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In today’s business world, you will need to have an exceptional business plan if you wish to raise financing for your new business idea. If you want to expand your existing company. Your business plan must not only clearly explain what your business is all about, but it must realistically spell out the risks; your ability to pay the money back; and what experience your management has in overcoming obstacles and staying the course.
You will discover that all this entails a large amount of information-seeking, fact-gathering, creative thinking and skilled writing. We ensure your financial assumptions are realistic and achievable.
There must be logic in your claims and no mystery in how your numbers add up. As well, your business plan will have to read well, be enthusiastic, show confidence in your ideas, and emit an indisputable sense of “I am going to make this happen”. Here are some guidelines to consider when writing your killer business plan:
1. Undertake all necessary market research before writing your business plan. Know your market intimately! Most successful entrepreneurs have an excellent handle on their market.
2. Ensure that your plan is aimed at the correct target with the right kind of marketing. Is your audience a lender, a partner, the government or an investor? It’s important that your plan is targeted to your desired audience.
3. Make sure your plan is understandable to your audience; avoid using too much industry jargon; and present it in layperson’s terms. Your target audience may not be familiar with the technical jargon in your industry.
4. Reflect professionalism throughout and have no spelling or grammatical errors. Have correct and accurate content, and maintain a positive but realistic attitude.
5. Don’t underestimate your competition. Do your homework and gather accurate facts and figures about them. Keep in mind they may have been around for a while, and although you know you can do better, make sure you have learned from their mistakes and can overcome what they couldn’t.
6. Present a solid financial forecast using a standard format. Remember that all financial assumptions have to be accurate, realistic and achievable. Be ready to answer questions about your whole financial plan.
7. Undertake research on all the key areas that a business plan should include. Make sure that all sections are adequately dealt with, and remember that comprehensiveness is mandatory.
8. Last but not least, make your plan compelling. Keep in mind your business plan must attract attention and create sufficient interest to keep the reader motivated and interested right from the very first page.
9. Once you’ve finished writing the first version of your business plan, take a critical look at it as many times as necessary. Avoid presenting a draft version to your audience. If it is possible and feasible, get it reviewed by others and incorporate their feedback.
Keep in mind the above is just some advice to consider when writing a solid and professional business plan. If you want to crack the code of how to write a full and solid business plan, we recommend booking a free consultation with one of our business consultants.
Chapter 1 – Executive Summary
1.- Description: We describe your business and highlight the key features of your products and services.
2.- Ownership and Management: We describe the organizational structure, ownership, and key management team of your business.
3.- Key Initiatives and Objectives: We highlight the key initiatives and objectives that are outlined in your business plan.
4.- Marketing Opportunities: We provide an overview of the marketing opportunities for your business.
5.- Competitive Advantages: We summarize the main competitive advantages of your business.
6.- Marketing Strategy: We describe the key components of your marketing strategy.
7.- Summary of Financial Projections: We summarize the highlights of your financial plan such as your projected revenues and net income.
Chapter 2 – Business Overview
1.- Business History: Readers will first want to know about the history of your business. If you have an existing business, we describe when and by whom the business was started and any major changes that have occurred in the business. If this is a new business, we highlight some of the reasons why you would like to start this specific business.
2.- Vision and Mission Statements: It is important to have a long-term vision of what you want your business to become. Some businesses use their vision and mission statement to highlight their business strategies and philosophies or to show the importance that their business places on developing good relationships with customers and employees.
3.- Objectives: It is also important to have objectives so that you can measure how well your business is doing in the short term. You can set objectives for desired market position (for example, we want to be the largest repair shop in town), sales (we want sales to increase by 25% over the next twelve months), profitability (we want to improve profitability by 5% this year), or any other goal which is important to your business. Your objectives should be simple factual statements that are measurable.
4.- Ownership: Is your business a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation? What is the legal name of your business and who are the principal owners?
5.- Location and Facilities: We discuss where your business is located and what facilities you have. You may wish to include the company address and a description of your site, the size of your facility, your equipment, and your lease arrangements. In addition, explain how the location of your business adds to the success of the business.
Chapter 3 – Products and Services
1.- Description of Products and Services: We describe the products and/or services that your business will be selling.
2.- Key Features of the Products and Services: Why will customers buy your products and/or services instead of another company’s? We explain what makes your products and/or services unique in the marketplace and how they will differ from those of your competitors.
3.- Production of Products and Services: We describe how your products or services will be produced. You may wish to highlight the resources used (both human resources and materials) and the process involved in the production of your products and services.
4.- Future Products and Services: Do you have any plans to update existing products or to offer new products and/or services in the next three to five years? If yes, we provide a brief description of what you plan to do.
5.- Comparative Advantages in Production: Is there anything about your production capabilities that may give you an advantage over your competition? For example, do you have specialized skills, new technology, access to cheaper materials, or low overhead costs? If nothing comes to mind, we leave this question blank.
Chapter 4 – Industry Overview
1.- Market Research: When writing a business plan, it is important to have a good understanding of the industry in which you will operate. We discuss what research you did to write your business plan. For example, have you surveyed current and potential customers, reviewed research reports and statistics prepared by others, read magazine and newspaper articles, or spoken to people particularly knowledgeable about the industry?
2.- Size of the Industry: How big is the industry your business will operate in? Size can be defined in many ways including sales, the number of units sold, number of producers, and/or total employment. We highlight any statistics you have on how fast the industry is growing and discuss the size of the industry in the particular area that will be served by your business.
3.- Key Product Segments: Industries can be divided into a number of product segments. For example, product segments within the automobile industry includes cars, trucks, vans, and recreational vehicles. We divide your industry into key product segments, highlighting the size and characteristics of the segments your business will compete in.
4.- Key Market Segments: Industries can also be divided by market segments. Who do the businesses within your industry sell products and/or services to? We divide the market into customer groups, highlighting the size and characteristics of those groups. For example, markets can be grouped by type of customer, geography, or other characteristics. Segment the markets on the basis that makes the most sense for your business.
5.- Purchase Process and Buying Criteria: It is important to know how and why customers purchase products like yours. For example, how important are price, quality, warranties and/or service support important in customer buying decisions? We discuss how the purchase process and buying criteria may vary by each of the market segments or product segments.
6.- Description of Industry Participants: We describe the types of businesses that compete in your industry. For example, where are they located, how broad are their product and service lines, how large are they, and how do they distribute their products?
7.- Key Industry Trends: The only thing that is constant in business is change. What are the key trends in your industry? These trends could include changes in technology, products, markets, regulations, or economic conditions. What trends will affect the supply of, or demand for, your products/services? We highlight the factors and trends that could have the largest impact on your business.
8.- Industry Outlook: For your industry, we discuss what types of products have the greatest opportunities for growth over the next three to five years and why? What products or product groups are expected to see a decline in sales?
Chapter 5 – Marketing Strategy
1.- Target Markets: In the last section we described the key market segments within your industry. Which of these customer groups or market segments will your business specifically target? You can define your target markets both by type of customer and by geographic region. We explain how your target markets may change during the term of the business plan.
2.- Description of Key Competitors: There will be other businesses or competitors who are also competing for these target markets. We list your key competitors and provide a brief description of their businesses in terms of location, products and services, marketing strategies, and market position.
3.- Analysis of Competitive Position: Now we want to compare your business to your competitors. In what ways you will have an advantage over your competitors and in what ways will you be at a competitive disadvantage? In which markets will you have the greatest competitive advantage?
4.- Pricing Strategy: We discuss how you will price your products and services. How will the pricing of your products and services compare to that of your competitors? For example, will you follow a penetration pricing policy (where you offer low prices in order to generate higher sales volumes)?
5.- Promotion Strategy: Having a good product and/or service is no guarantee of success. You have to make potential customers aware of your products and tell them how and where they can buy them. Here, we describe how you will create awareness of your products and services. We also highlight the types of promotional activities you will undertake such as media advertising, trade shows, direct mail, sales calls and any other means of promotion that you will use to reach your target markets.
6.- Placement and Distribution Strategy: How will you distribute your products and/or services to your target markets? We discuss where your customers will be able to buy your product and/or service, and how you will provide customer service and after sales support.
