to advertise and sell ourselves.

  • Google search ranking is one of the most important factors in deciding the success of online magazines, that’s why we will put special emphasis on it. We would do our best to get higher rankings in Google search results.
  • We will give away 3 free magazines copies to our readers upon subscription.
  • We will carry out a large-scale social media campaign and will interact with our readers to promote their interest.

6.3 Sales Monthly

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Sales Monthly

6.4 Sales Yearly

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Sales Yearly

6.5 Sales Forecast

Our forecasted sales on a yearly basis are summarized in the following column charts:

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Unit Sales

The detailed information about sales forecast is given in the following table:

Unit Sales
Magazine Retail Sales802,370815,430823,540
Magazine Online Subscription539,3207702301,002,310
Magazine Subscription265,450322,390393,320
Unit PricesYear 1Year 2Year 3
Magazine Retail Sales$0.65$0.70$0.75
Magazine Online Subscription$1.49$1.79$1.99
Magazine Subscription$7.00$7.50$8.00
Magazine Retail Sales$120,050$194,500$268,500
Magazine Online Subscription$50,110$71,600$93,000
Magazine Subscription$139,350$194,600$249,850
Direct Unit CostsYear 1Year 2Year 3
Magazine Retail Sales$0.40$0.45$0.50
Magazine Online Subscription$0.30$0.35$0.40
Magazine Subscription$3.00$3.50$4.00
Direct Cost of Sales   
Magazine Retail Sales$66,600$119,900$173,200
Magazine Online Subscription$17,900$35,000$52,100
Magazine Subscription$19,400$67,600$115,800
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales$1,294,100$1,699,400$2,104,700

Personnel plan

Personnel plan, like all other plans, is an important component of an effective business plan so it must be planned before you think about how to start my own magazine .

7.1 Company Staff

Martha will act as the Chief Editor of the magazine and will initially hire following people:

  • 1 Accountant for maintaining financial and other records
  • 2 Sales Executives responsible for marketing and discovering new ventures
  • 6 Graphic Artists for designing the magazines
  • 10 Journalists for creating the content for the magazines
  • 4 Technical Assistants for handling the company’s web and social media pages
  • 20 Print Press Workers for publishing the magazine
  • 10 Distributors for distributing the magazines to various outlets across the United States

7.2 Average Salary of Employees

Sales Executives$45,000$50,000$55,000
Graphic Artists$410,000$440,000$480,000
Technical Assistants$208,000$225,000$322,000
Print Press Workers$680,000$720,000$760,000
Total Salaries$750,000$827,000$914,000

Financial Plan

As the last step for preparing a magazine publishing business plan , you have to prepare a detailed financial plan. The financial plan should craft a detailed map of all the expenses needed for the startup and how these expenses will be met by the earned profits. It is recommended that you hire a financial expert for guiding you through all financial aspects needed for starting a magazine business .

8.1 Important Assumptions

Plan Month123
Current Interest Rate10.00%11.00%12.00%
Long-term Interest Rate10.00%10.00%10.00%
Tax Rate26.42%27.76%28.12%

8.2 Brake-even Analysis

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Brake-even Analysis

Monthly Units Break-even5530
Monthly Revenue Break-even$159,740
Average Per-Unit Revenue$260.87
Average Per-Unit Variable Cost$0.89
Estimated Monthly Fixed Cost$196,410

8.3 Projected Profit and Loss

Direct Cost of Sales$15,100$19,153$23,206
Gross Margin$293,969$366,781$439,593
Gross Margin %94.98%94.72%94.46%
Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses$1,850$2,000$2,150
Leased Equipment$0$0$0
Payroll Taxes$34,510$40,726$46,942
Total Operating Expenses$188,766$220,744$252,722
Profit Before Interest and Taxes$105,205$146,040$186,875
Interest Expense$0$0$0
Taxes Incurred$26,838$37,315$47,792
Net Profit$78,367$108,725$139,083
Net Profit/Sales30.00%39.32%48.64%

8.3.1 Profit Monthly

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Profit Monthly

8.3.2 Profit Yearly

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Profit Yearly

8.3.3 Gross Margin Monthly

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Gross Margin Monthly

8.3.4 Gross Margin Yearly

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Gross Margin Yearly

8.4 Projected Cash Flow

Magazine Publishing Business Plan - Projected Cash Flow

Cash Received
Cash from Operations   
Cash Sales$40,124$45,046$50,068
Cash from Receivables$7,023$8,610$9,297
Additional Cash Received   
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Received$0$0$0
New Current Borrowing$0$0$0
New Other Liabilities (interest-free)$0$0$0
New Long-term Liabilities$0$0$0
Sales of Other Current Assets$0$0$0
Sales of Long-term Assets$0$0$0
New Investment Received$0$0$0
ExpendituresYear 1Year 2Year 3
Expenditures from Operations   
Cash Spending$21,647$24,204$26,951
Bill Payments$13,539$15,385$170,631
Additional Cash Spent   
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out$0$0$0
Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing$0$0$0
Other Liabilities Principal Repayment$0$0$0
Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment$0$0$0
Purchase Other Current Assets$0$0$0
Purchase Long-term Assets$0$0$0
Net Cash Flow$11,551$13,167$15,683
Cash Balance$21,823$22,381$28,239

8.5 Projected Balance Sheet

Current Assets   
Accounts Receivable$12,613$14,493$16,373
Other Current Assets$1,000$1,000$1,000
Long-term Assets   
Long-term Assets$10,000$10,000$10,000
Accumulated Depreciation$12,420$14,490$16,560
Liabilities and CapitalYear 1Year 2Year 3
Current Liabilities   
Accounts Payable$9,482$10,792$12,102
Current Borrowing$0$0$0
Other Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Long-term Liabilities$0$0$0
Paid-in Capital$30,000$30,000$30,000
Retained Earnings$48,651$72,636$96,621
Net Worth$182,060$226,240$270,420

8.6 Business Ratios

Sales Growth4.35%30.82%63.29%4.00%
Percent of Total Assets    
Accounts Receivable5.61%4.71%3.81%9.70%
Other Current Assets1.75%2.02%2.29%27.40%
Total Current Assets138.53%150.99%163.45%54.60%
Long-term Assets-9.47%-21.01%-32.55%58.40%
Current Liabilities4.68%3.04%2.76%27.30%
Long-term Liabilities0.00%0.00%0.00%25.80%
Total Liabilities4.68%3.04%2.76%54.10%
Percent of Sales    
Gross Margin94.18%93.85%93.52%0.00%
Selling, General & Administrative Expenses74.29%71.83%69.37%65.20%
Advertising Expenses2.06%1.11%0.28%1.40%
Profit Before Interest and Taxes26.47%29.30%32.13%2.86%
Main Ratios    
Total Debt to Total Assets2.68%1.04%0.76%67.10%
Pre-tax Return on Net Worth66.83%71.26%75.69%4.40%
Pre-tax Return on Assets64.88%69.75%74.62%9.00%
Additional RatiosYear 1Year 2Year 3 
Net Profit Margin19.20%21.16%23.12%N.A.
Return on Equity47.79%50.53%53.27%N.A.
Activity Ratios    
Accounts Receivable Turnover4.564.564.56N.A.
Collection Days9299106N.A.
Inventory Turnover19.722.5525.4N.A.
Accounts Payable Turnover14.1714.6715.17N.A.
Payment Days272727N.A.
Total Asset Turnover1.841.551.26N.A.
Debt Ratios    
Debt to Net Worth0-0.02-0.04N.A.
Current Liab. to Liab.111N.A.
Liquidity Ratios    
Net Working Capital$120,943$140,664$160,385N.A.
Interest Coverage000N.A.
Additional Ratios    
Assets to Sales0.450.480.51N.A.
Current Debt/Total Assets4%3%2%N.A.
Acid Test23.6627.0130.36N.A.
Sales/Net Worth1.68=”13%”>1.290.9N.A.
Dividend Payout000N.A.

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How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

Katherine Haan

Updated: Apr 7, 2024, 1:44pm

How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

Before you begin: get in the right mindset, 1. determine your business concept, 2. research your competitors and market, 3. create your business plan, 4. choose your business structure, 5. register your business and get licenses, 6. get your finances in order, 7. fund your business, 8. apply for business insurance, 9. get the right business tools, 10. market your business, 11. scale your business, what are the best states to start a business, bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Starting a business is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have. But where do you begin? There are several ways to approach creating a business, along with many important considerations. To help take the guesswork out of the process and improve your chances of success, follow our comprehensive guide on how to start a business. We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from defining your business idea to registering, launching and growing your business.

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The public often hears about overnight successes because they make for a great headline. However, it’s rarely that simple—they don’t see the years of dreaming, building and positioning before a big public launch. For this reason, remember to focus on your business journey and don’t measure your success against someone else’s.

Consistency Is Key

New business owners tend to feed off their motivation initially but get frustrated when that motivation wanes. This is why it’s essential to create habits and follow routines that power you through when motivation goes away.

Take the Next Step

Some business owners dive in headfirst without looking and make things up as they go along. Then, there are business owners who stay stuck in analysis paralysis and never start. Perhaps you’re a mixture of the two—and that’s right where you need to be. The best way to accomplish any business or personal goal is to write out every possible step it takes to achieve the goal. Then, order those steps by what needs to happen first. Some steps may take minutes while others take a long time. The point is to always take the next step.

Most business advice tells you to monetize what you love, but it misses two other very important elements: it needs to be profitable and something you’re good at. For example, you may love music, but how viable is your business idea if you’re not a great singer or songwriter? Maybe you love making soap and want to open a soap shop in your small town that already has three close by—it won’t be easy to corner the market when you’re creating the same product as other nearby stores.

If you don’t have a firm idea of what your business will entail, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What do you hate to do?
  • Can you think of something that would make those things easier?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do others come to you for advice about?
  • If you were given ten minutes to give a five-minute speech on any topic, what would it be?
  • What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but lacked resources for?

These questions can lead you to an idea for your business. If you already have an idea, they might help you expand it. Once you have your idea, measure it against whether you’re good at it and if it’s profitable.

Your business idea also doesn’t have to be the next Scrub Daddy or Squatty Potty. Instead, you can take an existing product and improve upon it. You can also sell a digital product so there’s little overhead.

What Kind of Business Should You Start?

Before you choose the type of business to start, there are some key things to consider:

  • What type of funding do you have?
  • How much time do you have to invest in your business?
  • Do you prefer to work from home or at an office or workshop?
  • What interests and passions do you have?
  • Can you sell information (such as a course), rather than a product?
  • What skills or expertise do you have?
  • How fast do you need to scale your business?
  • What kind of support do you have to start your business?
  • Are you partnering with someone else?
  • Does the franchise model make more sense to you?

Consider Popular Business Ideas

Not sure what business to start? Consider one of these popular business ideas:

  • Start a Franchise
  • Start a Blog
  • Start an Online Store
  • Start a Dropshipping Business
  • Start a Cleaning Business
  • Start a Bookkeeping Business
  • Start a Clothing Business
  • Start a Landscaping Business
  • Start a Consulting Business
  • Start a Photography Business
  • Start a Vending Machine Business

Most entrepreneurs spend more time on their products than they do getting to know the competition. If you ever apply for outside funding, the potential lender or partner wants to know: what sets you (or your business idea) apart? If market analysis indicates your product or service is saturated in your area, see if you can think of a different approach. Take housekeeping, for example—rather than general cleaning services, you might specialize in homes with pets or focus on garage cleanups.

Primary Research

The first stage of any competition study is primary research, which entails obtaining data directly from potential customers rather than basing your conclusions on past data. You can use questionnaires, surveys and interviews to learn what consumers want. Surveying friends and family isn’t recommended unless they’re your target market. People who say they’d buy something and people who do are very different. The last thing you want is to take so much stock in what they say, create the product and flop when you try to sell it because all of the people who said they’d buy it don’t because the product isn’t something they’d buy.

Secondary Research

Utilize existing sources of information, such as census data, to gather information when you do secondary research. The current data may be studied, compiled and analyzed in various ways that are appropriate for your needs but it may not be as detailed as primary research.

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Conducting a SWOT analysis allows you to look at the facts about how your product or idea might perform if taken to market, and it can also help you make decisions about the direction of your idea. Your business idea might have some weaknesses that you hadn’t considered or there may be some opportunities to improve on a competitor’s product.

magazine business plan example

Asking pertinent questions during a SWOT analysis can help you identify and address weaknesses before they tank your new business.

A business plan is a dynamic document that serves as a roadmap for establishing a new business. This document makes it simple for potential investors, financial institutions and company management to understand and absorb. Even if you intend to self-finance, a business plan can help you flesh out your idea and spot potential problems. When writing a well-rounded business plan, include the following sections:

  • Executive summary: The executive summary should be the first item in the business plan, but it should be written last. It describes the proposed new business and highlights the goals of the company and the methods to achieve them.
  • Company description: The company description covers what problems your product or service solves and why your business or idea is best. For example, maybe your background is in molecular engineering, and you’ve used that background to create a new type of athletic wear—you have the proper credentials to make the best material.
  • Market analysis: This section of the business plan analyzes how well a company is positioned against its competitors. The market analysis should include target market, segmentation analysis, market size, growth rate, trends and a competitive environment assessment.
  • Organization and structure: Write about the type of business organization you expect, what risk management strategies you propose and who will staff the management team. What are their qualifications? Will your business be a single-member limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation ?
  • Mission and goals: This section should contain a brief mission statement and detail what the business wishes to accomplish and the steps to get there. These goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, action-orientated, realistic and time-bound).
  • Products or services: This section describes how your business will operate. It includes what products you’ll offer to consumers at the beginning of the business, how they compare to existing competitors, how much your products cost, who will be responsible for creating the products, how you’ll source materials and how much they cost to make.
  • Background summary: This portion of the business plan is the most time-consuming to write. Compile and summarize any data, articles and research studies on trends that could positively and negatively affect your business or industry.
  • Marketing plan: The marketing plan identifies the characteristics of your product or service, summarizes the SWOT analysis and analyzes competitors. It also discusses how you’ll promote your business, how much money will be spent on marketing and how long the campaign is expected to last.
  • Financial plan: The financial plan is perhaps the core of the business plan because, without money, the business will not move forward. Include a proposed budget in your financial plan along with projected financial statements, such as an income statement, a balance sheet and a statement of cash flows. Usually, five years of projected financial statements are acceptable. This section is also where you should include your funding request if you’re looking for outside funding.

Learn more: Download our free simple business plan template .

Come Up With an Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is important for any business that is seeking funding because it outlines how you’ll sell the company or transfer ownership if you decide to retire or move on to other projects. An exit strategy also allows you to get the most value out of your business when it’s time to sell. There are a few different options for exiting a business, and the best option for you depends on your goals and circumstances.

The most common exit strategies are:

  • Selling the business to another party
  • Passing the business down to family members
  • Liquidating the business assets
  • Closing the doors and walking away

Develop a Scalable Business Model

As your small business grows, it’s important to have a scalable business model so that you can accommodate additional customers without incurring additional costs. A scalable business model is one that can be replicated easily to serve more customers without a significant increase in expenses.

Some common scalable business models are:

  • Subscription-based businesses
  • Businesses that sell digital products
  • Franchise businesses
  • Network marketing businesses

Start Planning for Taxes

One of the most important things to do when starting a small business is to start planning for taxes. Taxes can be complex, and there are several different types of taxes you may be liable for, including income tax, self-employment tax, sales tax and property tax. Depending on the type of business you’re operating, you may also be required to pay other taxes, such as payroll tax or unemployment tax.

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When structuring your business, it’s essential to consider how each structure impacts the amount of taxes you owe, daily operations and whether your personal assets are at risk.

An LLC limits your personal liability for business debts. LLCs can be owned by one or more people or companies and must include a registered agent . These owners are referred to as members.

  • LLCs offer liability protection for the owners
  • They’re one of the easiest business entities to set up
  • You can have a single-member LLC
  • You may be required to file additional paperwork with your state on a regular basis
  • LLCs can’t issue stock
  • You’ll need to pay annual filing fees to your state

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

An LLP is similar to an LLC but is typically used for licensed business professionals such as an attorney or accountant. These arrangements require a partnership agreement.

  • Partners have limited liability for the debts and actions of the LLP
  • LLPs are easy to form and don’t require much paperwork
  • There’s no limit to the number of partners in an LLP
  • Partners are required to actively take part in the business
  • LLPs can’t issue stock
  • All partners are personally liable for any malpractice claims against the business

Sole Proprietorship

If you start a solo business, you might consider a sole proprietorship . The company and the owner, for legal and tax purposes, are considered the same. The business owner assumes liability for the business. So, if the business fails, the owner is personally and financially responsible for all business debts.

  • Sole proprietorships are easy to form
  • There’s no need to file additional paperwork with your state
  • You’re in complete control of the business
  • You’re personally liable for all business debts
  • It can be difficult to raise money for a sole proprietorship
  • The business may have a limited lifespan


A corporation limits your personal liability for business debts just as an LLC does. A corporation can be taxed as a C corporation (C-corp) or an S corporation (S-corp). S-corp status offers pass-through taxation to small corporations that meet certain IRS requirements. Larger companies and startups hoping to attract venture capital are usually taxed as C-corps.

  • Corporations offer liability protection for the owners
  • The life span of a corporation is not limited
  • A corporation can have an unlimited number of shareholders
  • Corporations are subject to double taxation
  • They’re more expensive and complicated to set up than other business structures
  • The shareholders may have limited liability

Before you decide on a business structure, discuss your situation with a small business accountant and possibly an attorney, as each business type has different tax treatments that could affect your bottom line.

Helpful Resources

  • How To Set Up an LLC in 7 Steps
  • How To Start a Sole Proprietorship
  • How To Start a Corporation
  • How To Start a Nonprofit
  • How To Start a 501(c)(3)

There are several legal issues to address when starting a business after choosing the business structure. The following is a good checklist of items to consider when establishing your business:

Choose Your Business Name

Make it memorable but not too difficult. Choose the same domain name, if available, to establish your internet presence. A business name cannot be the same as another registered company in your state, nor can it infringe on another trademark or service mark that is already registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Business Name vs. DBA

There are business names, and then there are fictitious business names known as “Doing Business As” or DBA. You may need to file a DBA if you’re operating under a name that’s different from the legal name of your business. For example, “Mike’s Bike Shop” is doing business as “Mike’s Bikes.” The legal name of the business is “Mike’s Bike Shop,” and “Mike’s Bikes” is the DBA.

You may need to file a DBA with your state, county or city government offices. The benefits of a DBA include:

  • It can help you open a business bank account under your business name
  • A DBA can be used as a “trade name” to brand your products or services
  • A DBA can be used to get a business license

Register Your Business and Obtain an EIN

You’ll officially create a corporation, LLC or other business entity by filing forms with your state’s business agency―usually the Secretary of State. As part of this process, you’ll need to choose a registered agent to accept legal documents on behalf of your business. You’ll also pay a filing fee. The state will send you a certificate that you can use to apply for licenses, a tax identification number (TIN) and business bank accounts.

Next, apply for an employer identification number (EIN) . All businesses, other than sole proprietorships with no employees, must have a federal employer identification number. Submit your application to the IRS and you’ll typically receive your number in minutes.

Get Appropriate Licenses and Permits

Legal requirements are determined by your industry and jurisdiction. Most businesses need a mixture of local, state and federal licenses to operate. Check with your local government office (and even an attorney) for licensing information tailored to your area.

  • Best LLC Services
  • How To Register a Business Name
  • How To Register a DBA
  • How To Get an EIN for an LLC
  • How To Get a Business License

Start an LLC Online Today With ZenBusiness

Click on the state below to get started.

Open a Business Bank Account

Keep your business and personal finances separate. Here’s how to choose a business checking account —and why separate business accounts are essential. When you open a business bank account, you’ll need to provide your business name and your business tax identification number (EIN). This business bank account can be used for your business transactions, such as paying suppliers or invoicing customers. Most times, a bank will require a separate business bank account to issue a business loan or line of credit.

Hire a Bookkeeper or Get Accounting Software

If you sell a product, you need an inventory function in your accounting software to manage and track inventory. The software should have ledger and journal entries and the ability to generate financial statements.

Some software programs double as bookkeeping tools. These often include features such as check writing and managing receivables and payables. You can also use this software to track your income and expenses, generate invoices, run reports and calculate taxes.

There are many bookkeeping services available that can do all of this for you, and more. These services can be accessed online from any computer or mobile device and often include features such as bank reconciliation and invoicing. Check out the best accounting software for small business, or see if you want to handle the bookkeeping yourself.

Determine Your Break-Even Point

Before you fund your business, you must get an idea of your startup costs. To determine these, make a list of all the physical supplies you need, estimate the cost of any professional services you will require, determine the price of any licenses or permits required to operate and calculate the cost of office space or other real estate. Add in the costs of payroll and benefits, if applicable.

Businesses can take years to turn a profit, so it’s better to overestimate the startup costs and have too much money than too little. Many experts recommend having enough cash on hand to cover six months of operating expenses.

When you know how much you need to get started with your business, you need to know the point at which your business makes money. This figure is your break-even point.

In contrast, the contribution margin = total sales revenue – cost to make product

For example, let’s say you’re starting a small business that sells miniature birdhouses for fairy gardens. You have determined that it will cost you $500 in startup costs. Your variable costs are $0.40 per birdhouse produced, and you sell them for $1.50 each.

Let’s write these out so it’s easy to follow:

This means that you need to sell at least 456 units just to cover your costs. If you can sell more than 456 units in your first month, you will make a profit.

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There are many different ways to fund your business—some require considerable effort, while others are easier to obtain. Two categories of funding exist: internal and external.

Internal funding includes:

  • Personal savings
  • Credit cards
  • Funds from friends and family

If you finance the business with your own funds or with credit cards, you have to pay the debt on the credit cards and you’ve lost a chunk of your wealth if the business fails. By allowing your family members or friends to invest in your business, you are risking hard feelings and strained relationships if the company goes under. Business owners who want to minimize these risks may consider external funding.

External funding includes:

  • Small business loans
  • Small business grants
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capital
  • Crowdfunding

Small businesses may have to use a combination of several sources of capital. Consider how much money is needed, how long it will take before the company can repay it and how risk-tolerant you are. No matter which source you use, plan for profit. It’s far better to take home six figures than make seven figures and only keep $80,000 of it.

Funding ideas include:

  • Invoice factoring: With invoice factoring , you can sell your unpaid invoices to a third party at a discount.
  • Business lines of credit: Apply for a business line of credit , which is similar to a personal line of credit. The credit limit and interest rate will be based on your business’s revenue, credit score and financial history.
  • Equipment financing: If you need to purchase expensive equipment for your business, you can finance it with a loan or lease.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) microloans: Microloans are up to $50,000 loans that can be used for working capital, inventory or supplies and machinery or equipment.
  • Grants: The federal government offers grants for businesses that promote innovation, export growth or are located in historically disadvantaged areas. You can also find grants through local and regional organizations.
  • Crowdfunding: With crowdfunding , you can raise money from a large group of people by soliciting donations or selling equity in your company.

