I want to start a plus-size store and boutique. It will be called Plus Fashion. Plus, fashion will provide classy, elegant, and trendy women’s plus size clothing, including dresses, pants, jeans, tops, and innerwear. The reason I chose that is that this business because my market survey has indicated that the plus-size market segment in the fashion industry is significantly underserved. Plus, fashion will adopt the limited liability corporation business structure. Therefore, I will have a competitive advantage as there are few competitors.
A business plan is a detailed description of a business, usually a start-up, explaining various organizational factors, such as the start-up’s management structure, organizational structure, goals and objectives, and financing methods. Defining these factors is essential for any business since it affects its likelihood of success in its industry. A business plan is critical because it represents the strategies an organization will pursue as it starts or grows its operations. It provides a clear path for the organization to follow in achieving its growth and profitability objectives. This paper will describe the management structure and organizational structure business plan facets of Plus Fashion.
The business that I would like to start is a plus-size store & boutique. The business’s legal name would be Plus fashion. Plus, fashion will provide classy, elegant, and trendy women’s plus size clothing, including dresses, pants, jeans, tops, and innerwear. I chose this business because my market survey has indicated that the plus-size market segment in the fashion industry is significantly underserved. According to Kinney & Phillips (2016), many fashion companies believe there is less demand for women’s plus-size fashion. However, statistics contest this argument. Over 70 percent of American women are size 14 or larger, yet only 18 percent of women’s clothing sold in 2016 was plus-size (Barry, 2017). These statistics indicate that the women’s plus-size market is significantly underserved. Plus fashion seeks to respond to this market gap by tapping into the plus-size market. Furthermore, Plus fashion will differentiate itself from other competitors in this market by providing unique and trendy clothing that is also comfortable. Most plus-size women sacrifice one of these elements when buying clothing.
Management/ Legal Structure
Several management structures guide companies’ legal structures. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes five primary management/ legal forms: sole proprietorship, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLC) (IRS.gov, 2021). A sole proprietorship is a firm where the owner runs all their business operations and makes all business decisions. A partnership is a business in which two or more individuals pool together to start and run its operations and decisions. In contrast, a corporation is a legal entity that runs through directors separate from its owners. An S Corporation is a corporation that elects to pass incomes, losses, deductions, and credits to shareholders for federal tax purposes. In contrast, LLCs are corporations whose liability does not extend to shareholders. Moreover, all these business structures have several advantages and disadvantages, suiting different organizations and organizational leaders.
Based on these characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, Plus fashion will adopt the limited liability corporation business structure. As indicated above, an LLC is a corporation (a legal entity separate from its owners) whose liability is limited (does not extend to its owners). These two elements form the main advantages for this management structure to Plus Fashion. A corporation is a critical structure since it allows the firm to implement the necessary organizational structure to conduct its operations. This business structure also allows critical decision-making since directors, rather than owners, make vital business decisions; owners’ interests cannot interfere with these decisions. A corporation also raises finances quickly through shareholders and creditors. On the other hand, having limited liability is critical for the firm’s owners or shareholders because they are not liable for its obligations. This factor protects their assets, property, and interests from the firm’s obligations, liabilities, and decisions.
An organizational structure is a system that defines how a firm’s activities, including rules, functions, responsibilities, and procedures, are organized to achieve its goals or objectives. An organizational structure also determines information flow within various individuals, levels, and departments in an organization (MacKay et al., 2020). Traditional organizational structures include functional, division, matrix, and flat. However, as the internet and the digital sector revolutionize industries and companies, contemporary organizational structures have emerged to disrupt old systems. These new organizational structures include decentralized and team-based models. However, traditional organizational models remain popular since they are well developed, and their methods are well integrated compared to upcoming models that are still experimental. Nevertheless, all these corporate systems (both contemporary and traditional) have several characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages that favor different companies and their operational models.
The organizational structure that will be most appropriate for Plus fashion is the functional organization model. MacKay et al. (2020) elucidate that the organization groups its employees according to their tasks or functions under this model. For instance, all accountants work in the finance department, salespersons work under the sales and marketing department, while corporate lawyers work in the legal department. This organizational structure is essential because it will allow the business to operate in different divisions, based on employees’ specialties, to achieve its corporate objectives. Moreover, the firm will also incorporate a team-based model, a contemporary organizational structure. The firm will group employees in different departments into various teams according to their specific tasks and strengths. This factor will further enhance these divisions’ effectiveness.
Target Market’s Demographics and Competitors
A business plan must consider the start-up target market’s demographics and competitors. A target market is the market segment in which a firm plans to tap its consumers. Considering a firm’s target market is vital in planning critical marketing, customer attraction and retention, market penetration, and product promotion strategies for the organization. On the other hand, competitors are firms in the same or different industries that sell similar goods in the same market. Knowing a company’s competitors allows it to plan various competitive strategies to grow and cement its market share. In addition, competitors affect a company’s internal and external decisions, such as pricing, product quality, market entry and exit, and product promotion. Consequently, this study will evaluate Plus fashion’s target market segment and competitors.