Chapter 6 – Operations, Management and Staffing
1.- Manufacturing Processes: We explain the manufacturing process of your product. If necessary, we add graphs, charts and pictures to illustrate this process.
2.- Retail Processes: We explain the manufacturing process of your product. If necessary, we add graphs, charts and pictures to illustrate this process.
3.- Procurement: We discuss the insights of your purchasing processes.
4.- Organizational Structure: We describe the management and staffing structure of your business. We discuss how many employees you currently have and how many you expect to have over the next three years. What are the key positions within your business and what are the reporting relationships between those positions?
5.- Management Team: Who are the key people on your management team? We list and give a brief description of each member of your management team including their position, key functions, and relevant experience. We attach resumes for each member of the management team to the end of the business plan. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the management team (including any positions which are not currently filled) and how these weaknesses will be dealt with.
6.- Staffing: We discuss how you will fill the key non-management jobs within your business. We highlight the qualifications and level of experience you will require, the wage rates and benefits you will pay, and what training you will provide.
7.- Labour Market Issues: We discuss any factors that could affect your ability to find, hire and keep employees.
Chapter 7 – Regulatory Issues
1.- Intellectual Property Protection: Will your products, services or processes be protected by patents, copyrights, and trademarks? If so, we describe what is covered. If no, we leave this section blank.
2.- Regulatory Issues: What other regulatory issues could directly affect your operations? For example, are you in a regulated industry? Will your business require licenses and permits? What steps are you taking to address these issues?
Chapter 8 – Contingency Plan
1.- Market Risks: Are there any events that could affect your customers’ need or demand for your products and/or services during the term of the business plan? If yes, we discuss how likely it is that these events will occur and what steps you will take to limit the impact should these events occur.
2.- Other Risks: Discuss any other risks that could affect the success of your business and how you will overcome them.
3.- SWOT Analysis: We provide a very thorough analysis of your strengths, weakenesses, opportunities and threats to the business.
Chapter 9 – Implementation Plan
1.- Implementation Activities and Dates: When will the key activities and initiatives in your business plan be implemented and who will be responsible for their implementation?
Chapter 10 – Financial Plan
1.- Pro-Forma Income Statement: The Income Statement is one of the financial statements of a company and shows the company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period. It indicates how the revenues are transformed into the net income. It displays the revenues recognized for a specific period, and the cost and expenses charged against these revenues, including write-offs (e.g., depreciation and amortization of various assets) and taxes. The purpose of the income statement is to show managers and investors whether the company made or lost money during the period being reported.
2.- Monthly and Yearly Projected Cash Flow Statement: The Cash Flow Statement is a financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities. Essentially, the cash flow statement is concerned with the flow of cash in and out of the business. As an analytical tool, the statement of cash flows is useful in determining the short-term viability of a company, particularly its ability to pay bills.
3.- Pro-Forma Balance Sheet: In financial accounting, a balance sheet or statement of financial position is a summary of the financial balances of a sole proprietorship, a business partnership, a corporation or other business organization, such as an LLC or an LLP. Assets, liabilities and ownership equity are listed as of a specific date, such as the end of its financial year. A balance sheet is often described as a “snapshot of a company’s financial condition”.
4.- Financial Ratios: A financial ratio is a relative magnitude of two selected numerical values taken from the financial statements. Often used in accounting, there are many standard ratios used to try to evaluate the overall financial condition of a corporation or other organization.
Appendix A – Additional Information
Target Retail Locations
Break Even Analysis
Appendix B – Financial Assumptions
Revenue Assumptions: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your revenues assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Assumptions Regarding the Collection of Sales Revenue: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your collection of sales assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Cost of Sales Assumptions: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your cost of sales assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Sales and Marketing Assumptions: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your sales and marketing assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Property and Utilities Assumptions: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your property and utilities assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Operations Assumptions: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your operations assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Administrative Assumptions: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your administrative assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Wage Assumptions: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your wage assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Other Sources of Funding: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your sources of funding assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Other Uses of Funding: We provide background information explaining the rationale behind your uses of funding assumptions. This supporting information is presented in layman terms so that your target audience can easily understand the rationale behind your data.