Choose the right funding source for your business by considering the amount of money you need, the time frame for repayment and your tolerance for risk.

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You need to have insurance for your business , even if it’s a home-based business or you don’t have any employees. The type of insurance you need depends on your business model and what risks you face. You might need more than one type of policy, and you might need additional coverage as your business grows. In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is required by law if you have employees.

Work With an Agent To Get Insured

An insurance agent can help determine what coverages are appropriate for your business and find policies from insurers that offer the best rates. An independent insurance agent represents several different insurers, so they can shop around for the best rates and coverage options.

Basic Types of Business Insurance Coverage

  • Liability insurance protects your business against third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage and personal injury such as defamation or false advertising.
  • Property insurance covers the physical assets of your business, including your office space, equipment and inventory.
  • Business interruption insurance pays for the loss of income if your business is forced to close temporarily due to a covered event such as a natural disaster.
  • Product liability insurance protects against claims that your products caused bodily injury or property damage.
  • Employee practices liability insurance covers claims from employees alleging discrimination, sexual harassment or other wrongful termination.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses and income replacement for employees who are injured on the job.
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Business tools can help make your life easier and make your business run more smoothly. The right tools can help you save time, automate tasks and make better decisions.

Consider the following tools in your arsenal:

  • Accounting software : Track your business income and expenses, prepare financial statements and file taxes. Examples include QuickBooks and FreshBooks.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software : This will help you manage your customer relationships, track sales and marketing data and automate tasks like customer service and follow-ups. Examples include Zoho CRM and
  • Project management software : Plan, execute and track projects. It can also be used to manage employee tasks and allocate resources. Examples include Airtable and ClickUp.
  • Credit card processor : This will allow you to accept credit card payments from customers. Examples include Stripe and PayPal.
  • Point of sale (POS) : A system that allows you to process customer payments. Some accounting software and CRM software have POS features built-in. Examples include Clover and Lightspeed.
  • Virtual private network (VPN) : Provides a secure, private connection between your computer and the internet. This is important for businesses that handle sensitive data. Examples include NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
  • Merchant services : When customers make a purchase, the money is deposited into your business account. You can also use merchant services to set up recurring billing or subscription payments. Examples include Square and Stripe.
  • Email hosting : This allows you to create a professional email address with your own domain name. Examples include G Suite and Microsoft Office 365.

Many business owners spend so much money creating their products that there isn’t a marketing budget by the time they’ve launched. Alternatively, they’ve spent so much time developing the product that marketing is an afterthought.

Create a Website

Even if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, a web presence is essential. Creating a website doesn’t take long, either—you can have one done in as little as a weekend. You can make a standard informational website or an e-commerce site where you sell products online. If you sell products or services offline, include a page on your site where customers can find your locations and hours. Other pages to add include an “About Us” page, product or service pages, frequently asked questions (FAQs), a blog and contact information.

Optimize Your Site for SEO

After getting a website or e-commerce store, focus on optimizing it for search engines (SEO). This way, when a potential customer searches for specific keywords for your products, the search engine can point them to your site. SEO is a long-term strategy, so don’t expect a ton of traffic from search engines initially—even if you’re using all the right keywords.

Create Relevant Content

Provide quality digital content on your site that makes it easy for customers to find the correct answers to their questions. Content marketing ideas include videos, customer testimonials, blog posts and demos. Consider content marketing one of the most critical tasks on your daily to-do list. This is used in conjunction with posting on social media.

Get Listed in Online Directories

Customers use online directories like Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook to find local businesses. Some city halls and chambers of commerce have business directories too. Include your business in as many relevant directories as possible. You can also create listings for your business on specific directories that focus on your industry.

Develop a Social Media Strategy

Your potential customers are using social media every day—you need to be there too. Post content that’s interesting and relevant to your audience. Use social media to drive traffic back to your website where customers can learn more about what you do and buy your products or services.

You don’t necessarily need to be on every social media platform available. However, you should have a presence on Facebook and Instagram because they offer e-commerce features that allow you to sell directly from your social media accounts. Both of these platforms have free ad training to help you market your business.

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To scale your business, you need to grow your customer base and revenue. This can be done by expanding your marketing efforts, improving your product or service, collaborating with other creators or adding new products or services that complement what you already offer.

Think about ways you can automate or outsource certain tasks so you can focus on scaling the business. For example, if social media marketing is taking up too much of your time, consider using a platform such as Hootsuite to help you manage your accounts more efficiently. You can also consider outsourcing the time-consumer completely.

You can also use technology to automate certain business processes, including accounting, email marketing and lead generation. Doing this will give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

When scaling your business, it’s important to keep an eye on your finances and make sure you’re still profitable. If you’re not making enough money to cover your costs, you need to either reduce your expenses or find ways to increase your revenue.

Build a Team

As your business grows, you’ll need to delegate tasks and put together a team of people who can help you run the day-to-day operations. This might include hiring additional staff, contractors or freelancers.

Resources for building a team include:

  • Hiring platforms: To find the right candidates, hiring platforms, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, can help you post job descriptions, screen résumés and conduct video interviews.
  • Job boards: Job boards such as Craigslist and Indeed allow you to post open positions for free.
  • Social media: You can also use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find potential employees.
  • Freelance platforms: Using Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr can help you find talented freelancers for one-time or short-term projects. You can also outsource certain tasks, such as customer service, social media marketing or bookkeeping.

You might also consider partnering with other businesses in your industry. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you could partner with a florist, photographer, catering company or venue. This way, you can offer your customers a one-stop shop for all their wedding needs. Another example is an e-commerce store that partners with a fulfillment center. This type of partnership can help you save money on shipping and storage costs, and it can also help you get your products to your customers faster.

To find potential partnerships, search for businesses in your industry that complement what you do. For example, if you’re a web designer, you could partner with a digital marketing agency.

You can also search for businesses that serve the same target market as you but offer different products or services. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, you could partner with a jewelry store or a hair salon.

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To rank the best states to start a business in 2024, Forbes Advisor analyzed 18 key metrics across five categories to determine which states are the best and worst to start a business in. Our ranking takes into consideration factors that impact businesses and their ability to succeed, such as business costs, business climate, economy, workforce and financial accessibility in each state. Check out the full report .

Starting a small business takes time, effort and perseverance. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be a great way to achieve your dreams and goals. Be sure to do your research, create a solid business plan and pivot along the way. Once you’re operational, don’t forget to stay focused and organized so you can continue to grow your business.

How do I start a small business with no money?

There are several funding sources for brand-new businesses and most require a business plan to secure it. These include the SBA , private grants, angel investors, crowdfunding and venture capital.

What is the best business structure?

The best business structure for your business will depend entirely on what kind of company you form, your industry and what you want to accomplish. But any successful business structure will be one that will help your company set realistic goals and follow through on set tasks.

Do I need a business credit card?

You don’t need one, but a business credit card can be helpful for new small businesses. It allows you to start building business credit, which can help you down the road when you need to take out a loan or line of credit. Additionally, business credit cards often come with rewards and perks that can save you money on business expenses.

Do I need a special license or permit to start a small business?

The answer to this question will depend on the type of business you want to start and where you’re located. Some businesses, such as restaurants, will require a special permit or license to operate. Others, such as home daycare providers, may need to register with the state.

How much does it cost to create a business?

The cost of starting a business will vary depending on the size and type of company you want to create. For example, a home-based business will be less expensive to start than a brick-and-mortar store. Additionally, the cost of starting a business will increase if you need to rent or buy commercial space, hire employees or purchase inventory. You could potentially get started for free by dropshipping or selling digital goods.

How do I get a loan for a new business?

The best way to get a loan for a new business is to approach banks or other financial institutions and provide them with a business plan and your financial history. You can also look into government-backed loans, such as those offered by the SBA. Startups may also be able to get loans from alternative lenders, including online platforms such as Kiva.

