How to Write a Print-on-Demand Store Business Plan in 9 Steps: Checklist

  • Starting a Business
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Running Expenses
  • Startup Costs
  • Business Model
  • Increasing Profitability
  • One Page Business Plan
  • Value Proposition
  • How Much Makes
  • Sell a Business
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Welcome to our blog post on how to write a business plan for a print-on-demand store! With the rise of e-commerce and the growing popularity of personalized products, the print-on-demand industry has seen significant growth in recent years. In fact, according to a report by Grand View Research, the global print-on-demand market is expected to reach .30 billion by 2025. So, if you are planning to start your own print-on-demand store, now The perfect time to dive into this lucrative industry.

So how do you go about building a successful print on demand business? We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive 9-step checklist that will guide you through the process. From conducting market research to creating a detailed marketing plan, every step is crucial to setting up your store for success. So, let’s dive right in and find out how you can turn your passion for custom designs into a thriving print-on-demand business!

First of all, conducting thorough market research is essential for any successful business venture. By understanding current trends, customer demands, and potential competition in the print-on-demand industry, you can tailor your offerings to meet consumer needs and stand out from the crowd.

Once you’ve gathered valuable information from your market research, it’s time to define your target market. Who are your ideal customers? What are their preferences, demographics, and buying behaviors? Understanding your target audience will help you create tailored marketing strategies that resonate with them.

Now that you know who your target market is, it’s time to identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What sets your print-on-demand store apart from the competition? Whether it’s your innovative designs, high-quality products, or exceptional customer service, highlighting your USP will attract customers and differentiate your business.

Strategically pricing your products is crucial to maximizing profitability. You will need to consider factors such as production costs, shipping costs, and market demand when determining your pricing strategy. Balancing a competitive price while ensuring a healthy profit margin is essential.

Speaking of competition, analyzing your competitors is key to uncovering opportunities for growth and innovation. By understanding what other print-on-demand stores are doing well and where they are failing, you can refine your own business strategy and carve out a unique position in the market.

Setting clear business objectives and goals is key to keeping your store printed on demand. Set your short-term and long-term goals, such as sales goals, website traffic goals, or brand recognition milestones. Having a roadmap will help you measure your success and make informed decisions along the way.

Before diving headfirst into your print-on-demand business, it’s crucial to determine your start-up costs and financial projections. This includes estimating costs related to product sourcing, website development, marketing, etc. Understanding your financial outlook will allow you to secure financing or investment if needed.

Speaking of funding, securing financial backing is often necessary to bring your print-on-demand store to life. Consider various options such as personal savings, loans, or seeking investment from venture capitalists or angel investors. Be prepared to present a compelling business plan that demonstrates the potential for growth and profitability.

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Finally, creating a detailed marketing plan is crucial to attracting customers to your print-on-demand store. This includes defining your marketing channels, budget allocation, and promotional strategies. Running targeted social media ad campaigns and partnering with relevant influencers or brands can dramatically increase your sales.

Now that you have a complete overview of what it takes to write a business plan for your print-on-demand store, you’re ready to embark on this exciting journey. Remember to refer to this checklist as you navigate through the different steps. With a solid plan in place, there’s no limit to the success you can achieve in the thriving print-on-demand industry!

Conduct market research

Conducting thorough market research is crucial to the success of your print-on-demand store. It allows you to better understand your target market, understand customer needs and preferences, and identify potential opportunities and challenges. Here are the steps you need to follow to conduct effective market research for your business:

  • Identify your target market: Start by defining the specific demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics of your target audience. This will help you tailor your products, marketing messages, and strategies to effectively reach and engage with your potential customers.
  • Analyze industry trends: Stay informed of the latest trends, innovations and changes in the print-on-demand industry. This includes monitoring demand for different product types, popular design styles, emerging technologies, and consumer preferences.
  • Study your competitors: Research and analyze your competitors to understand their strengths, weaknesses and strategies. Identify what sets your store apart from others in terms of product offerings, price, quality, customer service, and brand.
  • Assess customer needs: Conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather information about what your target customers are looking for in terms of design, product selection, customization options, pricing, and experience overall purchase.
  • Explore potential partnerships: Look for opportunities to collaborate with relevant influencers, local businesses, or brands that match your target market. It can help you expand your reach and tap into new customer segments.

