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Begin your business plan

Tell us, what business sample most closely resembles your own business?

 

As a small business owner, you've put time and energy into your business and it’s future, and envisioned what you hope to achieve.

Why write a business plan?

Writing a business plan provides you with:

  1. an opportunity to consider and plan a work-life balance that works for you.
  2. a user-friendly guide to your business for employees, investors, suppliers, and advisors.
  3. a means for measuring your business success.
  4. a tool for articualting future staffing and financing needs.
  5. a tool for thinking through future staffing and financing needs.
  6. a starting point for a filling in a loan application.
 

Plan Elements

A typical business plan has the following elements:

Business Description presents background information, defines what's important for you and your business, establishes specific milestones for measuring success in the future, and introduces your product or service.

 

The Marketplace positions your business in a larger context, identifies and examines your competition, and describes the type of customer your business targets.
 
Sales & Marketing focuses on your business' strategy for attracting and retaining customers.
 
Business Operations outlines how your business works, including key suppliers and staffing considerations.
 
Financial Information considers your personal financial plan and provides financial statements for your business.
 
The Executive Summary highlights key information and insights from your entire business plan. While it’s the first section people will read, it's best positioned as the last section to write.

Tips

The Scotia Plan Writer for business is designed to help you focus on what's important for you and your business. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of writing your plan:

  1. Before starting, collect relevant information. This may include:
    1. articles you've collected about your industry and your competitors
    2. agreements with customers and suppliers
    3. résumés of you and your team
    4. contact information for your lawyer, banker, accountant or bookkeeper, and insurance agent
    5. details of your personal assets and liabilites
    6. tax returns
    7. recent tax returns
     
  2. While the Scotia Plan Writer for business is designed to let you move around the plan, we suggest working through it in the order presented, starting with the Business Description through to Financial Information, and ending with the Executive Summary.

  3. Try to keep your plan as brief as possible while making sure you've covered all the key facts.

  4. Consider completing one section of the business plan per day, rather than undertaking the entire plan in one sitting.

  5. Don't worry if you’re unable to complete some parts of the plan on your first attempt. Working through your plan may initially produce more questions than answers and is what makes the process so valuable.

  6. Your plan can adapt to a variety of audiences, including employees, suppliers, investors and advisors. In the Tailoring Your Plan component, look to Using Your Plan for explainations of what sections and content is most appropriate for different audiences.

 

General Business Information

 

Banking and Background Information

 

Personal Goals

As a small business owner, you are your own boss.

 

Business Vision & Objectives

How your business got to where it is today & future goals.

 

Product or Service

 

Industry Factors & Trends

 

Competition

Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against.

 

Customers

Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes.

 

Position, Price & Promotion

By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts.