Is there such a thing as an eBay Business Plan? Is it different than a standard business plan?

The answer is no. At the end of the day, the issues faced by an eBay business are much the same as a traditional brick-and-mortar business or a typical online store. eBay businesses still have the same considerations to think about: product selection, inventory management, purchasing, accounts receivable, product pricing, order processing and fulfillment, customer service, and everything else that comes with running a business. Because of these similarities, the eBay business plan should look not much different than a business plan for any other product business and in fact sample business plans for traditional retailers will be quite helpful in developing this type of plan.

This question comes up because there is a bit of mystique about creating a successful eBay business. With Amazon listing 1966 books on starting an eBay business, it’s no wonder that an entrepreneur might be a bit intimidated by the thought of expanding their business through eBay. Thankfully, there is a lot of help and advice available. To start learning how your business might benefit from eBay check out’s feature on eBay success stories which includes pointers to get you started.

From the financial planning perspective, though, eBay should be treated as just another sales channel. While the marketing costs and strategies might be different from your traditional business, the financial forecasting and business planning aspects are fairly similar to a traditional business. And, with the rising number of small business eBay success stories, eBay can not be ignored as a viable sales channel. In 2002, About 7% of the $14.8 billion worth of merchandise sold on eBay as a whole was accounted for by business-to-business sales. I’m sure that number has grown in 2003 and will continue to grow through 2004.

For more on eBay’s growth in the business-to-business arena, check out the analysis over at

AvatarNoah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of Outpost and the online business plan app LivePlan, and content curator and creator of the Emergent Newsletter. You can follow Noah on Twitter.