Tips for conducting market research:

  • Use online research tools such as Google Trends, industry forums, and social media listening tools to gather valuable data on consumer preferences and market trends.
  • Engage your target audience through online surveys, polls, and focus groups to gather direct feedback and understand their needs and expectations.
  • Attend trade shows, conferences, and networking events related to the print-on-demand industry to connect with industry experts, potential partners, and customers.

Define your target market

Defining your target market is a crucial step in building a successful on-demand store. Your target market consists of the specific group of people who are most likely to be interested in purchasing your products. By understanding and responding to their needs, preferences, and demographics, you can tailor your marketing efforts to effectively reach and engage with them.

To define your target market, start by conducting in-depth market research. Analyze demand for print-on-demand products in your niche, identifying gaps or opportunities to differentiate yourself from competitors. Consider factors such as age, gender, location, interests, and shopping behaviors.

Once you’ve identified your target market, create detailed buyer personas that encompass their demographics, behaviors, motivations, and challenges. This will help you align your marketing messages, product offerings, and brand with their expectations and desires.

Remember that your target market may change over time, so it’s important to continuously monitor and adapt your strategies accordingly. Regularly analyze customer feedback, engage with your audience on social media, and stay on top of industry trends to effectively connect with your target market and drive sales.

Identify your unique selling proposition

Identifying your unique selling proposition (USP) is crucial to the success of your print-on-demand store. Your USP is what sets you apart from competitors and makes your store attractive to customers. This is the reason why customers should choose to buy from you instead of your competitors.

When determining your USP, it’s important to consider what makes your store unique and what value you can offer customers. Ask yourself:

  • What makes your designs stand out?
  • Do you offer niche products that are not readily available in the market?
  • Do you provide exceptional customer service?
  • Are your products made with sustainable or environmentally friendly materials?
  • Do you offer customization options that other stores don’t?

Understanding your USP will help you create a compelling marketing message that resonates with your target audience. Here are some tips to consider when identifying your USP:

  • Research your competitors:

    Analyze what your competitors are offering and find ways to differentiate your products or services from theirs.

  • Target a specific niche:

    Focusing on a specific niche can help you narrow down your USP and cater to a specific audience.

  • Solve a problem:

    Identify a pain point in the market and show how your products or services can solve this problem.

  • Test and refine:

    Constantly test different USPs and collect feedback from your customers to refine your unique selling proposition.

By clearly defining and articulating your unique selling proposition, you can effectively differentiate your print-on-demand store and attract loyal customers who appreciate the value you provide.

Determine your pricing strategy

Determining the right pricing strategy for your print-on-demand store is crucial to the success of your business. Your price should not only cover your production and shipping costs, but also allow you to generate a profit. Here are some key considerations to help you determine your pricing strategy:

  • Calculate your costs: Start by identifying all the costs involved in producing and shipping each product. This includes materials, labor, overhead, and all costs associated with your e-commerce platform.
  • Assess your target market: Understand the buying power and price sensitivity of your target market. Research similar products and their prices in the market to gauge what your potential customers are willing to pay.
  • Consider your value proposition: Assess the uniqueness and quality of your designs and products. If your store offers exclusive high-quality designs, you may be able to set a higher price compared to competitors.
  • Competitive Analysis: Analyze your competitors’ pricing strategies. Look at both direct competitors in the print-on-demand industry and similar products in the market. Consider whether you want to position your store as a budget option or a premium brand.
  • Profit Margin: Determine the profit margin you aim to achieve for each product. Consider your business goals, overhead, and desired growth rate. Set a price structure that allows you to meet your profit targets.


  • Consider offering tiered pricing options to cater to different customer segments and increase sales.
  • Regularly monitor and adjust your pricing strategy based on market trends, customer feedback and changes in production costs.
  • Offer promotional discounts or bundling offers to attract customers and encourage repeat purchases.

Analyze your competition

When starting a print-on-demand store, analyzing your competition is crucial to gaining a competitive advantage in the market. By understanding what other businesses are offering and how they are positioning themselves, you can identify opportunities to differentiate yourself and attract customers.

Here are some important steps to analyze your competitors:

  • Identify your direct competitors: Make a list of other print-on-demand stores that target a similar audience or offer similar products. Visit their websites, study their product offerings, pricing strategies, and overall brand positioning.
  • Assess their strengths and weaknesses: Look for areas where your competitors excel, such as exceptional product quality or a strong social media presence. Also identify any weaknesses they might have, such as a limited product line or poor customer service.
  • Evaluate their pricing strategy: Analyze how your competitors set their prices and determine if they are competitive or overpriced. This will help you determine your own pricing strategy to attract customers.
  • Study their marketing efforts: Examine how your competitors promote their products through social media, email marketing, advertising campaigns or collaborations. This can give you some insight into successful marketing tactics you can adopt for your own print-on-demand store.
  • Consider their customer reviews and comments: Read customer reviews and comments on your competitors’ products and services. This will help you identify any common complaints or areas where your competition is falling short, allowing you to address those concerns in your own store.
  • Identify gaps and opportunities: Based on your analysis, identify gaps or opportunities in the market that your competitors may have overlooked. This could offer a unique product variation, targeting an underserved niche, or enhance existing offerings.


