So you’ve come up with a phenomenal new business idea and want to start your own business; fantastic! Small businesses play a crucial role in Canada’s economy, with nearly 70% of private-sector workers being employed by small-medium enterprises (SME’s) in 2012. While it can be difficult knowing where to begin after coming up with a great new business idea, one good place to start is by writing a business plan. This will help you attain any investment support you might need to help get your business up and running, and will also help keep your goals in focus.
Writing a business plan is a crucial step, and can be stressful with all of the components that need to be covered. There are some key things to keep in mind when getting started on your business plan;
Consider your goals. What are you looking to achieve immediately? Is your business plan going to be used to secure financing? Or simply to communicate the goals and future plans for the business? Certain audiences will have a bigger focus on certain pieces of information, and business plans should be tailored to suit their audience. For example, potential investors will be particularly interested in the state of the existing market, forecasted sales figures and profit margins, capital previously invested and historic performance and experience, among other things.
Get an understanding of the market your business will be operating in. There are many, many questions that should be answered here; who will your business be competing with? What do these competitors do, and what do they not do? How well are they performing? Are there any significant market trends that are occurring, or are expected to occur soon? Who will you be selling your products and services to? What are these consumers looking for? Having an understanding of your surroundings is vital to business success and incorporating this research and consideration in your business plan, will help design goals for your plan that are reasonable, sustainable and practical.
Do the math. Having numbers that make sense and cover all of the bases is critical to ensuring that your business plan will be taken seriously. Be thorough and detailed in your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow estimates. Having a breakdown and explanation for your numbers will also help readers understand where they come from, and whether they are reasonable or not.
Cover all the major areas. Aside from the business overview and goals and market research and competition, factors such as finances, marketing plans, operational plans, products and management structure should also be included in the plan.
Review again. Review one last time. Making sure the layout and grammar of your business plan makes sense and is proper will help readers take you and your business more seriously. Ensuring all the components mentioned above are included, and that figures are given proper explanations. If possible, have someone independent from the business review the plan, and take any constructive criticism.
One thing any business will also want to consider as it begins to open its doors is reliable commercial insurance. There are many myths concerning business insurance, but the facts are that if you plan to own and run a business, you should seriously look into business insurance. Insurance for things such as professional liability, property, workers compensation, vehicle, product liability and interruption can help protect your business in unforeseen times.
If you’re starting a new business and are looking for advice on where to begin with business insurance, our team is here to help you understand your options in ways that are easy to understand. Contact our Barrie or Orillia office today to learn more about how we can help protect your business.