A Canadian Perspective on business plan writing…
Recall your middle school teachers insisting on making a routine for the completion of your syllabus. Why would you do it? How would you frame your routine? And what points would you consider before planning your schedule? The goal was to regulate your time and syllabus, and score a decent grade!
A business plan is nothing different!
In this post, we are going to divert away from technical jargon and keep the language plain and simple for our readers.
Your plan is a succinct framework of your business, its goals, its services and products, plan of expansion, financial plan, sustainability and marketing strategies. It will serve as bait to attract interested investors, borrow money from lenders, apply for immigration to Canada (or other countries) or simply a road map for your business.
A well-organized business plan is what you need if you are venturing into a start-up or a business for the first time. Presented before you are some comprehensive tips on how to pen down a business plan.
Before delving into the technical nitty-gritty of presenting a business plan, let us clear our concept of what it actually is.
What is a business plan?
As the old adage goes, “The failure to plan is a plan to fail”. A business plan offers an easy-to-comprehend layout and a roadmap explaining the details of your business. A glance through your plan should pique the investor’s interest in your business. The plan is like a blueprint of your business and should telltale paperwork that gives the investor an idea about the expectations of your company.
The plan should also encompass details about the team and the scalability of your business. The objective of your business and the expansion ideas and marketing strategies should be concisely deliberated in your plan. A well-organized business plan with the appropriate content is a reflection of your astute entrepreneurship skills.
Pro Tip: Whenever you are writing a business plan for any purpose, do not look for online templates, create the new one from scratch!
Why do you need a business plan?
Even before you have the opportunity to pitch your idea in front of investors, your business plan is the document that will attract them. It is the essential Achilles Heels that decide whether you will win or lose in convincing your Venture Capitalists or investors, or lenders. If your business plan is lucrative, investors would come flocking but they would not bother to incubate your idea if the plan fails to satisfy the key points.
Even if you are not focused on wooing Venture Capitalists for the initial funding, a plan is essential. Your business plan is an inclusive document underlining your aim, objective, SWOT analysis, Six sigma analysis, marketing, sustainability and expansion, just like the middle school syllabus routine. It would help you highlight the flaws and loopholes in your plan and allow you and your team to whet up your plan in particular aspects.
When do you write a business plan?
When the stranglehold of your 9 to 5 job tears you asunder, opt for a business plan and delve into it.
You may also create a business plan in some of the following cases:
- When you are searching for funds and investments to scale up your company’s growth, either in the form of equity or debt.
- When you are searching for a new partner or co-founder and you have the onus to explain a detailed business plan to them.
- When you are planning to immigrate to Canada under investor programs and provincial immigration programs require submission of a business plan
- When you want to hire top talent and recruit them for optimizing your business
- When your company is experiencing slow growth, you need to analyze the faults and redesign your plan.
How to write a good business plan?
While framing your business plan, do not miss out on the essential and compulsory points. Design, layout, content and template all come into consideration.
Before you start a business plan, understand the purpose of your business plan!
Before you start writing a business plan, define the purpose of writing a business plan? List down the reasons why do you need a business plan and who will be the readers of your business plan?
For example, a business plan which is written for raising investment whether in the form of a loan or equity, should address all the key metrics which an investor, a businessman or a lender needs to see. A lender might be more interested in the liquidity and solvency of your business so your emphasis should be more on the cash flows of the business. A professional accountant should be helpful in preparing financial projections and a detailed financial plan for your business.
| Suggested Read: How to build a business model using business model canvas?
An immigration program is having more specific requirements, depending on your province’s requirements in Canada. When business plans are written for immigration purposes in Canada, you may have to show your human resources plan and the job creation aspect of it, the commercial viability of your business plan and long-term sustainability and economic impact. In such a case, a professional business plan writer in Canada is recommended to be hired who can work with you.
1. Write a smart Executive Summary
The executive summary lays out all the vital information about your business very briefly while encompassing all the necessary points. It should be completed in a page or so. It is a high-level look at everything and summarizes the other sections of your plan, thus giving your investor an idea about what your company is, what are its strengths and objectives, its weaknesses and the ways to strengthen them.
Most of the decision-makers are extremely busy professionals, therefore, your executive summary should be interesting enough to catch the attention of your readers. Another reason why you should list down readers or users of your business plan.
2. What is the Purpose of your business?
The reader of your business plan should have a clear idea of what is the purpose of your business. Clarity is necessary while mentioning the purpose, products and services offered by your company. State clearly what problem your business idea solves and how it stands apart from the rest. Be innovative and competitive!
3. Who are your customers?
Your plan should identify the target customer base and convince your readers/users of the business plan why your product is unique for the customers to purchase. Again, focus on innovation. Innovation does not mean that your product should be a whole new thing, instead, it can be an innovative way to resolve an existing problem for which there are already existing solutions.
4. Did you put up a smart Marketing Plan in your Business Plan?
In an age of glitzy advertisements, marketing is an aspect of the business you can definitely not choose to skip. However great may the quality of your product be or however dedicated you may be in serving your clients, marketing is essential to increase your outreach and further expand your business.
Put up a smart marketing plan. A lot of time lenders, investors or other users simply reject the business plan because of a poorly written marketing plan in your business plan.
5. Financial Value / Gain out of your business plan
Your investors would only think of incubating your idea if your plan promises profit and sustainability. Make sure your plan makes a detailed report on your steps to monetize your idea, gain profit and make it sustainable. If you have a great idea that can revolutionize mankind or planet earth but there is no incentive for the investors or lenders to invest in your business, your business plan will not win them. Yes, it may work if such a plan is written for a not-for-profit organization or a charity! Back to the importance of understanding your audience of the business plan.
6. Highlight the expertise of your team in the Business Plan
The strength of a team lies in each individual member’s contribution. Your plan will remain abstract until and unless you have an assiduous team to execute your idea. Point out the strength of your team and mention the future requirements you require to keep your business successfully running.
7. Make your business plan presentable
A drab presentation, encrusted with a lot of details, is less likely to attract investors. Keep your plan brief, and concise and try to include all the details within 15 to 20 pages.
Make it easy to read and proofread a number of times. Prepare your plan in a way that a flip through the pages would bring to their notice the key details about the company. Keep a proper focus on design as well to make the plan presentable and hook your investor’s attention.
In a nutshell, your business plan should be like a solution to a problem statement. Clearly mention your target customers, the problems they are facing, how your business would solve the problem and how your service or product is par excellence as compared to other similar products and services. All this while not losing the focus on what your readers want to see in your business plan.
Are you having trouble writing your business plan? Don’t know where to start? No worries – We are here to help you with a professionally written business plan.
Our team, at Maroof HS CPA Professional Corporation, writes custom, tailor-made business plans for multiple purposes. Our business plan writers in Canada do not use any templates and write each business plan from scratch. Being a CPA firm, an added advantage is to get financial projections for your business plan from Canadian Chartered Accountants to ensure that your readers get all the information they want to see.