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Careers at APEGA APEGA Most important, writing a business plan is a way to help you succeed. That's because writing a plan forces you to answer tough questions about every aspect of your business, including the close relationship between it and your personal life. The most important user of your business plan is you. The information, insights, and strategies you outline will have a direct impact on your own life. So if you come across a section that you're convinced has no relevance to you and your business, skip it. And, if you're going to be the only user of your plan, feel free to use bullet points and lists instead of complete sentences. This section presents basic information about your business. You can save as you go using "save" so you can return later Both of these can be found in the top right of each page. Some information you enter will be used to fill in a cover letter and a cover page, if you decide to print them as part of your final document. If you're starting up, talk about what led you to start this business, briefly discuss any relevant experience you bring to it, and outline steps you've already taken to get your business off the ground. The plans you make now for your business can help you achieve your personal goals, whatever they may be. It's essential to keep in mind what's important to you and what you want to achieve in both your business and your personal life when writing your business plan. Objectives help you track your business' success according to plan. Your objectives might set targets for sales, profitability, even hours of personal time per week - whatever is most relevant to you, your business, and success as you define it. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time focusing on details, like how to satisfy a specific customer or negotiate with a certain supplier. But your business also operates within a much larger context. Every industry is shaped by a range of factors that affect how customers behave and businesses operate. As you consider industry factors and trends, pay special attention to those you think present special opportunities or challenges for your business. Describe factors and trends affecting your industry, and consider their implications for your business. Issues to think about include: Demographic: These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. Learn More Economic: These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? Learn More Technological: These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the Internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Learn More Regulatory: These describe the role government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. Learn More Environmental: Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. Others like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against. If you're starting up or run an established business, understanding your competitors can help you spot the most under-served customers and the greatest opportunities for success. If you’re winding down, identifying competitors may help you find potential buyers for your business. If you compete with many businesses, consider breaking your competition into categories based on what they offer, and present your main competitors in each cetagory. For instance, a tire retailer might compete with other tire stores, auto dealers, independent mechanics, and large hardware chains. Market Share, from those you think do the most business to those you think do the least, or to group them as "large," "mid-size," and "small" competitors. This can help you understand how you competitors share the marketplace, and where you might be able to carve out a piece for yourself. Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes. By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. The best positioning for your company: Provide brief profiles of any external advisors to your business. These may include professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, and others on whose advice you rely in running your business. If you're winding down, outline any succession plans that provide for management or ownership of the company after your departure. As you draw up your plans, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, and your banker. Alliances are special relationships you have with other businesses that complement your products or services with their own. Often, they can help your business reach new customers or better serve existing ones. It's likely that your business plan involves adding to or changing some aspect of your business. Such decisions can have a significant impact on your business' financial position, and it's crucial to consider them carefully. If you run an established business, detail any major additions or changes you are planning to make. If you're starting up, think about what you need today and what you may need in the future. Consider: As a business owner, it's important to plan for potential changes - in your marketplace, in your community, or in your life. You'll have a much greater chance of succeeding in even the most difficult times if you have a contingency plan. We've done our best to make financial statements understandable. That said, if accounting is not your area of expertise, you may want to work with an accredited accountant or bookkeeper to complete this section. Especially if you aren't familiar with financial statements, it's a good idea to have your Financial Information section reviewed by a reputable accountant or bookkeeper before you share it with others. There are a number of great accounting software programs on the market that can help you complete your Financial Information. If you currently use accounting software to prepare your financial statements, you may use it instead of the templates included here to prepare this section of your business plan. That's why it's crucial to develop a personal financial plan that you periodically review in conjunction with your business plan, planning your personal finances and goals with your business'. There are a number of elements to a personal financial plan, from how you manage your investments and finance your mortgage, to education, retirement, and will and estate planning. Scotiabank offers a range of tools to help you develop and implement a personal financial plan that will help you achieve your goals—and, in turn, help your business succeed. You can learn more about these tools at Get Growing for Business or speak to your Financial Advisor at your local Scotiabank branch. If you run an established business, financial statements from the last few years will communicate where your business is coming from. The more years of historical information you provide, the deeper the insight you'll give into your business' financial position and how it has changed over time. If you already have completed financial statements, you may either attach them in this section of your business plan or enter your business' information into the templates provided. Whatever life stage your business is in, projected financial statements - or "Pro Forma" statements - can help you work through various "what if" scenarios for your business, and allow you to plan where you want your business to go. Note: If you are seeking financing for your business, some lenders or investors may require Audited or Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create projected Balance Sheets that reflect your business plan. That means estimating your assets, liabilities, and equity for coming years. A Balance Sheet is divided into 3 sections: If you run an established business, include past Balance Sheets for your business, ideally for the last three years. If you're starting up, create a Balance Sheet by detailing assets and liabilities your business already has. Income Statement is a summary of your business' performance over a specified period of time, normally one year. It starts with your business' revenues (also called sales) and subtracts the expenses incurred to generate those revenues. If you run an established business, include Income Statements for your business, ideally for the last three years. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create Pro Forma, or projected, Income Statements that reflects your business plan. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. That means estimating your sales, cost of goods of sold (for non-service businesses), expenses - including depreciation, interest, and income taxes - and profit for coming years. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Financial ratios - calculations that relate one item in your financial statements to another - can be valuable tools for assessing your business' financial well-being. In most cases, the usefulness of financial ratios depends on a clear understanding of the relationship between the numbers used and their implications for your day-to-day business. That's why, unless you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, you may want to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you interpret your financial statements and financial ratios. Liquidity describes your business' ability to meet current obligations, like paying supplier invoices or making upcoming loan payments, from assets that can be quickly turned into cash. Generally, the higher the Current Ratio, the more confident you can be of your business' ability to pay short-term obligations. A current ratio of less than 1:1 may mean your business does not have sufficient resources to meet its commitments in the near future and needs additional financing. The Return on Equity Ratio measures the return your business generates for owners who have invested in it. By measuring the percentage return to owners on their cash equity contributions, it is a general indicator of how efficiently your business makes use of owners' money. A low Gross Profit Margin may indicate that your business is selling goods at too low a price, that demand for your product is weak, or that direct material, direct labour, or manufacturing overhead costs can be better controlled. The Net Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar of sales that remains after all expenses have been deducted. When compared to your Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin can be an important indication of how your business manages its expenses. The Debt to Equity Ratio describes the relationship between liabilities and equity. It compares the level of financing provided by creditors like suppliers and banks to the amount that owners have invested in the business. Here you have the option to give a summary of, or state key conclusions you've drawn from, your financial statements. These highlights will appear at the front of the Financial Information section of your finished plan. Now that the key components of your business plan are in place, you're ready ti transform them into a finished document. In Executive Summary, you'll provide an essential quick reference for readers (including yourself) by summarizing the key findings of your plan. In Presentation, you'll have the opportunity to add a customized cover letter, cover page, and table of contents to your plan. The last section you'll write and the first one read, the Executive Summary is a very important page of your business plan. It serves as both an introduction to your plan and a wrap-up of your key findings, insights, and strategies. Well-written, enthusiastic, and to-the-point, it convinces readers to delve deeper. Even if you're only preparing your plan for your own use, it's a good idea to write an Executive Summary, since it gathers the main points of your plan in one place. It may include: Cover Letter: When submitting your business plan to people outside your business, a cover letter can be a simple, effective way to break the ice, introduce your plan, and establish your professional credibility. The Scotia Plan Writer for business™ includes a standard cover letter that you can customize to reflect the unique interests of your audience. Remember, different circumstances and different audiences require different things from your business plan. In presenting your business plan to a new employee, for instance, your Executive Summary might be more focused on your Business Vision, and you may choose not to share your Financial Information. That's why the Scotia Plan Writer for business™ is designed for flexibility once you publish your plan. Using Microsoft Word, you can: By reading below, you can find ideas about which sections of your plan will be relevant to different people, plus materials you should consider including in an appendix to appeal to them. In each case, you'll want to tailor the Executive Summary to your audience. Most readers of your plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible, even as you include the key facts they need. Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan, to test your assumptions, ensure you haven't overlooked anything, and make sure any financial solutions he or she offers fit with your personal and business needs. If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming Statement of Net Worth. In addition, he or she will carefully review your Financial Information, and may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. It's always a good idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan. Your accountant may be especially interested in the Business Description section, and your goals and objectives in particular; Business Operations, which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements; and Financial Information. Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if he or she understands both your personal and business needs. Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them. When it comes to Financial Information, they may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. While you may choose to withhold your Personal Goals and Personal Finances, consider including an Appendix that includes references for your professional advisors; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; and past advertisements and promotional materials. Business/Personal Advisors may be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insight. You may choose not to share personal sections of the plan - like your Personal Statement of Net Worth - with your business advisors. To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an Appendix that includes references for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; past advertisements and promotional materials; and competitors' advertisements, and other materials about them. Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to the Business Description section (excluding your Personal Goals), especially your objectives and your description of your product or service; The Marketplace, which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes; and Sales & Marketing, where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies. Consider adding an Appendix that includes: photographs of your product or service, past advertisements and other promotional materials, and competitors' advertisements and other materials about them. Your lawyer may be most interested in Business Description, The Marketplace, and Business Operations, all of which may provide special insight into legal issues. Your lawyer may also want to see Financial Information. Your existing employees may benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your Personal Goals and Personal Finances. Prospective employees may be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share Business Description (excluding Personal Goals), Sales and Marketing, and an appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials, and photographs of your product or service. Take decisive action to seize opportunities and overcome challenges you've identified. Potential buyers of your business may have their interest piqued by the Business Overview and Product or service description in Business Description. Here are some guidelines to using your plan in the coming weeks, months, and years: are financial statements that forecast when and how much money your business will collect and pay out over a specified period of time, usually one year, and help budget money coming in against money going the agreed-upon parameters that dictate when and how much your customers pay you for goods or services they don’t pay for immediately at the time of purchase (or, alternatively, when and how much you pay your suppliers for purchases you make on account). As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing The Marketplace, Sales & Marketing, Business Operations, and your business' Financial Information. Credit terms usually include a period of time during which payment must be made (e.g. After you complete your business plan, you're in a position to transform what you've learned into action. 30 days), and sometimes include a discount for payment within a certain period of time. is calculated as current assets divided by current liabilities. It is a measure of your business’ liquidity, or the availability of cash or assets that can be converted easily to cash to run the business and meet short-term obligations. are amounts paid to suppliers for products or services that you intend to resell to your customers. For example, a contractor would include all amounts paid to subcontractors for job-related work during the year. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. is the difference between a business’ assets and liabilities. It includes money that owners or shareholders have contributed to the business and profits that have been reinvested in it. For a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is often called “owner’s equity”. For an incorporated business, it can be referred to as “shareholder’s equity”. represents the amount of money (equity) owners, partners, or shareholders have invested in the business, excluding owner’s – or shareholder’s – loans. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, this is known as “cash equity contributions”. For incorporated companies, it is known as “capital stock”., also called capital assets, are long-term assets that you expect will still be helping your business make money beyond the next twelve months, like land, buildings, equipment, and other items you use in your business operations. With the exception of land, which is always listed at its cost, all fixed assets are subject to depreciation. captures the relationship between sales and cost of goods sold. It’s the percentage of every dollar in sales you have left over after paying direct costs for manufacturing or acquiring goods sold, to cover all remaining expenses and taxes. It is the amount you pay in interest on your business borrowings during a specified period, and may include interest on your operating line of credit, term loans, credit card balances, and loans from finance companies and other lenders. is a business structure, where there are two kinds of partners: general partners who manage the business and are personally liable for debts, and limited partners whose participation in the business is limited to investing money, and whose liability is consequently limited to their investment in the business. is the total amount you owe on long-term loans, including mortgages. The amount due in the next 12 months, called the current portion of long-term debt, is listed as a current liability on your Balance Sheet. The portion not due to be repaid in the next 12 months is listed as a long-term liability. is the relative size of one business’ portion of the market. In percentage terms, it is one business’ sales of a particular product or service divided by the total sales for that product or service in the marketplace. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. are the amounts owed to you, your partners, or other shareholders for loans made to your business, which are expected to be repaid. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, these are known as “owner’s loans”. For incorporated businesses, they are known as “shareholder’s loans”. are financial statements that have been reviewed by an independent accountant who determines whether they are plausible within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Accounts receivable are the total amounts customers owe your business on the date of your Balance Sheet. A review engagement is similar to an audit, except that no opinion is expressed on the statements. When recording them on your Balance Sheet, be sure to subtract out “bad debts” – receivables you believe will never be collected. is a legal structure of a business, where the business is wholly owned by one person, called the sole proprietor. Inventory is the raw materials, partially completed products, and finished goods that your business is currently holding to sell to your customers. The business owner and the business are not separate legal entities, which means the sole proprietor personally owns the business’ assets and is liable for all business the name your business “goes by,” which can be different from its legal name. On your Balance Sheet, inventory is usually listed at the cost you paid to acquire it. If, however, your inventory’s current market value is below the price you paid for it – because, say, prices have fallen or items have become outdated or damaged – you should list it at its current market value. Prepaid expenses arise when your business pays for something "up front." For instance, say you paid

Careers at APEGA APEGA Most important, writing a business plan is a way to help you succeed. That's because writing a plan forces you to answer tough questions about every aspect of your business, including the close relationship between it and your personal life. The most important user of your business plan is you. The information, insights, and strategies you outline will have a direct impact on your own life. So if you come across a section that you're convinced has no relevance to you and your business, skip it. And, if you're going to be the only user of your plan, feel free to use bullet points and lists instead of complete sentences. This section presents basic information about your business. You can save as you go using "save" so you can return later Both of these can be found in the top right of each page. Some information you enter will be used to fill in a cover letter and a cover page, if you decide to print them as part of your final document. If you're starting up, talk about what led you to start this business, briefly discuss any relevant experience you bring to it, and outline steps you've already taken to get your business off the ground. The plans you make now for your business can help you achieve your personal goals, whatever they may be. It's essential to keep in mind what's important to you and what you want to achieve in both your business and your personal life when writing your business plan. Objectives help you track your business' success according to plan. Your objectives might set targets for sales, profitability, even hours of personal time per week - whatever is most relevant to you, your business, and success as you define it. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time focusing on details, like how to satisfy a specific customer or negotiate with a certain supplier. But your business also operates within a much larger context. Every industry is shaped by a range of factors that affect how customers behave and businesses operate. As you consider industry factors and trends, pay special attention to those you think present special opportunities or challenges for your business. Describe factors and trends affecting your industry, and consider their implications for your business. Issues to think about include: Demographic: These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. Learn More Economic: These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? Learn More Technological: These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the Internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Learn More Regulatory: These describe the role government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. Learn More Environmental: Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. Others like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against. If you're starting up or run an established business, understanding your competitors can help you spot the most under-served customers and the greatest opportunities for success. If you’re winding down, identifying competitors may help you find potential buyers for your business. If you compete with many businesses, consider breaking your competition into categories based on what they offer, and present your main competitors in each cetagory. For instance, a tire retailer might compete with other tire stores, auto dealers, independent mechanics, and large hardware chains. Market Share, from those you think do the most business to those you think do the least, or to group them as "large," "mid-size," and "small" competitors. This can help you understand how you competitors share the marketplace, and where you might be able to carve out a piece for yourself. Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes. By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. The best positioning for your company: Provide brief profiles of any external advisors to your business. These may include professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, and others on whose advice you rely in running your business. If you're winding down, outline any succession plans that provide for management or ownership of the company after your departure. As you draw up your plans, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, and your banker. Alliances are special relationships you have with other businesses that complement your products or services with their own. Often, they can help your business reach new customers or better serve existing ones. It's likely that your business plan involves adding to or changing some aspect of your business. Such decisions can have a significant impact on your business' financial position, and it's crucial to consider them carefully. If you run an established business, detail any major additions or changes you are planning to make. If you're starting up, think about what you need today and what you may need in the future. Consider: As a business owner, it's important to plan for potential changes - in your marketplace, in your community, or in your life. You'll have a much greater chance of succeeding in even the most difficult times if you have a contingency plan. We've done our best to make financial statements understandable. That said, if accounting is not your area of expertise, you may want to work with an accredited accountant or bookkeeper to complete this section. Especially if you aren't familiar with financial statements, it's a good idea to have your Financial Information section reviewed by a reputable accountant or bookkeeper before you share it with others. There are a number of great accounting software programs on the market that can help you complete your Financial Information. If you currently use accounting software to prepare your financial statements, you may use it instead of the templates included here to prepare this section of your business plan. That's why it's crucial to develop a personal financial plan that you periodically review in conjunction with your business plan, planning your personal finances and goals with your business'. There are a number of elements to a personal financial plan, from how you manage your investments and finance your mortgage, to education, retirement, and will and estate planning. Scotiabank offers a range of tools to help you develop and implement a personal financial plan that will help you achieve your goals—and, in turn, help your business succeed. You can learn more about these tools at Get Growing for Business or speak to your Financial Advisor at your local Scotiabank branch. If you run an established business, financial statements from the last few years will communicate where your business is coming from. The more years of historical information you provide, the deeper the insight you'll give into your business' financial position and how it has changed over time. If you already have completed financial statements, you may either attach them in this section of your business plan or enter your business' information into the templates provided. Whatever life stage your business is in, projected financial statements - or "Pro Forma" statements - can help you work through various "what if" scenarios for your business, and allow you to plan where you want your business to go. Note: If you are seeking financing for your business, some lenders or investors may require Audited or Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create projected Balance Sheets that reflect your business plan. That means estimating your assets, liabilities, and equity for coming years. A Balance Sheet is divided into 3 sections: If you run an established business, include past Balance Sheets for your business, ideally for the last three years. If you're starting up, create a Balance Sheet by detailing assets and liabilities your business already has. Income Statement is a summary of your business' performance over a specified period of time, normally one year. It starts with your business' revenues (also called sales) and subtracts the expenses incurred to generate those revenues. If you run an established business, include Income Statements for your business, ideally for the last three years. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create Pro Forma, or projected, Income Statements that reflects your business plan. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. That means estimating your sales, cost of goods of sold (for non-service businesses), expenses - including depreciation, interest, and income taxes - and profit for coming years. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Financial ratios - calculations that relate one item in your financial statements to another - can be valuable tools for assessing your business' financial well-being. In most cases, the usefulness of financial ratios depends on a clear understanding of the relationship between the numbers used and their implications for your day-to-day business. That's why, unless you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, you may want to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you interpret your financial statements and financial ratios. Liquidity describes your business' ability to meet current obligations, like paying supplier invoices or making upcoming loan payments, from assets that can be quickly turned into cash. Generally, the higher the Current Ratio, the more confident you can be of your business' ability to pay short-term obligations. A current ratio of less than 1:1 may mean your business does not have sufficient resources to meet its commitments in the near future and needs additional financing. The Return on Equity Ratio measures the return your business generates for owners who have invested in it. By measuring the percentage return to owners on their cash equity contributions, it is a general indicator of how efficiently your business makes use of owners' money. A low Gross Profit Margin may indicate that your business is selling goods at too low a price, that demand for your product is weak, or that direct material, direct labour, or manufacturing overhead costs can be better controlled. The Net Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar of sales that remains after all expenses have been deducted. When compared to your Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin can be an important indication of how your business manages its expenses. The Debt to Equity Ratio describes the relationship between liabilities and equity. It compares the level of financing provided by creditors like suppliers and banks to the amount that owners have invested in the business. Here you have the option to give a summary of, or state key conclusions you've drawn from, your financial statements. These highlights will appear at the front of the Financial Information section of your finished plan. Now that the key components of your business plan are in place, you're ready ti transform them into a finished document. In Executive Summary, you'll provide an essential quick reference for readers (including yourself) by summarizing the key findings of your plan. In Presentation, you'll have the opportunity to add a customized cover letter, cover page, and table of contents to your plan. The last section you'll write and the first one read, the Executive Summary is a very important page of your business plan. It serves as both an introduction to your plan and a wrap-up of your key findings, insights, and strategies. Well-written, enthusiastic, and to-the-point, it convinces readers to delve deeper. Even if you're only preparing your plan for your own use, it's a good idea to write an Executive Summary, since it gathers the main points of your plan in one place. It may include: Cover Letter: When submitting your business plan to people outside your business, a cover letter can be a simple, effective way to break the ice, introduce your plan, and establish your professional credibility. The Scotia Plan Writer for business™ includes a standard cover letter that you can customize to reflect the unique interests of your audience. Remember, different circumstances and different audiences require different things from your business plan. In presenting your business plan to a new employee, for instance, your Executive Summary might be more focused on your Business Vision, and you may choose not to share your Financial Information. That's why the Scotia Plan Writer for business™ is designed for flexibility once you publish your plan. Using Microsoft Word, you can: By reading below, you can find ideas about which sections of your plan will be relevant to different people, plus materials you should consider including in an appendix to appeal to them. In each case, you'll want to tailor the Executive Summary to your audience. Most readers of your plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible, even as you include the key facts they need. Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan, to test your assumptions, ensure you haven't overlooked anything, and make sure any financial solutions he or she offers fit with your personal and business needs. If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming Statement of Net Worth. In addition, he or she will carefully review your Financial Information, and may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. It's always a good idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan. Your accountant may be especially interested in the Business Description section, and your goals and objectives in particular; Business Operations, which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements; and Financial Information. Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if he or she understands both your personal and business needs. Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them. When it comes to Financial Information, they may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. While you may choose to withhold your Personal Goals and Personal Finances, consider including an Appendix that includes references for your professional advisors; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; and past advertisements and promotional materials. Business/Personal Advisors may be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insight. You may choose not to share personal sections of the plan - like your Personal Statement of Net Worth - with your business advisors. To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an Appendix that includes references for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; past advertisements and promotional materials; and competitors' advertisements, and other materials about them. Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to the Business Description section (excluding your Personal Goals), especially your objectives and your description of your product or service; The Marketplace, which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes; and Sales & Marketing, where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies. Consider adding an Appendix that includes: photographs of your product or service, past advertisements and other promotional materials, and competitors' advertisements and other materials about them. Your lawyer may be most interested in Business Description, The Marketplace, and Business Operations, all of which may provide special insight into legal issues. Your lawyer may also want to see Financial Information. Your existing employees may benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your Personal Goals and Personal Finances. Prospective employees may be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share Business Description (excluding Personal Goals), Sales and Marketing, and an appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials, and photographs of your product or service. Take decisive action to seize opportunities and overcome challenges you've identified. Potential buyers of your business may have their interest piqued by the Business Overview and Product or service description in Business Description. Here are some guidelines to using your plan in the coming weeks, months, and years: are financial statements that forecast when and how much money your business will collect and pay out over a specified period of time, usually one year, and help budget money coming in against money going the agreed-upon parameters that dictate when and how much your customers pay you for goods or services they don’t pay for immediately at the time of purchase (or, alternatively, when and how much you pay your suppliers for purchases you make on account). As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing The Marketplace, Sales & Marketing, Business Operations, and your business' Financial Information. Credit terms usually include a period of time during which payment must be made (e.g. After you complete your business plan, you're in a position to transform what you've learned into action. 30 days), and sometimes include a discount for payment within a certain period of time. is calculated as current assets divided by current liabilities. It is a measure of your business’ liquidity, or the availability of cash or assets that can be converted easily to cash to run the business and meet short-term obligations. are amounts paid to suppliers for products or services that you intend to resell to your customers. For example, a contractor would include all amounts paid to subcontractors for job-related work during the year. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. is the difference between a business’ assets and liabilities. It includes money that owners or shareholders have contributed to the business and profits that have been reinvested in it. For a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is often called “owner’s equity”. For an incorporated business, it can be referred to as “shareholder’s equity”. represents the amount of money (equity) owners, partners, or shareholders have invested in the business, excluding owner’s – or shareholder’s – loans. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, this is known as “cash equity contributions”. For incorporated companies, it is known as “capital stock”., also called capital assets, are long-term assets that you expect will still be helping your business make money beyond the next twelve months, like land, buildings, equipment, and other items you use in your business operations. With the exception of land, which is always listed at its cost, all fixed assets are subject to depreciation. captures the relationship between sales and cost of goods sold. It’s the percentage of every dollar in sales you have left over after paying direct costs for manufacturing or acquiring goods sold, to cover all remaining expenses and taxes. It is the amount you pay in interest on your business borrowings during a specified period, and may include interest on your operating line of credit, term loans, credit card balances, and loans from finance companies and other lenders. is a business structure, where there are two kinds of partners: general partners who manage the business and are personally liable for debts, and limited partners whose participation in the business is limited to investing money, and whose liability is consequently limited to their investment in the business. is the total amount you owe on long-term loans, including mortgages. The amount due in the next 12 months, called the current portion of long-term debt, is listed as a current liability on your Balance Sheet. The portion not due to be repaid in the next 12 months is listed as a long-term liability. is the relative size of one business’ portion of the market. In percentage terms, it is one business’ sales of a particular product or service divided by the total sales for that product or service in the marketplace. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. are the amounts owed to you, your partners, or other shareholders for loans made to your business, which are expected to be repaid. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, these are known as “owner’s loans”. For incorporated businesses, they are known as “shareholder’s loans”. are financial statements that have been reviewed by an independent accountant who determines whether they are plausible within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Accounts receivable are the total amounts customers owe your business on the date of your Balance Sheet. A review engagement is similar to an audit, except that no opinion is expressed on the statements. When recording them on your Balance Sheet, be sure to subtract out “bad debts” – receivables you believe will never be collected. is a legal structure of a business, where the business is wholly owned by one person, called the sole proprietor. Inventory is the raw materials, partially completed products, and finished goods that your business is currently holding to sell to your customers. The business owner and the business are not separate legal entities, which means the sole proprietor personally owns the business’ assets and is liable for all business the name your business “goes by,” which can be different from its legal name. On your Balance Sheet, inventory is usually listed at the cost you paid to acquire it. If, however, your inventory’s current market value is below the price you paid for it – because, say, prices have fallen or items have become outdated or damaged – you should list it at its current market value. Prepaid expenses arise when your business pays for something "up front." For instance, say you paid $1,000 for twelve months of insurance on September 1, and you're creating a Balance Sheet three months later, on December 1. You would list $750 as a prepaid expense, since only 25% of the period of coverage has expired. (Even though prepaid expenses never turn into cash, accounting convention dictates that they be included with current assets.) Depreciation is a way to reflect that fixed assets wear out or become obsolete over time, by gradually reducing the value of such assets on your Balance Sheet. Assume you spend $1,000 to buy a computer that you expect to replace in five years. Depreciation is an accounting practice that allows you to spread the expense of buying the computer over its estimated useful life, by, for example, deducting $200 from the value listed on your Balance Sheet each year for five years. Amortization is like depreciation, except it applies to intangible assets with a limited life. Accounting depreciation may vary from tax depreciation. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency, for standard depreciation rules for your business. Your objectives should move you closer to your Personal Goals and Business Vision. For instance, a reasonable short-term objective might be to obtain a loan to buy a new piece of equipment in the next three months, or to hire another person by the end of the year to free up personal time for yourself. A long-term objective might be to hit specific sales goals two years from now. Once you've completed your business plan, consider returning to Business Objectives. You may want to change or add new objectives as a result of the plan-writing process. These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. For instance, let's say you provide home delivery of hot meals to the elderly. If the number of elderly people in the general population is growing rapidly, it's a good sign for your business. If the number of elderly people is shrinking, on the other hand, you might consider targeting other types of customers. Statistics Canada These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? If you're an auto mechanic, for instance, a national economic downturn might be good for business, since customers may prefer to have their old cars repaired rather than buy new ones. Low interest rates, on the other hand, might lead potential customers to borrow money and buy new cars. These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Trade publications and technology-focused magazines are great sources of information about how technological factors and trends are affecting your industry. These describe the role of government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. For instance, chiropractors must earn a degree from an accredited chiropractic college, spend several years training, and finally pass a licensing exam before they may practice. Patents and copyrights can limit the amount of direct competition you face. Trade associations for your industry are a great place to start when researching regulatory factors and trends. Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. Others, like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. And some businesses - from allergists to trucking companies - work with potentially hazardous materials that they must take special care to administer and dispose of, which can have a significant impact on their costs. What is your industry's relationship to the environment? Are there any trends, like a call for environmentally-friendly products, that may affect the way your business operates? One of the best ways to identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is to approach them from a customer's perspective. Try visiting their business - in person, over the phone, or on their Web site - to find out what they offer and for how much, or have an unbiased friend do this sort of research for you. Also, pay attention to advertisements, which contain lots of information about how your competitors perceive their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're targeting individual consumers, think in terms of defining characteristics like age, gender, income level, culture and lifestyle. If you're targeting other businesses, think in terms of the size of those businesses, and how and by whom buying decisions are made within them. While your competitive advantage describes what makes your business special from the inside, your positioning states what makes it special from the outside - from the customer's perspective. For example, a yoga instructor may position her services in a way that emphasizes health, prestige, or cost. Different positioning attracts different clientele. Finally, remember that lower prices may mean you'll sell more, but you'll make smaller profits on each sale. Higher prices will likely mean that you'll attract fewer customers - however, you may make more on each transaction. There are countless ways to promote your business in the marketplace. You can set up a website, speak at conferences, send a newsletter, hold a contest, print a brochure, air a radio commercial, or sponsor the local Little League team. Try visiting the Canada Business Services Centres' website at for more ideas, or consult any number of books on the subject at your local bookstore or library. If you run an established business, ask your existing customers how they found you. Plus, consider