  • Use competitive analysis tools or software to gather data on your competitors’ online performance, traffic, and keywords.
  • Regularly monitor your competitors’ activities, such as new product releases, promotions, or changes in their marketing strategies.
  • Look for ways to differentiate your print-on-demand store by providing personalized customer experiences, superior product quality, or exceptional customer service.

By thoroughly analyzing your competitors, you can identify opportunities to stand out in the print-on-demand market and develop a solid business strategy that sets you apart from the crowd.

Define your business objectives and goals

Defining your business objectives and goals is a crucial step in creating a solid foundation for your print-on-demand store. These goals and objectives will serve as a roadmap to guide your decision-making process and keep you focused on what matters most to your business.

1. Determine what you want to achieve: Start by identifying the specific results you want to achieve with your print-on-demand store. These could include increasing revenue, expanding your customer base, or establishing a strong brand presence in the market.

2. Set measurable targets: It is important to set measurable targets that align with your goals. These targets should be specific, realistic and time bound. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue, you can set a goal to achieve a certain percentage of sales growth within a specific time frame.

3. Prioritize your goals: After identifying your goals and setting measurable targets, prioritize your goals based on urgency and importance. This will help you stay organized and focus on completing the most critical goals first.


  • Make sure your goals are aligned with your overall business strategy and vision.
  • Regularly review and update your goals and objectives to adapt to market changes and new opportunities.
  • Break down bigger goals into smaller, actionable steps to make them more achievable.
  • Consider involving key stakeholders in the goal-setting process to ensure buy-in and alignment.
  • Track your progress regularly and celebrate milestones to stay motivated.

4. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): To measure the success of your objectives and goals, identify relevant KPIs. These could include metrics such as sales revenue, customer acquisition rate, conversion rate, or customer satisfaction scores. Tracking these KPIs will help you track your progress and make data-driven decisions.

5. Align goals with your overall business plan: Make sure your goals and objectives are aligned with your overall business plan. This will help maintain consistency and ensure that all aspects of your print-on-demand store work cohesively to achieve your desired results.

By setting clear business objectives and goals for your print-on-demand store, you can set yourself up for success and stay focused on what matters most. Remember to regularly assess your progress, adjust your goals as needed, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

Determine your start-up costs and financial projections

Before launching your print-on-demand store, determining your start-up costs and creating financial projections is crucial to ensure the viability and profitability of your business. This step will help you understand the financial requirements and the potential return on investment for your business.

Here are some key aspects to consider when determining your startup costs:

  • Equipment and supplies: Identify necessary equipment, such as printers and heat presses, as well as supplies, such as blanks and ink, needed for production. Estimate the costs associated with acquiring these items.
  • Technology and software: Consider the technology required to effectively run your print-on-demand store, such as an e-commerce platform, inventory management software, and graphic design tools. Research the costs associated with these technologies.
  • Website development: If you choose to build your own website, consider the costs of domain registration, web hosting, and potentially hiring a web developer to create a user-friendly and visually appealing online store.
  • Legal and Licensing Fees: Consult with professionals to determine the legal requirements and licensing fees associated with establishing and operating your print-on-demand store.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Allocate part of your budget to marketing and advertising activities to promote your store and attract potential customers. Consider social media advertising, influencer collaborations, and search engine optimization.

Once you’ve calculated your start-up costs, it’s essential to create financial projections to forecast your future income and expenses. This will help you assess the profitability and sustainability of your print-on-demand store.

To create financial projections, consider the following:

  • Sales Forecast: Estimate your monthly or yearly sales based on market research and industry trends. Be realistic and consider factors such as seasonality and potential growth over time.
  • Pricing and profit margins: Determine your pricing strategy and calculate profit margins for each product category. This will help you understand the revenue generated per sale and the overall profitability of your store.
  • Operating Expenses: Identify and categorize your ongoing expenses, such as manufacturing costs, marketing expenses, website maintenance, and overhead. This will give you a clear picture of your cash flow and net profit.
  • Break-even analysis: Calculate the number of sales or revenue needed to cover your startup costs and hit the score. This analysis will help you set realistic goals and milestones for your business.