Do I need a business degree to start a business?

No, you don’t need a business degree to start a business. However, acquiring a degree in business or a related field can provide you with the understanding and ability to run an effective company. Additionally, you may want to consider taking some business courses if you don’t have a degree to learn more about starting and running a business. You can find these online and at your local Small Business Administration office.

What are some easy businesses to start?

One of the easiest businesses to start also has the lowest overhead: selling digital goods. This can include items such as e-books, online courses, audio files or software. If you have expertise in a particular area or niche, this is a great option for you. Dropshipping is also a great option because you don’t have to keep inventory. You could also buy wholesale products or create your own. Once you create your product, you can sell it through your own website or third-party platforms such as Amazon or Etsy.

What is the most profitable type of business?

There is no one answer to this question because the most profitable type of business will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your industry, location, target market and business model. However, some businesses tend to be more profitable than others, such as luxury goods, high-end services, business-to-business companies and subscription-based businesses. If you’re not sure what type of business to start, consider your strengths and interests, as well as the needs of your target market, to help you choose a profitable business idea.

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Katherine Haan is a small business owner with nearly two decades of experience helping other business owners increase their incomes.

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magazine business plan example

The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

As an aspiring entrepreneur gearing up to start your own business , you likely know the importance of drafting a business plan. However, you might not be entirely sure where to begin or what specific details to include. That’s where examining business plan examples can be beneficial. Sample business plans serve as real-world templates to help you craft your own plan with confidence. They also provide insight into the key sections that make up a business plan, as well as demonstrate how to structure and present your ideas effectively.

Example business plan

To understand how to write a business plan, let’s study an example structured using a seven-part template. Here’s a quick overview of those parts:

  • Executive summary: A quick overview of your business and the contents of your business plan.
  • Company description: More info about your company, its goals and mission, and why you started it in the first place.
  • Market analysis: Research about the market and industry your business will operate in, including a competitive analysis about the companies you’ll be up against.
  • Products and services: A detailed description of what you’ll be selling to your customers.
  • Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market.
  • Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background.
  • Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even long-term) financial goals and the costs to run the business. If you’re looking for funding, this is the place to discuss your request and needs.

7 business plan examples (section by section)

In this section, you’ll find hypothetical and real-world examples of each aspect of a business plan to show you how the whole thing comes together. 

  • Executive summary

Your executive summary offers a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. You’ll want to include a brief description of your company, market research, competitor analysis, and financial information. 

In this free business plan template, the executive summary is three paragraphs and occupies nearly half the page:

  • Company description

You might go more in-depth with your company description and include the following sections:

  • Nature of the business. Mention the general category of business you fall under. Are you a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of your products?
  • Background information. Talk about your past experiences and skills, and how you’ve combined them to fill in the market. 
  • Business structure. This section outlines how you registered your company —as a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC, or other business type.
  • Industry. Which business sector do you operate in? The answer might be technology, merchandising, or another industry.
  • Team. Whether you’re the sole full-time employee of your business or you have contractors to support your daily workflow, this is your chance to put them under the spotlight.

You can also repurpose your company description elsewhere, like on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business. Hair extensions brand Luxy Hair has a blurb on it’s About page that could easily be repurposed as a company description for its business plan. 

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

Market analysis comprises research on product supply and demand, your target market, the competitive landscape, and industry trends. You might do a SWOT analysis to learn where you stand and identify market gaps that you could exploit to establish your footing. Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis for a hypothetical ecommerce business: 

marketing swot example

You’ll also want to run a competitive analysis as part of the market analysis component of your business plan. This will show you who you’re up against and give you ideas on how to gain an edge over the competition. 

  • Products and services

This part of your business plan describes your product or service, how it will be priced, and the ways it will compete against similar offerings in the market. Don’t go into too much detail here—a few lines are enough to introduce your item to the reader.

  • Marketing plan

Potential investors will want to know how you’ll get the word out about your business. So it’s essential to build a marketing plan that highlights the promotion and customer acquisition strategies you’re planning to adopt. 

Most marketing plans focus on the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. However, it’s easier when you break it down by the different marketing channels . Mention how you intend to promote your business using blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Here’s an example of a hypothetical marketing plan for a real estate website:

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

This section of your business plan provides information about your production, facilities, equipment, shipping and fulfillment, and inventory.

Financial plan

The financial plan (a.k.a. financial statement) offers a breakdown of your sales, revenue, expenses, profit, and other financial metrics. You’ll want to include all the numbers and concrete data to project your current and projected financial state.

In this business plan example, the financial statement for ecommerce brand Nature’s Candy includes forecasted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs.

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

  • Funding needs
  • Project cash-flow statement
  • Project profit-and-loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet

You can use Shopify’s financial plan template to create your own income statement, cash-flow statement, and balance sheet. 

Types of business plans (and what to write for each)

A one-page business plan is a pared down version of a standard business plan that’s easy for potential investors and partners to understand. You’ll want to include all of these sections, but make sure they’re abbreviated and summarized:

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

A startup business plan is meant to secure outside funding for a new business. Typically, there’s a big focus on the financials, as well as other sections that help determine the viability of your business idea—market analysis, for example. Shopify has a great business plan template for startups that include all the below points:

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth

Your internal business plan acts as the enforcer of your company’s vision. It reminds your team of the long-term objective and keeps them strategically aligned toward the same goal. Be sure to include:

  • Market research


A feasibility business plan is essentially a feasibility study that helps you evaluate whether your product or idea is worthy of a full business plan. Include the following sections:

A strategic (or growth) business plan lays out your long-term vision and goals. This means your predictions stretch further into the future, and you aim for greater growth and revenue. While crafting this document, you use all the parts of a usual business plan but add more to each one:

  • Products and services: for launch and expansion
  • Market analysis: detailed analysis
  • Marketing plan: detailed strategy
  • Logistics and operations plan: detailed plan
  • Financials: detailed projections

Free business plan templates

Now that you’re familiar with what’s included and how to format a business plan, let’s go over a few templates you can fill out or draw inspiration from.

Bplans’ free business plan template

magazine business plan example

Bplans’ free business plan template focuses a lot on the financial side of running a business. It has many pages just for your financial plan and statements. Once you fill it out, you’ll see exactly where your business stands financially and what you need to do to keep it on track or make it better.

PandaDoc’s free business plan template

magazine business plan example

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is detailed and guides you through every section, so you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. Filling it out, you’ll grasp the ins and outs of your business and how each part fits together. It’s also handy because it connects to PandaDoc’s e-signature for easy signing, ideal for businesses with partners or a board.

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template


Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template helps you map out the essentials of your business, like partnerships, core activities, and what makes you different. It’s a collaborative tool for you and your team to learn how everything in your business is linked.

Better business planning equals better business outcomes

Building a business plan is key to establishing a clear direction and strategy for your venture. With a solid plan in hand, you’ll know what steps to take for achieving each of your business goals. Kickstart your business planning and set yourself up for success with a defined roadmap—utilizing the sample business plans above to inform your approach.

Business plan FAQ

What are the 3 main points of a business plan.

  • Concept. Explain what your business does and the main idea behind it. This is where you tell people what you plan to achieve with your business.
  • Contents. Explain what you’re selling or offering. Point out who you’re selling to and who else is selling something similar. This part concerns your products or services, who will buy them, and who you’re up against.
  • Cash flow. Explain how money will move in and out of your business. Discuss the money you need to start and keep the business going, the costs of running your business, and how much money you expect to make.

How do I write a simple business plan?

To create a simple business plan, start with an executive summary that details your business vision and objectives. Follow this with a concise description of your company’s structure, your market analysis, and information about your products or services. Conclude your plan with financial projections that outline your expected revenue, expenses, and profitability.

What is the best format to write a business plan?