asking satisfied customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your business, or to provide customer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts. Customer service is a key part of keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. The right sort of customer service can help you appeal to your target customers, and can also offer them advantages that your competitors don't provide. Customer service can include ongoing technical support, loyalty programs, and even calling existing customers each month to see if they have any needs you can help with. Consider areas ranging from marketing, sales, and purchasing, to administration, legal, and bookkeeping. When deciding what sort of advisors your business might need, start by examining the profiles of your team. You'll likely find areas in which no one on your team has experience. These are the areas where you'll either require external advisors, or where you may need to hire additional staff. There are 2 kinds of external advisors that business owners should consider. Business/Personal advisors are unpaid individuals whose experiences and advice you and your business benefit from. A personal advisor may be a friend or family member, who offers guidance both in managing your business and in working towards the right work-life balance for you. Business advisors are mentors whose work skills and expertise go beyond your team's. By inviting such people to be advisors, you'll gain a valuable sounding board for your ideas and plans, and you may lend greater credibility to your business. Professional services advisors are paid professionals who are qualified to help you and your business in certain areas, like tax, legal, and finance. Suppliers include any business whose products or services you need to provide your offering to customers. If you run a mail-order specialty candy store, your suppliers include the wholesaler you buy your ingredients from, the designer and printer of your catalog, and the shipping service you use to send your product to customers. Your suppliers must be able to meet your needs in terms of delivery, billing, cost, and service. They should help you get your products to your customers on time, at the right place and in the right condition - all of which have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales success. If you run an established business, consider how your suppliers do this and if any improvements could be made. The right credit terms can be especially critical when working with suppliers. For instance, you may have a hard time paying the bills if your biggest supplier requires payment in 30 days, and your customers don't pay you for 60 days. Also, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of supplier discounts for paying within a certain period of time. If you're starting up, speaking with other businesses in your industry can be a great way to identify potential suppliers. When considering possible alliances, look for businesses that are a logical fit with your own. For instance, a copywriter might align herself with a design firm. That way, the copywriter can offer design services to her clients, and the design firm can offer copywriting services to theirs. Most businesses are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects you and your business against employee lawsuits related to work injuries and illnesses and provides benefits to injured employees. To learn more, visit the website of your provincial workers' compensation board or commission. Businesses that hold inventory show cost of goods sold. If your business only sells services, like aerobics class instruction, then you can skip the cost of goods sold section of the Income Statement. Cost of goods sold can be calculated by taking inventory at the start of the accounting period, adding any expenses that relate directly to your products, and subtracting the amount left in inventory at the end of the period. Different types of businesses include different costs in cost of goods sold: This can include employee salaries, hourly wages, commissions or the cost of providing additional benefits such as health insurance, a car allowance or the cost of any other benefits you offer your employees. Your tax rate is the percentage of your net profit before tax that you'll be required to pay in taxes. Only incorporated businesses show and subtract income tax on their Income Statements. That's because if you are sole proprietor or partner, you declare and pay these taxes on your personal income tax return. When compiling historical Income Statements, check your records or consult your accountant or bookkeeper to find out your tax rate in the past. If you're unable to estimate your tax rate for your projected Income Statements, it's acceptable to leave the line blank and end your Income Statement with net profit before tax. Your Cash Flow Projections detail when you expect to receive payments from sales and pay out expenses described in your projected Income Statement. If you're starting up, begin your projections by listing the amount and timing of special start-up expenditures, including purchase of start-up inventory, utility set-up fees, incorporation fees (if applicable), and other one-time expenses. In doing so, you may find it helpful to refer back to the Planned Changes section of your plan. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, how much cash you take in and pay out is based on the sales and expenses projections you made in your projected Income Statement. First, break down your projected annual sales from your projected Income Statement into monthly sales. For instance, a bricklayer might do the majority of his business during the summer months. Second, estimate what portion of your sales occur on a cash basis - that is, what percentage you get paid for immediately. This proportion decides how much to list as "cash sales" each month. Third, estimate what portion of your customers pay within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or beyond, based on the credit. Finally, list cash outflows as you expect to pay them. Include regular monthly expenses like rent and telephone charges, as well as expected expenditures for items like new equipment or repairs. If you run an established business, remember to reflect the fact that you expect to collect accounts receivable related to recent sales - not just sales projected on your projected Income Statement. If you have finished your business plan or would like to produce a hard copy of your business plan, you can use one of the two options below. By selecting "Copy To Text File" you will have copied all of the business plan into your memory or clipboard. Go to your desired word processor and select "Paste". You will most likely need to format the text and layout for your desired look. Or you can select "Export as Word Document" and you will be prompted for a file name and location. Once complete you can open the file you have just created using word. You now have a finished and formatted business plan. The next portion of writing your business plan involves creating some detailed financial statements including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement. If you prefer not to complete the financials, feel free to move onto section 7, where you’ll be able to complete your plan. ###data_your-name### ###data_business-legal-name### ###data_business-address### ###todays-date### ###data_cover-letter### ###data_salutation###, I'm very pleased to enclose my business plan for ###data_business-legal-name###. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about my business, a thorough assessment of opportunities in the marketplace, and a detailed plan for seizing them. I look forward to the possibility of working with you to make ###data_business-legal-name### a success in the coming months and years. _____________________ Executive Summary ###data_executive-summary### Business Plan ###data_business-legal-name### operating as ###data_business-trade-name### Legal name of business ###data_business-legal-name### Trade name of business ###data_business-trade-name### Business address ###data_business-address### Mailing address ###data_mailing-address### Phone number (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3### Fax number ###data_fax-numbers### E-mail address ###data_email-address### Structure of business ###business-type### Date business established ###data_date-established### Nature of business ###data_nature-of-business### Bank and branch location used for business matters ###data_business-branch-loc### Bank and branch location used for personal matters ###data_personal-branch-location### ###data_owner-name-label### ###data_ownership-percent-label### ###data_owner-name-1### ###data_ownership-percent-1### ###data_owner-name-2### ###data_ownership-percent-2### ###data_owner-name-3### ###data_ownership-percent-3### ###data_owner-name-4### ###data_ownership-percent-4### Business Background ###data_business-story-1### ###data_business-story-2### ###data_business-story-3### ###data_business-story-4### Personal Goals ###data_life-goals### ###data_business-goals### ###data_personal-goals### Business Vision ###data_business-vision### Business Objectives Short-term Objectives ###data_short-term-obj### Long-term Objectives ###data_long-term-obj### Product Description ###data_your-product### Competitive Advantage ###data_competitive-advantage### The Marketplace Industry Factors and Trends ###data_factors And Trends1### Industry Outlook ###data_industry-outlook### ###data_factors And Trends2### Market Size ###data_factors And Trends3### ###data_market-size### Competitors Competitive Environment ###data_main-competitors### ###data_rank-competitors### ###data_competitors-strength-weakness### Competitive