Plus Fashion’s Business and Products
Plus, fashion’s business involves selling products rather than services. A firm’s products are the item it sells to the market or its consumers to satisfy an identified need (Dolnicar et al., 2018). Plus fashion is a plus-size store and boutique that provides classy, elegant, and trendy women’s plus-size clothing. The store will give various clothing products, including dresses, tops, pants, jeans, and innerwear, for the plus-size market segment. Therefore, the organization will operate in the fashion industry. The firm has identified a significant need for its products and has customized its products to meet these consumer needs.
Nonetheless, the firm will offer several services which will accompany its products; hence, these services will not be for sale. These services will include fashion advice to consumers, fitting and styling, and after-sale services for some of its products. These services will make the company more attractive to consumers and distinguish it from consumers. After-sale services are essential in enhancing customer satisfaction and brand development. Many organizations in various industries, including fashion, have utilized this strategy to expand their brand value, translating into high market shares, revenues, and profits. According to Ashfaq (2019), after-sales and peripheral services that accompany product sales directly correlate with customer satisfaction. This aspect translates to customer loyalty and increased brand equity. Therefore, Plus fashion’s services will build its brand and improve its customer satisfaction and revenues.
Business Industry Target Market
Having a well-defined market is critical for all companies, primarily start-ups attempting to enter a market. Defining a firm’s target market involves identifying its typical consumer and tailoring its marketing approaches according to their needs (Porta, 2021). This article elucidates that targeting a specific market is essential in planning for limited resources; a firm can focus its resources on the consumer group most likely to purchase its products. Therefore, target marketing enables firms to reach potential clients and conduct their business operations affordably, efficiently, and effectively. The main steps in defining a firm’s target market include:
- Analyzing its products.
- Selecting specific demographics to focus on.
- Considering the targeted consumers’ psychographics.
The organizations should then align all these factors and tailor them to meet the market’s needs. Plus, fashion will also be attractive and competitive in the plus-size fashion market segment through this approach.
As indicated above, Plus fashion will operate in the fashion industry’s plus-size market segment. This market segment is large but significantly underserved. Over 70 percent of American women are size 14 or larger, but only 18 percent of the fashion industry’s product is plus-size as of 2016 (Barry, 2017). These statistics indicate a need that Plus Fashion seeks to address. Plus, fashion’s products will serve all plus-size teenage and adult (beginning from 13 years old) women. The firm will also price its products to suit middle-income and high-income earners. Plus, fashion will address these women’s real fashion needs, ranging from casual, official, winter, summer, and many more clothing categories. Moreover, the company will offer all apparel types, including tops, dresses, jeans, pants, and innerwear. Such variety will enable the company to serve this underserved market effectively and holistically.
Competitor analysis is another critical factor when developing a business plan. The competitive analysis involves defining and researching a firm’s major competitors, and their products, services, pricing, and marketing approaches (Dolnicar et al., 2018). Competitive analysis is vital in identifying a firm’s major competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This information can guide the business’s competitive strategies. In addition to this, Dolnicar et al. (2018) note that competitive analysis involves evaluating the industry to determine the likelihood of potential competitors entering the market. Such information helps the firm prepare to counter any threats to its market share or market competitiveness. Therefore, competitor analysis is essential in business plan development.
As indicated above, the plus-size fashion market segment is largely underserved. Initially, the only fashion company that targeted this market segment was lane Bryant (Shahbandeh, 2020). However, this report indicates that many companies have initiated departments to serve this market segment. Several large fashion brands, such as H&M, ASOS, and Mango, cater to the plus-size market. This trend has emerged as companies continue to appreciate the growth potential of this market. Shahbandeh (2020) explains that the average clothing shopper is now plus-size. Moreover, this market was worth close to $28 billion in 2019 and will grow to over $46 billion in 2021. This growth trend reveals this market’s potential; firms entering this market can reap huge profits.
However, these companies are not entirely focused on serving the plus-size fashion market segment; they have merely developed departments to tap some consumers. Plus, fashion will distinguish itself in this aspect; it will set itself as a wholly plus-size apparel brand, serving only this market. This factor will guarantee consumers in the plus-size market segment that it can meet all their needs with quality, elegant, and unique clothing. Moreover, Plus Fashion will be advantageous since it can focus its resources and efforts to carve a significant share in this market. The firm will focus on making its brand synonymous with plus-size fashion. Furthermore, this market is growing, indicating that Plus fashion can reap significant profits from it in the short-term and long run.
This study has evaluated the product and business definition, target market evaluation, competitor analysis sections of Plus Fashion’s business plan. The report has indicated that Plus Fashion’s products include all plus-size women’s apparel; the company will target teenage and adult women in this market category. Moreover, Plus fashion will offer peripheral services to its customers to accompany its products. These services will enhance customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. The plus-size market segment has several major competitors. Plus, fashion will distinguish itself from these competitors by developing a brand that only focuses on plus-size women’s clothing. The company will also differentiate its products’ aspects, including quality and design.
Most successful start-ups target a particular market niche whose consumption needs remain unattended with the current products and services. Plus fashion recognizes this aspect; it acknowledges that the current market products, services, and trends significantly underserve the plus-size population group. According to Jones (2019), 68 percent of women wear plus-size clothing (size 14 and above), but current fashion retailers do not cater to this population group. For instance, mainstream retailers like H&M, Forever 21, Lane Bryant, and Target do not offer plus-size clothing in the retail stores, with some having limited collections. This business plan indicates how Plus Fashion will address these challenges by reviewing its marketing mix.
The 4Ps of Marketing
The 4Ps of marketing are the key aspects that form a company’s marketing mix. They include product, price, place, and promotion. Firms adopt this marketing mix to promote their products, services, or brand value and distinguish themselves from their competition (Xu, 2020). These elements also help create a comprehensive marketing strategy to appeal to targeted consumers.
Product in a marketing mix refers to the specific item or service that a firm is selling (Xu, 2020). For example, plus fashion is selling plus-size apparel, including pants, tops, dresses, jeans, and innerwear. According to Xu (2020), this marketing mix element must solve a consumer need or problem. Plus, fashion recognizes a tremendous consumer need in the fashion industry since most fashion retailers do not cater to plus-size women’s clothing needs. Therefore, the start-up’s product solves this problem since it caters exclusively to this market segment. In addition, plus fashion will provide an extensive collection of plus-size women’s clothing that is trendy, elegant, classy, and comfortable. Jones (2019) describes how challenging it is to find plus-size women’s clothing that meets all these characteristics. Therefore, these products will distinguish Plus fashion from its competitors.
Price is the amount that the firm charges for its product or what consumers pay to buy the good or service (Xu, 2020). Pricing is dependent on internal company factors and external industry factors. Ingram (2021) explains that several pricing strategies, including budget pricing, luxury pricing, and value pricing approaches, are feasible in the apparel industry. The most suitable pricing strategy for Plus Fashion is value pricing since it is a start-upstart-up business with limited customer loyalty and brand equity. Value pricing is also profitable for Plus Fashion since it will sell quality products to an underserved market segment. Under this approach, the fashion retailer will balance its cost and quality; it will source high-quality products and apply a standard markup that reflects the products’ value.
Place refers to the location in which the firm will sell and promote its products, services, and brand (Xu, 2020). Plus, fashion will open its first physical retail store in Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia is a strategic location for Plus Fashion to begin its operations. The location will allow the firm to develop a brand name that can appeal to locals in Pennsylvania and other regions as it continues expanding. Jones (2019) describes this location as an untapped space, meaning it has significant growth potential for plus-size fashion retailers. Several plus-fashion retailers have already started operations here, including Milano di Rouge, Curve Conscious, Alice Alexander, and Deviant Bodywear (Jones, 2019). This aspect further illustrates the location’s strategic opportunities.
Promotion incorporates the strategies that a firm uses to market its products and convince consumers to purchase these goods and services. These strategies also help a firm edge its competition by distinguishing its products from consumers’ perceptions (Xu, 2020). Plus, fashion will use a combination of product promotion strategies to boost its brand equity, including social media, mass media, and influencers. These strategies have a broad reach in contemporary marketing (Xu, 2020). Plus, fashion will also rely on price promotions to increase sales and customer loyalty (Ingram, 2021). According to this report, price promotions encompass holiday sales events, off-season discounts, and seasonal promotions such as summer and winter clothing discounts. In addition, the start-upstart-up will focus on its brand equity and product quality distinction to compete effectively with its major competitors, including Milano di Rouge.
This study has explored the 4Ps of marketing on which Plus Fashion will promote its products, attract customers, and compete with existing fashion retailers. The paper has noted that the 4Ps are product, price, promotion, and place. Plus fashion will sell plus-size women’s clothing, including dresses, pants, jeans, tops, and innerwear. The firm will also utilize the pricing strategy’s value pricing strategy to compete efficiently with existing brands. Moreover, the company will open its first physical retail store in Philadelphia, PA. This study has acknowledged that this location is a hub for plus-size women’s clothing since it is an untapped space. Also, this business plan has noted that Plus fashion will utilize several promotional strategies, encompassing social media, mass media, influencers, and price promotions.
Based on the survey carried and what the business will offer, I will start the business. I will focus on the plus-size segment and ensure that I do some focus group marketing. I should also in future expand the store and set up in more locations. To ensure that I increase sales, I will also focus on online marketing as today the globe is digital. Thus I should now get the finances to set up the shop.