How to Write a Zero Waste Store Business Plan

How to Write a Zero Waste Store Business Plan or Template

The zero-waste store industry has been growing impressively over the last few years, which has driven the demand for zero-waste store business plans, zero-waste store business plan templates, and zero-waste store proforma financial projections.

There is a multitude of reasons why zero waste store business owners are seeking out business plans.  For example, a zero-waste store is easily customizable and differentiated from competitors.  Granted, each zero-waste store does embrace the concept of selling products that are environmentally friendly.  However, the business models embraced may range from grocery stores to specialty stores to hair and makeup products.  The ability to differentiate zero waste doors is just one of many appealing factors in starting and expanding this type of business.  Regardless of why an organization is seeking out a zero-waste store business plan, having a well-prepared business plan is an excellent strategy.  From this, our zero waste or business plan writer has come up with some tips and tricks for business writers to write their own zero-waste store business plan, business plan template, and or pro forma financial projections (3/22).


Executive Summary for a Zero Waste Store Business Plan or Template.

In the executive summary section for a zero-waste store business plan, template, or financial model, business owners should lead off with a problem statement.  In this particular situation, entrepreneurs should provide statistics related to global warming and how human activities are directly impacting our environment.  From this foundation, business owners should then explain why their zero-waste grocery/retail store will help not only protect the environment but also how it will help educate the community in regards to why we need to be more environmentally friendly in our daily activities, especially grocery store shopping.  By sending this foundation, readers of the document will be able to quickly ascertain the importance of a zero-waste store as well as how it differentiates from established competitors in the marketplace.

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Company Information and Location.

Let’s face it; most people do not know what a zero-waste grocery store is, let alone why they should visit one as compared to a traditional grocery store.  Because of this unfortunate truth, entrepreneurs need to fully address what a zero-waste grocery store is, how it is different from established grocery stores, and why the popularity of zero-waste doors is growing exponentially year over year.  After the argument is made and a zero-waste store is defined, an entrepreneur can then explain the services and products provided without the need to continually differentiate their store from established competitors like Walmart or Kroger.

Service Description and Competitive Advantages

The services description section for a zero-waste store business plan or zero-waste store business plan template is an important area where the business owner needs to differentiate and explain the services offered.  Because the zero-waste store industry is so new, customers, as well as readers of your business plan, may not fully understand what a zero-waste store is, why it’s important, and how it differs from traditional stores.  In essence, our business plan writer has found that zero waste stores embrace a philosophy in their business model when selling specific products.  The philosophy is to produce zero waste, which usually means removing or eliminating plastics, that will harm the environment after the product is used.  From this definition, a zero-waste store may include a beauty supply store, grocery store, or even a clothing store.  Just along as there is no plastic used in container stores, the products are either biodegradable, or you require customers to bring their own containers.  Because of the broad usage of the concept, explaining how your zero waste store will operate and the products sold is critical for the reader to understand (7/22).

Target Market for a Zero Waste Store Business Plan Template

Determining the target markets for a zero-waste grocery store may rely on a few different variables.  For example, the location of a zero-waste grocery store is important if it is located in a subdivision or near an office park.  In this scenario, the target market or audience would be residents or workers in the area.  But, for the most part, zero-waste grocery stores will target millennials who prefer doing business with eco-friendly-minded businesses.  Also, not surprisingly, a target market could also be parents of children who wish to protect the environment for their children in the years to come.  Finally, a target market may be outdoor enthusiasts who again wish to work with business owners seeking to protect the environment as a whole.

Industry research for a Zero Waste Store Business Plan

The industry research section for a zero-waste store business plan or business plan template should first start with a historical review of the industry.  For example, research shows that the zero-waste grocery store concept started in Europe back in 2018 or 2019.  From this point, the trend caught on in the US as well as in other countries.  Next, identify some of the trends that are driving the demand for zero waste goods like health concerns, harmful food packaging, plastic derogating in our environment, etc.  Finally, the industry research section for a zero-waste grocery store could include recently enacted laws banning or restricting the use of plastics.  After a brief national and/or global industry research for a zero-waste store is conducted, move into examining local competitors in the marketplace.  Or, even better, the lack thereof competitors in the marketplace.  By following this strategy, a zero-waste grocery store entrepreneur is able to show a solid broad understanding of the industry while also demonstrating knowledge of the local competition.

A second industry research structure for a zero-waste store may use a “story” structure.  What I mean by this is that the organization could start off their industry research by delving into the problem that the organization is seeking to mitigate, which may be global warming, the harmful impacts of human waste on the environment, or other related issues.  Once a solid problem statement is created, supported by factual research, then the organization can explain how local competitors are making the problem at hand worse by using plastics and other environmentally damaging products.  This structure, which is a bit different from other industry research sections, allows the business owner to highlight the problem well, showing an in-depth understanding of the industry in which they compete.

Owner and Management Section

In the owner and management section of a zero-waste business plan template, start with describing the driving reasons for starting this type of business.  Motivations or passions may include your desire to protect the environment, personal experiences related to pollution, or your personal belief and protecting the environment for our children and their children’s children.  After you outline the importance and motivations behind starting a zero-waste grocery store, describe your academic as well as professional experiences related to the industry.  Experiences may include a business degree, sustainable MBA certifications, volunteering with an eco-friendly company such as entities, or event management experience at a grocery or retail store.  Keep in mind, for each experience noted or degree earned, make sure to tie in the success to your future business endeavor.

Funding Request for a Zero Waste Store Business Plan

The funding request section for a zero-waste grocery or retail store should first start with specifically stating the dollar amount needed to start-up operations.  Next, make sure to identify specific categories required for your zero-waste grocery store start-up.  Popular categories will include retail location buildout, outside signage, grocery inventories, employee training, educational material related to the environment, working capital, and possibly funding to engage with local nonprofit entities in your area.  Once categories are identified, then fund the categories appropriately based on importance and anticipated funding needs.  Finally, the last step is to total up all the funding needed and make sure the final dollar amount is identical to the top line funding need stated.

Pro Forma Financial Projections for a Zero Waste Store Business Plan Template

The pro forma financial statements and projections for a zero-waste grocery store or grocery store template should start with anticipating the dollar amount that will be spent per customer at your store.  Now, let’s be honest, each product in your zero-waste grocery store will have a different product markup.  Because of this, it’s nearly impossible to anticipate how many peaches or bananas a person will buy per visit.  The only option left is to just use averages.  With this thought process as a foundation, constructing your financial model for this business should start with identifying the average number of individuals that will patron your store daily.  Once your estimate is complete, then determine the average dollar amount that they will spend and what you would like your average markup to be.  With these variables, the next step would be to multiply the number of patrons to your store daily by your estimated average sales price, which will leave you with your daily revenues.  The next step is to multiply the revenues by the average variable cost for the products and subtracted them from the revenues.  This number is called your gross profit margin.  Now, multiply your gross profit margin by 30, which will represent your monthly sales, and deduct your fixed costs like labor, rent, utilities, and other fixed monthly costs.  The end result is a rough estimate of what your anticipated profits will be on a monthly basis.

Hopefully, these insightful tips and tricks for writing a business plan were helpful.  As always, if you need help with a business plan or financial projections, just send us an email or give us a call. 

Author: Paul Borosky, Doctoral Candidate, MBA., Author

Owner of: Quality Business Plan, and Quality Business Consultant.

Date: 7/6/2022