Every business needs a business plan to find investors apply for business loans, improving and expanding your business, and just to have a roadmap that can bring you back to basics if things start to go off-road.
Every business plan consists of some variation of the following sections:
1. Executive Summary
The Executive Summary is the entirety of your business plan summarized into a page or two. It’s usually best to write this at the very end after your business plan is written and details ironed out.
2. Business Description
Your business description should include everything from the services you offer to any notable developments in your field, to what sets your company apart.
3. Market Analysis
A market analysis will help you determine where you stand in relation to other companies, and the strengths and opportunities you may have as an advantage over them.
A SWOT analysis is a great approach to doing this, where you outline the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your and your competitor’s businesses.
4. Products and Services
This section just differentiates your product from what your competitors are offering. This should essentially list all the benefits of your product in the way that you would present it to your prospective clients, so really think about what sets you apart from others.
5. Sales and Marketing
This is arguably the most important part of your business plan because it deals with the actual acquisition of what no business survives without—customers.
If you have a brick and mortar business, your website will be its second ‘home,’ so take the time to carefully plan what you want it to reflect. This includes high-quality images, product descriptions, branding elements, and access to help if your customers need it.
This section essentially has to do with the feel of your brand, and ultimately knowing who your customer is, and giving them the experience that draws them.
6. Operations and Management Plan
This section deals with the administrative tasks associated with your business. This will include the location, equipment, staff, expenses, policies, managerial hierarchies, legal issues, etc.
7. Development Plan
This is where your future aspirations come in. Write about your plans for your company in the future, and don’t be afraid to use your imagination! This part is essential because your business’s development will dictate how it fares against rising competition. So keep fleshing this area out frequently.
8. Financial Factors
This must include a full record of all your financial activities, including any investments and financial history. This part is no less important than the front of book sections and must be as thorough and clear as possible.
The Canada Business Network has provided a list of multiple templates which can be used to make business plans easily for Canadian businesses.