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Business Plan Basics

What is a Business Plan? 

According to the 'Business Planning Guide' put together by The Entrepreneur Centre in Thunder Bay  "a business plan is a written summary of your business and describes what you wish to achieve by being in business and how you intend to organize your resources to meet these goals."   


The Basic Format of a Business Plan:

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The Company

The Market

The Market Strategy

Operations

Project Requirements

Financial Statements

Appendices and Exhibits

 

Building Your Business Plan

The Company

In describing your company, ensure that you are able to describe your company; and what it is that you plan do to. Being able to answer important questions about what makes your product or business unique, if it solves any problems in peoples' lives, or if you have any special knowledge or experience that you bring to the business. 

Be sure to mention your value preposition: what is it about your business that the customer will see value in? Here are some sample sentence starters to get you thinking:

 

 The Market 

Think about who would be engaging in your business. Where do they come from? How much money do they make? How old are they? Here is where you describe your target market - whom you plan to sell to, or draw in to your place of business.

 

The Market Strategy

 This is your advertising strategy. How will your target market hear about your business? Your strategy can include a variety of marketing aspects, and how you would go about reaching your audience.

 

Operations

Here is where you will describe how your company will run. How will you ensure that your day-to-day operations and long-term goals will function? 

 

Project Requirements 

This section will include a description of the raw materials required for your project. Include aspects (as necessary) on manufacturing, equipment, storage, location(s), and any other items that you think you would need to make your project run. 

 

Financial Statements 

This section gives an overview of how much money you would need to start up your business, and maintain it after startup. Consider how much money you would need for things such as location, equipment, raw materials, and wages. 

 

What Makes a Successful Application

Strategies for Success

Filling Out the Form

 

Guides and Templates

The Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has an easy to use Business Plan Wizard

We invite you to download this very straightforward and simple business plan template

Read  the Thunder Bay Entrepreneur Center's Starting a Business Guide

Business planning guides are available at Canada Business

 

You don't have to follow the listed business plan guides exactly; they are there as templates to help you organize your ideas into a comprehensive format.

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES:  As you begin brainstorming innovative business ideas you might find the following documents helpful.