Why do you need a business plan?
Like everything in life, tasks become more focused and easier to execute when they have solid plans behind them. Your business is no different. From idea to implementation, your business is always evolving and changing. A business plan is a structured document – a roadmap - that helps the business owner plan for growth.

Your business plan will essentially be a list of answers to the questions you should be asking, including: Who are your clients? Who is your competition? How will you compete? How much will you sell? At what prices? What do you project your revenues and profit margins to be in the next year? In the next two years? How do you plan to expand?

Answering these questions in a formal document will not only give your business a structured way to seek funding, it will provide a template to work with to create growth mechanisms, reduce risks and point your business in the right direction.

What should you include in a business plan?
Your business plan should be about understanding the basics: your market, what you are selling and why it is unique. As well, it should include a marketing strategy, mapping out the financials and setting measurable goals. It should also evolve as your business grows and become a living document that gets updated with every stage of growth.

Business Profile
In this section you will describe yourself, your team, your business and your business idea’s history. The goal is to show that you are the right people, who have the right experience to pull off your business venture. How did the idea come to form, and what background knowledge do you have that will contribute to its success?

Finances
The rule of thumb when writing the financial section of a business plan is to be realistic. Potential funders will rely on this information to decide whether or not the investment is feasible. This section should identify your current, as well as projected sales targets.

Operations
Outline your business by its product and/or services. Use this section to demonstrate your understanding of your business and how it functions. Outline how your business will function – how many employees will you need? What kind of human resources structure will you need?

Marketing
This is a very important part of your business plan. Here, you will need to outline your understanding of the market you’re in and how your business fits into the grand scheme of things. Moreover, you will identify how your business will be marketed to future clients, helping to identify and grow your brand. From this section, you will be able to apply this knowledge to most efficiently tap in to the market you’ve chosen.

Your business plan will serve as the backbone of your business structure and will help guide you and your investors as you move forward.

Still unsure if you’re ready to tackle this on your own? A business coach at YES can help answer any questions you may have. Visit us at www.yesmontreal.ca for more details on how to schedule your free consult.