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Sample business plans and templates
Sample business plans and templates can help you develop a professional document that will serve as an in-depth marketing tool to convince others of your venture's potential for success. However, creating your own plan can be a complex process, and you may need the assistance of a professional (like an accountant) depending on the type of business you have (or want to run), and what you are seeking in terms of investment.
Business development organizations and Canadian banks have free templates, writing guides, sample plans, and even interactive tools available online. These resources allow you to walk through a plan line by line. You will get a sense of the information you might be asked to provide when you are looking for financing, for example.
While many of these online tools are free, you may choose to purchase software that will help you prepare your plans and forecasts.
Business development organizations
These organizations may provide tools to help their clients prepare professional business plans through their regional offices or via the Web.
- SBC Ontario - What is a Business Plan? Take a free online small business course about various types of business plans and how these might fit your business and intended audience.
- CBDC - Business Plan You can use this fillable business planning tool to prepare your business plan.
- BDC - Business plan template You can create your own professional business plan with the help of the BDC sample plan and business plan template.
- Futurpreneur Canada - Business Plan Writer Are you ready to start your business? You can use this online tool to develop, write, and download your business plan.
- Planning for success: your guide to preparing a business and marketing plan Learn about 9 essential sections of a business plan and what to include in each one.
If you approach a bank for help with financing, the bankers will want your business plan to include the specific information they need to make their decision. These requirements may vary from one bank to another, and from one type of business to another. Therefore, if you know which institution(s) you would like to speak with, it's a good idea to see what key sections they would like included.
- Bank of Montreal - Tools and tips for small business owners Find planning resources that can help you start, grow and improve your business.
- RBC Royal Bank - Starting a Business Learn about key sections of a business plan.
- Scotiabank - Business Plan Writer Access an interactive tool to help you create an effective business plan.
- National Bank - My Business Model If you are starting or growing a business, use this business model tool to help with your planning process.
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Invest in the future of your business by taking the time to create or update your business plan using our free template .
The importance of your business plan
Perhaps the most important document for any new business is a business plan. Yet too many business owners fail to sit down and prepare or update one.
A business without a plan is adrift. Decisions are made reactively based on the owner’s emotions, rather than prudent research. Employees, vendors, investors and other stakeholders (as well as the owner) are unclear about the direction of the company. That lack of focus results in wasted dollars, energies and resources as the company zigzags along instead of following a well-planned straight line to its goals.
Writing a business plan can seem a daunting task. Many entrepreneurs simply don’t have the time, inclination or the proper tools.
Business planning template
We have developed a template that makes creating your Business Plan easy. And it’s free!
This template guides you through all of the steps required to complete a proper business plan. It has explanations of the terms and definitions. It lets you add your own thoughts and comments.
Once you’ve completed the steps, you’ll have a business plan complete with cover page, contact information, financial tables, product descriptions and marketing details. You can save and print the plan, or send it electronically to anyone.
Use your plan to move your business forward with confidence, to motive your team, or to present to investors or lenders.
Depending on how much research and preparation you’ve already completed, creating your plan won’t consume much time at all. While it’s very easy, don’t worry if you get stuck because help is available throughout the process.
Take your plan to the bank
Once you’ve completed your business plan, you may take it to a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor . The advisor can review your plan, supply feedback, and, if requested, help you to explore your financing options.
Get feedback on your plan
Asking people to review your plan will make it stronger because you’ll receive valuable feedback. Share it with your accountant, lawyer, financial advisor and trusted businesspeople so they can offer their suggestions to improve your plan. If you are really worried about someone reading your secrets, consider attaching a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to the plan. An NDA is a legal document that prevents others from sharing your information with unauthorized parties.
Before you take action on any of the information above, we recommend consulting with a qualified business advisor that understands your unique needs and situation for your specific business and/or personal plans.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Create Your Business Plan
Your business plan is a document that should grow with your business. It should undergo constant revisions as your business evolves and expands.
- What Your Business Plan Will Do For You
- Sample Business Plans
- General Business Planning Help
What Your Business Plan Will Do For You
- Be a reality check! It will force you to identify your business strengths and weaknesses.
- Help you figure out your budget.
- Provide a clear direction, which can keep you focused and help eliminate stress.
- Be your timetable for operations
- Help you coordinate all the diverse activities that go into running your business.
- Serve as a resume when you seek lenders, suppliers, investors or partners.
- Ensure you evaluate the market for your product or services and size up the competition.
- Provide a clear starting point for future business planning.
Sample Business Plans
Bplans.com This site offers a selection of free sample business plans, as well as articles on business planning. Bplans.com also sells business planning software.
Business Plans Handbook, Gale Publishing This is a database of actual business plans written by North American entrepreneurs seeking financing for their businesses. Includes examples of many start-up business ideas. Access is available through many BC public libraries, made possible by a generous donation from the Sutherland Foundation. Affiliates of UBC can start here .
Center for Business Planning The MOOT CORP® Competition simulated the experience of entrepreneurs pitching investors for funding. Although the competition is no longer held, the business plans presented by MBAs from the best business schools in the world can still be found on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
Futurpreneur - Business Plan Writer An interactive, online, tool that allows you to customize your business plan. Includes tips & tricks and can be downloaded to a word, excel or PDF file.
Business Development Canada (BDC) - Business Plan Template This is one of the best downloadable business plan templates. The business plan contains 2 sections, with a glossary and user guide.
Canada Business Site An excellent source for financing, permit, and business planning information. Includes a complete list of useful templates.
SCORE SCORE is a non profit association helping small businesses. Their library includes templates for business plans, SWOT analysis, financial projections and more.
General Business Planning Help
Small Business BC (SBBC) SBBC is a great place to start for information on BC specific regulations and guidelines, for whatever stage you are in your business development. This is a great post on the topic.
GoForthInstitute An excellent collection of free resources for entrepreneurs on diverse subjects. Of particular interest are the How-To Guides, templates and samples, and business calculators. They also offer low-cost video training.
Small Business Planner, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) This website includes information and resources that will help you at any stage of the business lifecycle. Watch their series of business planning videos here .
Need information on business research as you write your business plan? Check out our Beginner's Guide to Business Research , or go to our collection of 100+ Industry Guides for industry-specific research help.