8 Must-Haves for Your Business Plan

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Your brain is cooking with your new business idea. Positively boiling over, in fact.
Your bright idea has passed the “friend” test, the “neighbour” test, the “Mom” test and most importantly, the “loans officer” test.However, writing a good business plan is a bit like a trip to the dentist for a major filling. You have to do it, and it does hurt a little. Lots of drilling. Or you can hire someone else, like me, to do it for you.Either way, you’ll still have to do a lot of homework..Beyond name, address, contact info, your background, and what business you want to develop, here’s a sample of what you MUST put in there, or be sent to stand in the corner until you are ready to do it properly.

  1. Economic, social and cultural factors – say why, in today’s high-tech, super-fast, shop from your phone world, is your product or service going to have a home in the mad marketplace? Rummage around on the Statistics Canada website http://www.statcan.gc.ca to find some trends to support your observations.
  2. If you get lost on the Stats Can website, call one of their friendly info officers. I’ve had terrific luck with them. They’ll move heaven and earth to help you find what you need, walking you through the process as you work through the Stats Can maze.
  3. Google for studies and trends. Oh, and be sure to say where you found the stuff – funders like to know your research is sound and that you didn’t just pull it out of a hat.
  4. Make sure it’s clear you know who your client is, and why they’ll want what you offer. Put this logic into your plan.
  5. Government regulations. If you haven’t thought of this one,do it now. If you want to import a product from China, find out about the red tape, and write it all down.Then say what you plan to do about it.
  6. Pricing. Know your price point. Where will the profits come from?
  7. Competitors – list them all. Say what they do well and what they do poorly. Say why what you do is better and what you plan to do so that your market will recognize this and come to you.
  8. If this seems overwhelming and writing is not your strongest skill, hire a business plan writer. I give my clients homework, and do the writing for them. It saves wear and tear on your nerves and frees up your time to make sure you have everything you need in the plan.

Good luck!

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About Jane Carthew Davidson

As a former senior public relations specialist with a large publicly traded multi-national chemical company, Jane Carthew Davidson produced the company’s award winning annual report for several years. Later, she was media relations specialist for Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), where she wrote speeches for the executive team, trained spokespersons across the province, and developed talking points and strategies designed to clarify the role played by property assessment within the municipal taxation system. Jane is a former business reporter for the Globe and Mail Report on Business, and the Toronto Star’s Business Today. Her articles have appeared in the Toronto Star, the Medical Post, the Anglican Journal, the Financial Post and most recently, the Globe and Mail’s special supplements on subjects as wide ranging as organic farming and new investment regulations. On several occasions, Jane’s media savvy and quick research skills enabled her to win broad media attention and investment queries from Canada, the Unites States and Europe, for a unique medical device start-up venture. Following Peterborough’s Flood of the Century in 2004, Jane handled media relations for the City of Peterborough, developing and implementing the communications plan for the city’s media outreach to afflicted citizens, concerned insurance companies, city staff and other government stakeholders.
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