Sometimes, in business and in life, we get distracted from the big picture and focus too much on the details. This can be a challenge whether you are beginning or currently have a small business. With that in mind we decided to do a five part series highlighting some of the tools and resources found in our Key Resources section of the website. Each week will cover a new aspect of starting and running a business including business plans, marketing and legal assistance. The resources that will be listed and discussed here are aimed at helping businesses from all industries. However, if you still need more precise information make sure to explore our industry specific Accelerator Guides to find a fit for your small business ideas!
Why a Business Plan?
So why do you need a business plan? Business plans are meant to help you make critical decisions and work to ensure the future success and growth of your business. A business plan is not a static document. Rather it should grow with your business and undergo constant revisions as the business evolves.
Still, why should you spend your valuable time creating a business plan? We’ve compiled a list of reasons below that will outline why you should have a business plan and what it can do for you.
- A business plan is a reality check! It will force you to identify your business strengths and weaknesses.
- Help you figure out your budget.
- Provide a clear direction, which can keep you focused and help eliminate stress.
- Be your timetable for operations and help you coordinate all the diverse activities that go into running your business.
- Serve as a resume when you seek lenders, suppliers, investors or partners.
- Ensure you evaluate the market for your product or services and size up the competition.
- Provide a clear starting point for future business planning.
What tools can help with a business plan?
Our Key Resource: Business Plans page breaks down the available resources on business plans into three key areas: Sample Plans, Templates and Business Planning Help.
Looking at sample business plans will help you get a sense of what you should include in your own business plan. It can also help clarify questions and give you insights into what your potential competitors are doing.
- Bplans.com - Offers a selection of sample business plans, as well as articles on business planning.
Using business plan templates are especially useful if you have never written a business plan before. A template will help ensure that you do not forget any key components when creating your business plan!
- Futurpreneur Canada - Business Plan Writer - An interactive, online, tool that allows you to customize your business plan. Includes tips & tricks and can be downloaded to a word, excel or PDF file.
- Business Development Canada (BDC) - Business Plan Template - This is one of the best downloadable business plan templates. The business plan contains 2 sections, with a glossary and user guide.
Still have questions about business plans after looking at sample plans and templates? Not to worry, there are plenty of resources that can help clarify any remaining questions as well as help you plan and execute your own business plan.
- Small Business BC (SBBC) - SBBC is a great place to start for information on BC specific regulations and guidelines, for whatever stage you are in your business development. They have their own business plan resource guide available here
- Business Owner's Toolkit - The Small Business Guide offered here is a comprehensive set of tools to help plan and execute on your business plan. Some of the resources are aimed at US business owners, but most of the content applies generally to businesses operating in British Columbia and elsewhere.
What experience have you had writing a business plan? Did you find it challenging? What tools and tricks, if any, did you use when writing your business plan? What would you do differently next time?