  • Consider consulting a professional accountant or financial advisor to ensure the accuracy and reliability of your financial projections.
  • Regularly update your financial projections as your business grows to reflect any changes in sales, expenses, or market conditions.
  • Use financial forecasting tools or models to streamline the process and make it easier to track and analyze your financial performance.

Secured financing or investment

Securing financing or investment is a crucial step in starting a print-on-demand store. It provides you with the capital needed to launch your business and cover initial expenses such as equipment, inventory, marketing and operating costs. Here are some important steps to consider when securing financing or investing:

  • Prepare a comprehensive business plan: A well written and detailed business plan is essential to convince potential investors or lenders to provide financing. It should include information about your target market, competitive analysis, financial projections, and marketing strategy. Be sure to highlight the unique aspects of your print-on-demand store and why it has the potential to succeed in the market.
  • Explore different financing options: There are several ways to secure financing or investment for your print-on-demand store. Consider traditional options such as bank loans or lines of credit, which may require a strong credit history and collateral. Another option is to seek out venture capitalists or angel investors who specialize in backing startups. Crowdfunding platforms can also be a viable option if you have a unique and compelling business concept.
  • Pitch your business to potential investors: Once you’ve identified potential investors or lenders, it’s essential to create a compelling pitch. Highlight the strengths and potential of your print-on-demand store, emphasizing market demand, revenue projections, and the competitive advantage your business offers. Use presentations, financial projections and prototypes to support your pitch and showcase your vision.
  • Seek advice from professionals: If you are unfamiliar with the financing process, it is beneficial to seek advice from professionals, such as financial advisors or consultants. They can help you navigate the complexities of securing funding and provide valuable information and connections to potential investors.


  • Make sure your financial projections are realistic and backed by thorough market research.
  • Be prepared to negotiate terms and conditions with investors or lenders.
  • Consider alternative funding options, such as grants or business competitions, which can provide non-dilutive funding.
  • Network and attend industry events to connect with potential investors or lenders.
  • Always maintain professional and transparent communication with investors or lenders.

Create a detailed marketing plan

Creating a detailed marketing plan is essential for the success of your print-on-demand store. It will help you outline your strategies and tactics for attracting and retaining customers, increasing brand awareness, and ultimately driving sales. Here are some key steps to consider when developing your marketing plan:

  • Identify your target audience: Determine who your ideal customers are, their demographics, interests, and buying behaviors. This will help you tailor your marketing messages and tactics to effectively reach and engage with them.
  • Set Clear Marketing Goals: Set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (smart) goals that align with your overall business goals. Whether it’s increasing website traffic, improving conversion rates, or increasing social media engagement, make sure your goals are well-defined and trackable.
  • Choose the right marketing channels: Research and identify the most effective marketing channels to reach your target audience. This may include social media platforms, search engine advertising, email marketing, content marketing, or influencer partnerships.
  • Create Compelling Content: Develop high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, social media content, or product descriptions. Make sure your content delivers value, showcases your unique selling proposition, and encourages customers to take action.
  • Optimize for search engines: Implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results. Perform keyword research, optimize meta tags, create relevant landing pages, and optimize your site’s loading speed to attract organic traffic.
  • Implement targeted advertising campaigns: Run targeted advertising campaigns on social media platforms and search engines to reach potential customers. Define your target audience, set a budget, create compelling ads, and regularly monitor and optimize your campaigns for maximum ROI.


  • Monitor your competitors’ marketing strategies to stay ahead and identify areas for improvement.
  • Use customer feedback and reviews to improve your marketing efforts and address any concerns or issues.
  • Stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and technologies to continually refine and adapt your strategies.
  • Regularly track and analyze your marketing metrics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

By following these steps and creating a detailed marketing plan, you’ll be well equipped to promote your print-on-demand store, attract loyal customers, and achieve your business goals.


In conclusion, writing a business plan is essential for the success of your print-on-demand store. By following these 9 steps, you’ll be able to outline your goals, identify your target market, and create a solid strategy for your business. Conducting thorough market research, analyzing your competitors, and creating a detailed marketing plan will help you stay ahead in this competitive industry. In addition, determining your pricing strategy and securing funding or investment will ensure the financial stability of your business. With careful planning and execution, your print-on-demand store can thrive and generate sustainable revenue.