Planning for Success: Aboriginal Small Business Success Starts with a Business Plan

Last Updated: April 27, 2017

June marks a time in Canada to remember the contributions and assets of the Aboriginal community to Canada’s history, economy and enriching culture. As we approach National Aboriginal Day being officially observed Saturday, June 21st, we wanted to offer an overview of a distinct measure of success among our Aboriginal businesses – the business plan.

Business Plans  = Success

According to a report released in 2011 by Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) entitled Promise and Prosperity: The Aboriginal Business Survey, “successful Aboriginal small businesses are distinguished by their use of annual business plans” (p. 3). A business plan is a great way to take time and state exactly what the business vision is, what gaps in the market it is addressing, and laying out a plan for growth. It is a necessity when you are looking for outside sources of financing, but more importantly it is personally helpful toward focusing your vision and keeping you aligned towards success.

The report found interesting correlations between Aboriginal businesses that had a business plan and other positive characteristics, including:

  • Higher likelihood of innovation (p. 32)
  • Likelihood of business growth expectancy (p. 25)
  • More resilient to recessions (p. 26)
  • Better understanding of the business financial landscape (p. 31)

So, how can you create a successful business plan?

To promote the implementation of business plans in Aboriginal businesses, here are some great resources to help aspiring Aboriginal business owners and entrepreneurs. A more in-depth resource is outlined in our Business Plans key resource.

Aboriginal focused online resources:

Aboriginal Business Planning Workbook – a comprehensive guide focused on Aboriginal communities in Alberta but helpful for any aspiring Aboriginal business owner in Canada
Journey to Success: Aboriginal Women’s Business Planning Guide – also quite comprehensive, and contains a sample business plan for First Nations Bookkeeping Services

Aboriginal assistance for planning your business:

Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) program – a free training series offered in BC by the Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship. BEST program information for 2014 will be announced by the end of June 2014 so check there website frequently!
Aboriginal Business Development Program - With other partners this government program offers financial assistance to help with the business planning stage and other areas of business development for Aboriginal people.

See sample business plans for ideas: – an extensive online resource with sample plans to get you started
Gale Business Plan Handbook - available electronically at many BC public libraries
Carnegie Library of Pittsberg's Business Plans and Profiles Index

General Resources:

Canada Business Network – the business planning section has a wonderful overview and a rich collection of resources
Small Business BC – key resource is a Business Planning Guide to get you started
BDC business plan template
Futurpreneur Business Plan Writer

Alternatively, if you do not have time to pull together a full business plan, it is still beneficial to conduct business mapping as advised by Small Business BC. Although not as comprehensive as the creation of a full business plan, it is sufficient in laying out a clear vision and set of goals to focus on in the formative stage of your business.

Happy business planning, and enjoy the celebrations around British Columbia celebrating our Aboriginal community! Check out happenings around British Columbia and follow the hashtag #NADCanada on Twitter to keep informed of events.

If you have suggestion other resource we should include - let us know in the comments below!

Related SBA blog posts:
Aboriginal Business Education and Resources: A look at Ch'nook Indigenous Business Education (28 June 2013)
Demographic Information on Aboriginal Entrepreneurs and Businesses (21 June 2013)
Funding & Financing for Aboriginal Entrepreneurs (5 June 2013)

PHOTO CREDIT: Vision, created by bykst on unknown date. Image made available via Pixabay under CC0 1.0 Universal - Public Domain License. Last viewed on 18 June 2014.