A business plan is a written document that describes your business, its objectives and strategies, the market you're targeting and your financial requirements and expectations. It's important to have a business plan because it helps you set realistic goals, secure external funding, measure your success, clarify operational requirements and establish reasonable financial forecasts. Preparing a business plan will also help you focus on how to operate your new business and give it the best chance for success.
The length and detail of your plan will depend on the nature of the business you're starting. If you're starting a part-time or home-based business on a shoestring budget, your plan may not be as comprehensive as someone seeking thousands of dollars in financing, but you still should create a plan that outlines your goals, expected costs, marketing plan and exit strategy.
Download the Small Business Centre's Business Plan Checklist to get started on your plan.
Additional resources and business plan templates to help you get started:
Bplans.com contains the largest single collection of free sample business plans online. In addition to that, it has helpful tools and know- how for managing your business.
Canada Business Web site
Find out how to write a business plan and access templates and sample business plans.
Sample Business Plans
Visit the Small Business Centre in person to review a compilation of actual business plans developed by small businesses throughout North America (9 volumes are available).
Caution: Utilizing a template or a software program to craft a business plan may make it simpler to put a business plan together, but there are limitations when it comes to creating a unique presentation. This lack of uniqueness can be a problem when a business wants to stand out to potential lenders and investors. Thus, while these business plan tools can be useful in putting a preliminary business plan together, they are not always useful in the long term.