The first and most important step in starting a new business is to prepare a business plan. A business plan is a written summary of what the business hopes to accomplish and what resources are required to achieve success. A good business idea may not be a viable business opportunity with potential for success. The research, evaluation and preparation of a business plan separates the real opportunities from casual ideas by eliminating the misunderstandings that can arise if you don’t put your thoughts and research in writing. The preparation of the written business plan fully develops the concept, identifies areas of concern and distinguishes the planning stages. If the business start-up requires the borrowing of monies, the financial institution of choice will require that a business plan be submitted.
The components of a business plan should include:
- An executive summary – include business name, a description of your business, type of organization, size, location and ownership
- Key business objectives / products or service
- Company management and advisors – adequate management skills are essential as are having recruited the best advisors to be found
- Market analysis and strategy – include market trends, competition, pricing strategy, target sales, customer analysis and your advertising and sales promotion strategy
- Operating plan – current and required furniture and fixtures, equipment and machinery, any leasehold improvements, suppliers and sources, and support services required
- Human resource plan – employees required and the employee policies and procedures
- Cash flow forecast – estimation of first twelve months of income and various disbursements displayed in table format as well as projections for three years and a break-even analysis
- Long range planning – describe the long-term goals and objectives and the additional skills and assistance required to support growth
- Potential problem analysis – describe any anticipated risks, preventative measures and response
Business plan templates that you may complete or use as a guide are available here or at our office, the Parry Sound Area Community Business & Development Centre Inc., 1A Church St., Parry Sound, ON. P2A 1Y2 or by calling 705-746-4455. There are also several books available within our library that will assist the entrepreneur with the completion of a business plan.