The optimal format for a business plan arranges your plan in a clear and structured way, helping potential investors get a quick grasp of what your business is about and what you aim to achieve. Always start with a summary of your plan and finish with the financial details or any extra information at the end.

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What Is a Marketing Plan and How To Write One (+ Template)

Learn the key elements of a marketing plan, access templates to get started, and get tips on how to write an effective plan.

No matter how much you stick to a plan, things go wrong. As the famous quote by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower goes: “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

When it comes to ecommerce, consumer trends shift, circumstances change, and initial experiments don’t always go as planned. All of these things impact your marketing plan. 

Research shows that marketers who proactively write a marketing plan are 356% more likely to report success. So, what does a realistic ecommerce marketing plan look like? And how do you handle unexpected obstacles and overestimations that threaten your company’s marketing strategy? This guide shares the answers.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is the strategy a business uses to get its products or services in front of its target customer. It includes who the target market is, the channels used to reach them, and the messaging that will help the business sell its products. 

The purpose of a marketing plan isn’t to create a step-by-step, never-fail manual. Rather, it’s a roadmap to help you accomplish the best-case scenario, while also maintaining realistic expectations for your marketing initiatives and establishing backup plans if something doesn’t work.

Marketing plan vs. business plan

A business plan paints a bigger picture of how you plan to run your business. It includes a mission statement, products you’ll launch, and market research. A marketing plan, on the other hand, is a specific document that details how you plan to achieve these wider goals through marketing . 

Marketing plan vs marketing strategy

An overarching marketing strategy details how marketing will drive business results. A marketing plan is the route you’ll use to get there. It’s more specific than a strategy and includes a practical roadmap on how you’ll put your marketing activities into play. 

Free marketing plan template to help you get started

Creating your own marketing plan is no small job. You put hours into customer and competitor research to find the channels likely to have the biggest impact on your marketing goals. You can check out marketing plan examples , but when it comes to creating your own, you can save time with a template.

Ditch the intimidating blank screen by building a marketing plan using Shopify’s free marketing plan template. Use it to guide your marketing strategy, tweaking the template to meet your business needs.

Download the template now

Types of marketing plans

Digital marketing plan.

A digital marketing plan is a specific type of marketing plan that revolves solely around online channels like social media, email, and search engines. It doesn’t include offline channels like billboards or radio ads.

Social media marketing plan

A social media marketing plan focuses specifically on how a business will use social media to reach its target market. It gives you a framework of which channels you’ll use, the types of content you’ll create, whether you’ll invest in social media ads, and how you’ll drive product sales. This can take place either through your online store or a social media storefront such as Facebook and Instagram Shops .

Example Instagram checkout for a jewelry business that uses Shop Pay.

Content marketing plan 

A content marketing plan details how you’ll produce content that turns people into paying customers. This can span multiple formats, including an email newsletter, infographics, product documentation, and user-generated content (such as social media posts). 

Alongside the more traditional elements of a marketing plan, a content-marketing-specific strategy would include:

  • Keywords you plan to target
  • Who you’ll use to create the content (e.g., freelancers or in-house marketers)
  • How you’ll promote and repurpose your content

Offline marketing plan

An offline marketing plan details how a business will reach its target market without using digital channels. This might include billboards, radio ads, direct mail, event sponsorships, and outdoor advertising. 

How to write a marketing plan

Detail your unique value proposition, outline your buyer personas, run a swot analysis, detail product features and benefits, set key performance indicators, outline your marketing funnel.

  • Define your marketing channels

Decide on your content formats

  • Plan your marketing resources

Create a measurement and optimization plan

A unique value proposition underlines your entire marketing plan. Regardless of the channels and formats you plan to use, consistency is key. Mixed messages on what you sell and what your brand stands for will only confuse potential customers.

A simple way to refine your messaging is to focus on your unique selling point. Costco, for example, is cheaper than its competitors. Harper Wilde’s products are comfier than any other bra retailer. Find the marketing channels each retailer uses and you’ll see messaging centered around its adjective.

Harper Wilde’s YouTube channel homepage with seven videos in tiled format.

Consult your customers if you’re unsure what your value proposition adjective should be. Research is the biggest part of any copywriting process . Survey people who’ve already bought from you, run an Instagram poll to discover why people follow your brand, and see where your competitors’ weaknesses lie. Look for adjectives that crop up frequently during the process.

What overarching goal are you trying to accomplish with the business? Why does it exist? Summarize it in one sentence, and you’ll have a mission statement to inform everything you do, which includes your marketing strategies .

Going overboard with assumptions is a common mistake among marketers. The end result is a marketing plan that doesn’t actually result in revenue.

While data won’t give you a foolproof plan, every assumption is one more bit of uncertainty you’re folding into your marketing goals . If an amazing plan has a 40% chance of holding up to real-world scenarios, one without much rigor—and lots of assumptions—might hold up 10% of the time.

Consult your customer segments and buyer personas to get as much information as you can about the person buying your products, such as: 

  • Demographic data (location, age, and income level) 
  • Interests, goals, and challenges 
  • Channels they use to discover new products

Be careful not to confuse this with your target audience . Children would be the target audience of a toy brand; parents are the buyer persona. The latter is who you’ll be reaching out to with your marketing plan. 

A SWOT analysis helps uncover your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats relative to your competitors. It’s useful to include one as part of your marketing plan because it can help anticipate problems you might encounter, make more data-driven decisions, and spot areas where you can get ahead of your competitors. 

Example SWOT analysis template from Oberlo with four sections of bullet points.

Dive deep into the data you already have about your customer base by investigating marketing analytics , social media audiences, and customer surveys . It reiterates who you’re trying to reach—and more importantly, the triggers that would make them buy your product over a competitor’s.

Remind yourself of your unique selling proposition (USP) throughout this process. Tailor your marketing plan around key takeaways from these. 

Include any special features, competitive advantages, or customer favorites your marketing plan will lean on.

You could have the best mattress in the world—one made with 100 springs and cotton stitching, vigorously tested by sleep experts. But you’d struggle to market it if you lean too heavily on product features. A customer cares more about getting a peaceful night’s sleep than detailed product specifications.

“Every great marketing plan needs one thing first: a product that is 10 times better than the next,” says Nick Saltarelli, co-founder of Mid-Day Squares . “Once you have that, marketing is about deep human connections.”

Mid-Day Squares product page with the title, “Functional chocolate squares that satisfy your sweet cravings”.

Nick says, “It felt obvious that there was a sweet spot somewhere in between: people who wanted to follow along, and a true behind-the-scenes look into building a massive chocolate business from the ground up.”

As a result, the Mid-Day Squares marketing plan doesn’t prioritize product promotion. The brand instead “focuses on getting people to fall in love with us, the founders, to scale the human connection,” Nick says.

What are you trying to achieve with your marketing plan? Create both short- and long-term business goals that relate to financial metrics like revenue growth, retention , or new customers .

Most marketers measure success using return on investment (ROI) —the revenue you expect to generate after spending your marketing budget. It’s every marketer’s dream to get $100,000 in sales from $1,000 in marketing spend. While that isn’t the most realistic expectation, knowing your target ROI will prevent overspending. If your ROI is hurtling beyond your predictions, you can better allocate that budget to be spent elsewhere.

But there’s more to marketing measurement than dollar returns. Revenue isn’t always the end goal. Brand awareness, website traffic, and social media followers are short-term marketing objectives that aim to get new people into your marketing funnel. Nail them early on and you set your business up for success later down the road.

Not everyone will see your products and convert into a customer instantly. Most people progress through a sales funnel. Content that will make someone progress to the next stage depends on the one they’re currently in. 

If you were to use Facebook ads to sell your products to a generic audience modeled on your buyer persona, for example, you might not get the highest conversion rate. These people don’t know who you are, what you stand for, or why they should choose you over a competitor. 