Appendix C – References
Business Plan for Banks
Lenders what to know why your business ideas are good and what will make your business successful.
Bankers want to see that you have a very clear and thorough understanding of your business, and that you are confident and enthusiastic.
Obviously bankers want their loans to be paid back, so they want detailed financial statements and projections demonstrating that your business will generate solid revenues.
Banks want to see the research you’ve done on your market niche and competitors to convince them that you can compete and succeed.
Bankers want a clear and detailed explanation of all aspects of your business right there at their fingertips.
Business Plan for Grants
There are some government grants available for small business start-ups or industry specific expansions. There are also specialized grants for Aboriginal businesses, remote/northern businesses or for people with disabilities. Attaching a professional business plan to your application demonstrates your ability to run a well-planned and financially sound business.
Grantors want to understand your business and how it fits in with the goals of the grant program.
Grantors want to see that you have a very clear and thorough understanding of your business, and that you are confident and enthusiastic.
Grantors want detailed financial statements and projections demonstrating that your business concept is sound and your business can succeed.
Grantors want to see the research you’ve done on your market niche and competitors to convince them that you can compete and succeed.
Grantors want a package that’s well organized, easy to read and simple to navigate. A professional, well organized plan makes you look professional and well organized.
Business Plan for Investors
Even if your investors will be angel investors or venture capitalists, family members or friends, they need to know how you will make money for them and what risks are involved. If you’re looking for investors through an Initial Public Offering the securities commissions want to see a business plan. This is not the same thing as a prospectus. Private Offerings also require business plans.
Investors want to make money. They want detailed financial statements and projections demonstrating that your business concept is sound and your business can succeed.
Investors want to be convinced that you can compete and succeed. They want to see that you’ve researched your market niche and competitors thoroughly.
Investors want to see that you have a very clear and thorough understanding of your business, and that you are confident and enthusiastic.
Business Plan for Immigration
The Canada Business Immigration Program is intended to help investors, business owners or self-employed people to enter Canada. Business class immigrants are expected to strengthen the economy. A professional business plan will strengthen your application by demonstrating your knowledge of business in Canada, and the benefits you will bring to the economy and culture of Canada.
Immigration officials want you to demonstrate that you have a very clear understanding of how your business will operate and succeed in Canada.
Immigration officials want a clear explanation of your business, which provides details on all aspects of the business, and is easy to navigate.
Detailed financial statements and projections will demonstrate that your business concept is sound and your business can succeed.
Immigration officials want to see that you have thoroughly researched the area you wish to move to, your market niche and your competitors.
Business Plan for Special Projects
You may have a large and complex business project with extensive financial considerations-it may be a new business or a business expansion. We will build a specialized plan that meets your specific needs. If your project is especially large or complex, call us to discuss the specialized services you require and to review the costs for a personalized plan.
You need to demonstrate why your business (or business expansion) is needed, why it will be successful and how you will to meet your long range goals.
You need an analysis of the industry, and trends that will impact your business, as well as a review of competitors and the market for your products or services.
You need to discuss the strategies you will use to market your business, and review the regulations and risks related to the business.
You need to demonstrate that you know exactly how much it will cost to start up and run your business/expansion. You need detailed information on every aspect of your business costs and your projected revenues over the term covered by the plan.
You need a a professional document that clearly demonstrates your knowledge, skills and abilities and backs up that information with detailed financial statements and research references.
Your Project Manager is your SPOC (single point of contact), the one person who is involved from start to finish and works with you and our team of experts to ensure that your final plan is what you expected and more.
Your Financial Modeller works with you to discuss all of your projected revenues, costs, expenses and funding requirements. The Financial Modeller then creates a financial forecast which includes your pro-forma statements. The financial forecast is incorporated into the master business plan.
The Market Analyst backs up your ideas by including facts based on research and statistics. This market analysis includes a demographics & competitors reports, plus information on trends and industry facts available online and through licensed databases.
The Business Writers draft a compelling story of why your business is needed and why it will succeed. Our writing style and design captivates the readers attention. Your professionalism stands out.