We’ve looked at why a pop up might be good, and at some examples of other pop ups that might inspire. So, assuming you’re going to pop up, here, we will walk through making a plan for that.

Getting started

Planning a project is always a good way to spend your time, as the process of writing a plan should help you to understand why you’re doing the project, what work it will entail, and the benefits it will bring to other people.

Pop ups tend to be collaborative ventures, so your plan will help you to bring a team together, and to identify gaps in your skills. It will also help you find possible partners.

While being collaborative, it’s best if one person leads on the writing so that it conveys a coherent idea and a clear message. But different areas of the plan may need expert input.

Unless it’s a site-specific project, then at this stage you should plan the project without having a particular shop in mind, so you are flexible when spaces become available. You’ll soon have a rough idea of the size of unit you need, and at that time you can ask shopkeepers with similar size premises to give you some idea of the costs involved. Once you’ve secured a shop, revisit the plan and budget and revise your ideas and costings.

Always be realistic about what you can do with the resources you have, and include options for different levels of resources and budget. Scrapping a project because you haven’t secured the maximum amount of funding is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater – if the project’s good, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

A word of caution though – don’t spend so long on this that you’re more involved with a plan than a project. Make this an adaptable document, and keep coming back to it when your information changes.

Useful Tip – Prepare to adapt when needed

The need to be nimble is particularly true with pop ups, where things can change quickly; you need to think ahead and be good at responding fast to the unexpected (like finding the shop is full of rubbish, the roof leaks, or you’re suddenly moved to a different unit than the one you expected!)

If one person in an organisation has written the plan, they have enough of an overview to act as captain when needed – and can swing the biggest, most lumbering vessel around quickly when the wind changes direction.

So be ready to adapt to the space, embrace the temporary nature of the project and cope with a little bit of chaos if it happens. Remember that you may be required to leave at short notice, so make sure you have contingency plans for moving equipment, storing materials and keeping the project alive if you are temporarily homeless. Make sure everyone involved in the project knows about these plans, so that there are no surprises.

Business Plan Checklist

Below you will find a downloadable business plan checklist, written as a series of simple questions.

Answer them and you have a short, practical business plan for your project. This will help you

  • understand the project,
  • keep the project and the people you’re working with moving forward,
  • help explain in clear, concise and coherent terms what the project’s about when communicating to all involved.

Download the Pop-Up Shop Plan here:

Pop-Up Shop Toolkit – Making a Plan Checklist – Word Document

Pop-Up Shop Toolkit – Making a Plan Checklist- PDF



(c) Dan Thompson www.danthompson.co.uk