But if you used Facebook ads to specifically target people at the bottom of your marketing funnel, you could use retargeting ads to show items someone had in their shopping cart. You’re bound to get a better return on your investment with this strategy because you’re only investing money into reaching people who just need a final nudge to convert. 

Let’s break down how you might outline your marketing funnel in a marketing plan. 

Example marketing funnel showing the three different stages.

Top of the funnel (TOFU)

People at the top of your marketing funnel don’t understand who you are or what you sell. Social media, podcasts, and video content play huge roles here. Each channel is used by potential customers looking to learn or be inspired.

For this stage, prioritize metrics that give insight into how people are engaging with your top-funnel content, such as:

  • Video views
  • Website clicks
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Cost per click (CPC)

Middle of the funnel (MOFU)

People reach the middle of the funnel when they know they have a problem that needs to be solved. Look at the marketing channels and formats you’re using to target these people. Most often, it’s search engines and retargeted ads.

Google Analytics is your best bet here. While the dashboard can feel overwhelming for a lot of people, you don’t need to look at every report. Use the following metrics to see how people engage with your middle-funnel content:

  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session 
  • Users by traffic source
  • Email subscriber conversion rate 

To track the data above, especially for advertising campaigns, add the Meta pixel to all pages of your store.

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

Going for the hard sell? For marketing messages where the only goal is to convert your audience into paying customers, consult the back end of your ecommerce store. It’s home to sales and product-related data that helps you understand whether your marketing plan is successful, such as:

  • Added to cart conversion rate
  • Average order value (AOV)
  • Number of orders
  • Reached checkout conversion rate
  • Sales conversion rate

Shopify Analytics dashboard showing metrics like total sales, sessions, and conversion rate.

Post-funnel and retention

Planning to build a steady stream of paying customers off the back of your ecommerce marketing plan? It's easy to assume revenue growth comes from audience growth. But oftentimes, the easiest way to grow your revenue is by focusing on the people we forget about: existing customers.

Resist the temptation to focus on flashy metrics like social media followers and YouTube subscribers. Instead, involve existing customers in your marketing plan. Use them as a source of testimonials and word-of-mouth referrals.

Graph shows how a small change in retention leads to more revenue.

“Happy customers have been powerful word-of-mouth catalysts for our brand, and it has made sense to keep them engaged,” says Chris Campbell, partner at The Charming Bench Company . “We’ve been getting a steady stream of five-star ratings on websites and social media, which we then share on our Facebook, X [formerly known as Twitter], Pinterest, and Instagram profiles. It’s a great alternative to pushing loud sales messages that don’t always work.”

Define your marketing channels 

Channels are the platforms you’ll use as part of your marketing plan. Go back to your market research and uncover the online and offline channels your target audience is using to shop and get entertained or inspired.

Some of the most popular channels for ecommerce businesses include:

  • Social media . Social media is used by more than six out of 10 people . Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, X, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are free to use (on the whole) and help brands reach their target audience. 
  • Search engines . Some 44% of online shoppers start their product research on search engines. By making search engine optimization (SEO) part of your marketing plan, you can generate new business by reaching people when they’re actively looking for your products or services.
  • Email marketing  and  SMS marketing . Email and text message inboxes are two of the most sacred places for a marketer to reach. A phone number or email address gives you a direct line of communication with your target customers, if they opt in to hear from you.
  • Podcasts . Record conversations you have with your team, customers, or experts in the industry and share them with your audience. By establishing yourself or your brand as a thought leader in your industry, you’ll inspire confidence that in turn builds trust in your products.
  • Offline channels. While digital marketing is vital in today’s world, offline and in-person marketing efforts can be equally powerful. Get in front of people when they’re not online, using channels like word-of-mouth recommendations , radio, billboards and outdoor advertising , or TV marketing campaigns.

There’s a sweet spot to how many channels your marketing plan should include. Go too wide and you burn resources on channels with poor returns. But become too reliant on one channel and you’re at risk.

Algorithms power most digital marketing channels. They’re praised as the type of technology that delivers personalized experiences for their users, but any changes to an algorithm can make marketing plans utterly useless overnight.

“If you rely on SEO, then any algorithm updates could potentially cut your revenue for months before you recover,” explains Marquis Matson, VP of Growth at Sozy . “If you rely on paid ads, then any changes to privacy policies can cut your revenue. If you rely on email marketing, then any ESP  [email service provider]  policy changes can cut your revenue. Diversifying your acquisition is crucial in a fast-paced digital marketing world.”

Footwear brand Hippy Feet is one ecommerce brand that failed to diversify channels. “The original marketing plan was to drive traffic to our Shopify store through ads—relying heavily on paid Facebook and Instagram traffic,” says Sam Harper, Hippy Feet’s co-founder and CEO. “While this is still a major component of our marketing strategy, the decreasing effectiveness of these ads has forced us to expand our marketing efforts.

“A diverse media strategy is crucial to helping an ecommerce business survive in this highly-dynamic market. By driving traffic through SEO, email, and media coverage, we’re more resilient and less impacted by a single tech platform changing their algorithm.”

For each channel, define which content formats you’ll use to capture attention and drive website traffic. That could include:

  • Audio. Reach podcast and radio listeners with audio content. 
  • Images. Capture visual learners and shoppers on visually dominant social media sites with infographics, GIFs, and memes.
  • Video. Get listed on YouTube , the world's second largest search engine, with explainer videos and product demonstrations. Many social media platforms— Instagram and TikTok included—are also evolving to prioritize video content. 
  • Written content. Most search engine results retrieve links to optimized written content, such as blogs , transcripts, or landing pages .

Content marketing is a beast that constantly needs to be fed. Customers want newer, fresher, more exciting content on a regular basis. That’s demanding for a small business to keep up with.

If this sounds unsustainable, consider a content marketing strategy that collects user-generated content (UGC) from existing customers. The more they share their experiences with others, the more content you have to repurpose on each channel. It’s an effective route to scale your content marketing plan and stretch your editorial calendar if your marketing department has limited resources. Don’t have time to invest in promoting the content you create? Partner with popular influencers in your niche—those whose loyal audience overlaps with your target market .

Your marketing budget is the dollar amount you expect to spend executing your marketing plan. If you’re bootstrapped, you can run a marketing plan on a tight budget .

As part of your own marketing plan, state whether you intend to use each channel organically or boost it with advertising. Most channels allow businesses to run sponsored content, which is guaranteed to reach your target market across online and offline channels, like door-to-door sales , social media, TV, billboards, and radio.

“I apply for any competitions, press opportunities, and awards to get my small business out there at any given opportunity,” says Terri-Anne Turton, founder of The Tur-Shirt Company . 

The strategy has worked: The Tur-Shirt Company has won a Junior Design Award for best fashion newcomer and a shoutout from media entrepreneur Steven Bartlett after entering his #DeserveToBeFound competition with Facebook.

“I focus on those my target market knows of to build credibility,” says Terri-Anne. “Plus, most of the awards I enter are free or low-cost; they just need some time investment and creativity to take part. It proves my USP to my target market—that my kids’ clothing products are unique—without investing thousands into advertising.”

magazine business plan example

While you can run a strategy with little to no budget, this section of your marketing plan needs to account for more than any planned advertising spend. Time is a resource that needs to be managed and accounted for. Be sure to detail how much time you plan to spend executing your marketing strategy.

If you have a designated marketing team, it’s also worth noting who will be responsible for each element of your marketing plan. Who’s responsible for this marketing plan? Which team members are executing it? What experience do they have with marketing?

More importantly, detail what you expect from the resources you’re putting into your marketing plan. If you plan to spend $40,000 throughout the coming year, how much revenue will you get in return? If you’re producing a marketing plan for a large or public company, this is what stakeholders really want to see.

