A pop-up shop is like any other business in that it requires planning to be a success. To better help you plan for your pop-up we have gathered three resources with varying degrees of details, each requiring different amounts of time and research.

The Business Model Canvas

If you want to get a rough idea of whether your pop-up can be successful, you can start with the Business Model Canvas, which is a tool that breaks down the business planning process into 9 simple boxes.

Each of the 9 boxes in the Business Model Canvas needs to be filled out with unbiased, well thought out information. Remember that you are trying to satisfy a need to a specific customer base, and to do that well, you will need to be able to provide meaningful value to them. The Business Model Canvas will help you to identify the major players, customers, activities, costs and revenues, and what value you provide.

There are many great examples of Business Model Canvasses that have been filled out online for your reference, and if you get stuck somewhere, that is when research comes in!

The Business Model canvas is a great start, and a great tool to help you identify whether or not you have something of real value to offer a certain customer base. However, some pop-up shops will require more planning and more detailed information. That is where the Simple Business Plan comes into play.

The Simple Business Plan

If you need to borrow money, if you need to provide landlords and other stakeholders (people who are directly affected by your business) with more information, the Simple Business Plan is a great tool to use.

We recommend that you start with the Business Model Canvas, then use that information to start filling out the Simple Business Plan. Questions relating to the nature of the business such as whether it is incorporated, a partnership, a sole proprietorship, etc. aren’t found in the Business Model Canvas, but are important components in any business plan.

It’s important to recognize the questions in the Simple Business Plan that you do not have answers to, as they will require you to do more research and find the answers. The more you know about your business, your market, your customers, what you offer your customers, and what you require to actually run the business, the better your chances of getting a loan, getting the required space, and being successful.

A simple business plan is probably the best tool to get your pop-up shop off the ground. However, there are situations in which a more detailed business plan will be required. For example, if you plan on expanding into a permanent store or multiple locations, if you plan on getting more financing in the future, if you want to be more knowledgeable about your industry and market, or if you are in a highly competitive industry, then a full business plan is more helpful.

It’s important that you know as much about your business as possible, and since no one has unlimited amounts of time to do so, a full business plan will help guide you in the right direction so that you do not waste your time, or risk the success of your business.

The Full Business Plan

A Full Business Plan is used by companies small, medium, and large, as well as massive corporations. It is a tool and a resource that identifies your industry, your market, and the opportunities that you have spotted within them. This is done at the beginning of the document in the Industry Analysis (what industry are you in, who are the major players, what are the trends, what opportunities have you spotted within it, etc.), and the Market Analysis (given your industry, who are you selling to, demographics / psychographics, trends in the market, opportunities you spotted within, etc.).

Spotting an opportunity is usually the driving force behind most start-up businesses, especially pop-up shops; perhaps it is a local neighborhood with an unmet need for a certain product, food, or service, or perhaps it is inexpensive stock that you have access to, and can sell at a high profit.

The full business plan takes the information about your industry and market, and the opportunities you have spotted, and spells out the plans you will use to take advantage of them. Therefore, there is a full Marketing Plan (how do you plan on reaching your customers, communicating the value you are offering, etc.), Operations Plan (how will you run your business day-to-day including point of sale, staffing, inventory, etc.), and a Financial Plan (how will you fund the business, how much will you make for each product or service sold, what do they cost, how many do you need to sell, in what period of time, etc.).

These three plans, alongside the two analyses make the bulk of the Full Business Plan. Filling out a full business plan can be tedious, intimidating, and very time consuming. That is why we recommend that you only attempt this in one or both of the following situations:

  1. You need a full business plan for financing (such as a loan), getting access to resources (such as renting a space), or other external requirement such as government regulators.
  2. You want to become an expert in your industry, spot an opportunity that will be more profitable, and / or feel that your pop-up shop will benefit from the added research and planning.

You can fill out the full business plan as you operate your business, as long as you have the Business Model Canvas and the Simple Business Plan completed ahead of time. Full Business Plans can be fluid and change with time, but the basics are usually static. You may not have all the answers that a full business plan requires at the beginning of your pop-up shop’s launch, but they can be discovered over time.