Go back to the KPIs (key performance indicators) you set in the earlier section of your marketing plan. How will you determine whether you’ve met these KPIs? What happens if you’re exceeding or falling short of your target? It’s good to have a plan of action for either case.

Let’s put that into practice and say you expected to increase sales by 20% through your social media marketing plan. Detail exactly how you’d measure this, for example, you could say, “we’ll look at our Shopify sales report once per month and analyze which channel is meeting this KPI. If a channel falls behind, we’ll evaluate why and either adjust our marketing plan or deprioritize it in favor of more effective channels.” 

The best marketers approach their plans with an open mind. The hypothesis you started with might be proven wrong. Don’t take that as a negative. You just got closer to finding what will work. 

Tips for creating your marketing plan

Set conservative expectations.

While it’s good to approach your marketing goals with confidence, high expectations often lead to disappointment when we fail to meet them. That disappointment is magnified in a marketing plan, as stakeholders or founders will have already bought into unrealistic predictions and business objectives.

Start small

Don’t overwhelm yourself and your team by trying to generate results with all marketing tactics at once: running Facebook ads, tweeting like crazy, writing daily blog posts for SEO, and making constant changes to site and content strategy to improve your conversion rate.

If you’re very lucky, one of these tactics will bring you consistent traffic and sales. But more often than not, trying everything at once will make you extremely busy without anything to show for it.

Take it from Jameela Ghann, owner of Alora : “When we first started Alora, 10 years ago, our marketing plan was unrealistic. We were just a couple of people making plans that were good on paper but almost impossible to execute with a small team.” 

Alora’s website home with tiled images of earrings, necklaces, and jewelry gifts.

Originally, Jameela’s team planned to invest in several marketing channels—online and offline advertising, PR, trade shows, influencer marketing, and blogging included. However, the team changed its marketing plan. They went deep on one channel instead of spreading resources too thin by trying to be everywhere at once.

“We stuck to one course of action that was where our customers were, and ready to buy, and easiest for us to see a good ROI,” Jameela says. “What really worked for us was focusing on a handful of channels that we knew we could do well.”

Go back to your audience research and identify three channels your target audience uses most often. Put most of your energy into perfecting those before overcomplicating things with a more comprehensive marketing plan.

Use historical data as a guide

Past performance can help you temper your expectations for your marketing plan. If you know your click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook ads is 0.1%, don’t stray too far from that baseline with your social media marketing .

The same goes for website content optimized for search : If you’re currently getting 10,000 visitors per month from Google, scaling your traffic up to a million is a tough battle. Instead, 50,000 visitors is a more achievable goal.

Allow for flexibility

The purpose of a marketing plan isn’t to create a never-fail manual. Whether your marketing team has fallen victim to completion bias or focused too heavily on one channel, sticking rigidly to your original plan can be a big mistake.

Imine Martinez, assistant manager at Rainbowly , says: “Our regular campaigns targeting mainly birthday celebrations and anniversaries offered poor return on ad spend and inconsistent results over the months.

“That said, during festive seasons, such as Christmas or New Year’s, our targeted campaigns were particularly profitable, achieving five times return on ad spend with much cheaper cost per click and impression.”

Continuing with the same marketing strategies despite this data would only have resulted in heartbreak. Rainbowly would be pouring money down the drain on ads that wouldn’t perform, just because its marketing plan said to do so.

Creating a marketing plan is the first step

A lot of hard work goes into a successful marketing plan. To create an attainable one, you’ll need to spend hours diving into competitive research, audience data, and channels your target market consults when researching new products.

Most importantly, know that marketing is unpredictable. There are thousands of scenarios that fundamentally change the marketing strategy that’s best for your business. Global pandemics, PR crises, and the emergence of new social media platforms are unpredictable.

Treat your marketing plan like the best-case scenario. Plan SMART goals and strategies but remember to be flexible to give your marketing the best chance of success.

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Marketing plan FAQ

How much does a marketing plan cost, how often should a marketing plan be reviewed, what are the 4 steps of a marketing plan.

  • Conduct market research
  • Outline your marketing channels and formats
  • Create goals and measure performance

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What are some marketing plan mistakes.

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Marketing Plan

magazine business plan example

Marketing is an important piece for the success of every business. All the big name brands that we know today, such as Apple, McDonald’s, Samsung, Nike, and many more, have one thing in common, and that is excellent, well-targeted marketing. No big or small business can survive for long without any traditional or digital marketing practices.

50+ Marketing Plan Examples & Samples

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What Is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a set of implementations on how a company should market its products, services, and overall brand. It shows a detailed study of the marketing trends in the market and the industry. Those trends include the current state of competitors, demands of consumers , prices of goods, and other economic forces. Those data helps the business to position itself in the marketplace effectively and to reach out to a wider customer base.

How to Make a Marketing Plan

We’re all aware of how important a business plan is. You can’t start a company without it. That said, some might think that it’s the most vital document to ensure a business’s success. Well, yes it is. But a marketing plan is equally as vital. As we’ve said earlier, no business can survive long without marketing practices. So, plan your company’s marketing strategies well by following these steps.

Step 1: Do a Thorough Market Research

The first thing you need to do is research the market where your business belongs. You have to know everything there is about it, especially when it comes to the consumers. Take note that it’s the consumers that you need to please. Meeting their preferences and needs is what your products and services must provide.

Step 2: Define Your Brand

When it comes to marketing, your company must have its own identity. It won’t garner much attention in the industry if it’s somewhat of a copycat of other companies. That’s why you must define your own brand. Try to differentiate your business even though it offers similar products and services as others. Branding is part of the process of establishing a business.

Step 3: Study Your Competitors

You have to keep an eye on how your competitors market themselves, especially if they do so effectively. Studying your competitors will give you ideas on how to outperform them in the market, more specifically, on how to get more customers than them. For example, if you own a restaurant business plan , you must study the attributes of other restaurants in your locality. Study them by performing a competitor SWOT analysis or SWOT analysis . Figure out your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses .

Step 4: Establish Your Methods

Based on all your findings from your market analysis business plan and competitor analysis, formulate marketing strategies that enable your business to reach its full potential. This is also when you must decide what marketing materials to use and how much marketing budget should the company invest.

What are a marketing plan’s five elements?

The elements of marketing are commonly known as the 5 Ps. These 5 Ps are: products, prices, promotions, places, and people.

What is a marketing plan’s most important section?

According to entrepreneur, the most important content of a marketing plan is your target customers. That makes sense. It’s the customers that you need to attract for your business to generate revenue.

What are the stages of the product lifecycle?

The product lifecycle undergoes four stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.

With social media becoming a prominent digital platform, marketing becomes more challenging. The need for advanced planning is even more important in today’s business world. Our Marketing Plan Examples can help you face that challenge. So, make sure to download them before you leave.


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    A magazine business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your magazine business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections. You can easily complete your Magazine business plan using our Magazine Business Plan Template here.

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    Read on to discover how to start your magazine adventure with the help of a well-structured and effective business plan. Template Business Plan For a Magazine. 1. Executive Summary. Kick off your business plan with a concise but informative executive summary. This should feature the key top-line points about your business: its name, aims and ...

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    A marketing plan is the strategy a business uses to get its products or services in front of its target customer. It includes who the target market is, the channels used to reach them, and the messaging that will help the business sell its products. The purpose of a marketing plan isn't to create a step-by-step, never-fail manual.

  27. 10 Simple Tips to Write a Successful Business Plan

    In the new book "Write Your Own Business Plan," business expert Eric Butow takes the anxiety and confusion out of planning and offers an easy-to-follow roadmap to success. ... For example, a 10 ...

  28. Marketing Plan

    Step 1: Do a Thorough Market Research. The first thing you need to do is research the market where your business belongs. You have to know everything there is about it, especially when it comes to the consumers. Take note that it's the consumers that you need to please.

$500 for the first month
40 cents per birdhouse
$500/($1.50 - 40 cents)