Opportunities & Challenges Opportunities ###data_opportunity-and-challenge### Challenges ###data_competitor-protection### Customers Customer Segments ###data_market-segments### Target Customers ###data_target-customers### Sales & Marketing Positioning ###data_key-benefits### Pricing ###data_explain-pricing### Promotion ###data_promotional-efforts### Sales ###data_customer-service### Business Operations The Team ###data_team-profiles### Advisors ###data_advisor-profiles### Hiring Plans ###data_hiring-plans### ###data_succession-label### ###data_succession-plans### Suppliers ###data_suppliers### ###data_potential-suppliers### Alliances ###data_alliances### Planned Changes ###data_plan-changes### Contingency Plans ###data_contingency-plans### Financial Information Financial Highlights ###data_highlights### Personal Finance Sheet Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-1### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-1### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-1### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-1### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-1### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-1### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-1### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-1### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-1### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-1### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-1### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-1### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-1### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-1### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-1### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_1### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_1### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_1### ###data_pf-current-value-1_1### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_1### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-1### Your other employment income (eg. 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The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.

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Careers at APEGA APEGA Most important, writing a business plan is a way to help you succeed. That's because writing a plan forces you to answer tough questions about every aspect of your business, including the close relationship between it and your personal life. The most important user of your business plan is you. The information, insights, and strategies you outline will have a direct impact on your own life. So if you come across a section that you're convinced has no relevance to you and your business, skip it. And, if you're going to be the only user of your plan, feel free to use bullet points and lists instead of complete sentences. This section presents basic information about your business. You can save as you go using "save" so you can return later Both of these can be found in the top right of each page. Some information you enter will be used to fill in a cover letter and a cover page, if you decide to print them as part of your final document. If you're starting up, talk about what led you to start this business, briefly discuss any relevant experience you bring to it, and outline steps you've already taken to get your business off the ground. The plans you make now for your business can help you achieve your personal goals, whatever they may be. It's essential to keep in mind what's important to you and what you want to achieve in both your business and your personal life when writing your business plan. Objectives help you track your business' success according to plan. Your objectives might set targets for sales, profitability, even hours of personal time per week - whatever is most relevant to you, your business, and success as you define it. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time focusing on details, like how to satisfy a specific customer or negotiate with a certain supplier. But your business also operates within a much larger context. Every industry is shaped by a range of factors that affect how customers behave and businesses operate. As you consider industry factors and trends, pay special attention to those you think present special opportunities or challenges for your business. Describe factors and trends affecting your industry, and consider their implications for your business. Issues to think about include: Demographic: These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. Learn More Economic: These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? Learn More Technological: These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the Internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Learn More Regulatory: These describe the role government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. Learn More Environmental: Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. Others like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against. If you're starting up or run an established business, understanding your competitors can help you spot the most under-served customers and the greatest opportunities for success. If you’re winding down, identifying competitors may help you find potential buyers for your business. If you compete with many businesses, consider breaking your competition into categories based on what they offer, and present your main competitors in each cetagory. For instance, a tire retailer might compete with other tire stores, auto dealers, independent mechanics, and large hardware chains. Market Share, from those you think do the most business to those you think do the least, or to group them as "large," "mid-size," and "small" competitors. This can help you understand how you competitors share the marketplace, and where you might be able to carve out a piece for yourself. Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes. By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. The best positioning for your company: Provide brief profiles of any external advisors to your business. These may include professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, and others on whose advice you rely in running your business. If you're winding down, outline any succession plans that provide for management or ownership of the company after your departure. As you draw up your plans, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, and your banker. Alliances are special relationships you have with other businesses that complement your products or services with their own. Often, they can help your business reach new customers or better serve existing ones. It's likely that your business plan involves adding to or changing some aspect of your business. Such decisions can have a significant impact on your business' financial position, and it's crucial to consider them carefully. If you run an established business, detail any major additions or changes you are planning to make. If you're starting up, think about what you need today and what you may need in the future. Consider: As a business owner, it's important to plan for potential changes - in your marketplace, in your community, or in your life. You'll have a much greater chance of succeeding in even the most difficult times if you have a contingency plan. We've done our best to make financial statements understandable. That said, if accounting is not your area of expertise, you may want to work with an accredited accountant or bookkeeper to complete this section. Especially if you aren't familiar with financial statements, it's a good idea to have your Financial Information section reviewed by a reputable accountant or bookkeeper before you share it with others. There are a number of great accounting software programs on the market that can help you complete your Financial Information. If you currently use accounting software to prepare your financial statements, you may use it instead of the templates included here to prepare this section of your business plan. That's why it's crucial to develop a personal financial plan that you periodically review in conjunction with your business plan, planning your personal finances and goals with your business'. There are a number of elements to a personal financial plan, from how you manage your investments and finance your mortgage, to education, retirement, and will and estate planning. Scotiabank offers a range of tools to help you develop and implement a personal financial plan that will help you achieve your goals—and, in turn, help your business succeed. You can learn more about these tools at Get Growing for Business or speak to your Financial Advisor at your local Scotiabank branch. If you run an established business, financial statements from the last few years will communicate where your business is coming from. The more years of historical information you provide, the deeper the insight you'll give into your business' financial position and how it has changed over time. If you already have completed financial statements, you may either attach them in this section of your business plan or enter your business' information into the templates provided. Whatever life stage your business is in, projected financial statements - or "Pro Forma" statements - can help you work through various "what if" scenarios for your business, and allow you to plan where you want your business to go. Note: If you are seeking financing for your business, some lenders or investors may require Audited or Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create projected Balance Sheets that reflect your business plan. That means estimating your assets, liabilities, and equity for coming years. A Balance Sheet is divided into 3 sections: If you run an established business, include past Balance Sheets for your business, ideally for the last three years. If you're starting up, create a Balance Sheet by detailing assets and liabilities your business already has. Income Statement is a summary of your business' performance over a specified period of time, normally one year. It starts with your business' revenues (also called sales) and subtracts the expenses incurred to generate those revenues. If you run an established business, include Income Statements for your business, ideally for the last three years. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create Pro Forma, or projected, Income Statements that reflects your business plan. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. That means estimating your sales, cost of goods of sold (for non-service businesses), expenses - including depreciation, interest, and income taxes - and profit for coming years. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Financial ratios - calculations that relate one item in your financial statements to another - can be valuable tools for assessing your business' financial well-being. In most cases, the usefulness of financial ratios depends on a clear understanding of the relationship between the numbers used and their implications for your day-to-day business. That's why, unless you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, you may want to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you interpret your financial statements and financial ratios. Liquidity describes your business' ability to meet current obligations, like paying supplier invoices or making upcoming loan payments, from assets that can be quickly turned into cash. Generally, the higher the Current Ratio, the more confident you can be of your business' ability to pay short-term obligations. A current ratio of less than 1:1 may mean your business does not have sufficient resources to meet its commitments in the near future and needs additional financing. The Return on Equity Ratio measures the return your business generates for owners who have invested in it. By measuring the percentage return to owners on their cash equity contributions, it is a general indicator of how efficiently your business makes use of owners' money. A low Gross Profit Margin may indicate that your business is selling goods at too low a price, that demand for your product is weak, or that direct material, direct labour, or manufacturing overhead costs can be better controlled. The Net Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar of sales that remains after all expenses have been deducted. When compared to your Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin can be an important indication of how your business manages its expenses. The Debt to Equity Ratio describes the relationship between liabilities and equity. It compares the level of financing provided by creditors like suppliers and banks to the amount that owners have invested in the business. Here you have the option to give a summary of, or state key conclusions you've drawn from, your financial statements. These highlights will appear at the front of the Financial Information section of your finished plan. Now that the key components of your business plan are in place, you're ready ti transform them into a finished document. In Executive Summary, you'll provide an essential quick reference for readers (including yourself) by summarizing the key findings of your plan. In Presentation, you'll have the opportunity to add a customized cover letter, cover page, and table of contents to your plan. The last section you'll write and the first one read, the Executive Summary is a very important page of your business plan. It serves as both an introduction to your plan and a wrap-up of your key findings, insights, and strategies. Well-written, enthusiastic, and to-the-point, it convinces readers to delve deeper. Even if you're only preparing your plan for your own use, it's a good idea to write an Executive Summary, since it gathers the main points of your plan in one place. It may include: Cover Letter: When submitting your business plan to people outside your business, a cover letter can be a simple, effective way to break the ice, introduce your plan, and establish your professional credibility. The Scotia Plan Writer for business™ includes a standard cover letter that you can customize to reflect the unique interests of your audience. Remember, different circumstances and different audiences require different things from your business plan. In presenting your business plan to a new employee, for instance, your Executive Summary might be more focused on your Business Vision, and you may choose not to share your Financial Information. That's why the Scotia Plan Writer for business™ is designed for flexibility once you publish your plan. Using Microsoft Word, you can: By reading below, you can find ideas about which sections of your plan will be relevant to different people, plus materials you should consider including in an appendix to appeal to them. In each case, you'll want to tailor the Executive Summary to your audience. Most readers of your plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible, even as you include the key facts they need. Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan, to test your assumptions, ensure you haven't overlooked anything, and make sure any financial solutions he or she offers fit with your personal and business needs. If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming Statement of Net Worth. In addition, he or she will carefully review your Financial Information, and may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. It's always a good idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan. Your accountant may be especially interested in the Business Description section, and your goals and objectives in particular; Business Operations, which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements; and Financial Information. Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if he or she understands both your personal and business needs. Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them. When it comes to Financial Information, they may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. While you may choose to withhold your Personal Goals and Personal Finances, consider including an Appendix that includes references for your professional advisors; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; and past advertisements and promotional materials. Business/Personal Advisors may be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insight. You may choose not to share personal sections of the plan - like your Personal Statement of Net Worth - with your business advisors. To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an Appendix that includes references for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; past advertisements and promotional materials; and competitors' advertisements, and other materials about them. Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to the Business Description section (excluding your Personal Goals), especially your objectives and your description of your product or service; The Marketplace, which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes; and Sales & Marketing, where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies. Consider adding an Appendix that includes: photographs of your product or service, past advertisements and other promotional materials, and competitors' advertisements and other materials about them. Your lawyer may be most interested in Business Description, The Marketplace, and Business Operations, all of which may provide special insight into legal issues. Your lawyer may also want to see Financial Information. Your existing employees may benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your Personal Goals and Personal Finances. Prospective employees may be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share Business Description (excluding Personal Goals), Sales and Marketing, and an appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials, and photographs of your product or service. Take decisive action to seize opportunities and overcome challenges you've identified. Potential buyers of your business may have their interest piqued by the Business Overview and Product or service description in Business Description. Here are some guidelines to using your plan in the coming weeks, months, and years: are financial statements that forecast when and how much money your business will collect and pay out over a specified period of time, usually one year, and help budget money coming in against money going the agreed-upon parameters that dictate when and how much your customers pay you for goods or services they don’t pay for immediately at the time of purchase (or, alternatively, when and how much you pay your suppliers for purchases you make on account). As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing The Marketplace, Sales & Marketing, Business Operations, and your business' Financial Information. Credit terms usually include a period of time during which payment must be made (e.g. After you complete your business plan, you're in a position to transform what you've learned into action. 30 days), and sometimes include a discount for payment within a certain period of time. is calculated as current assets divided by current liabilities. It is a measure of your business’ liquidity, or the availability of cash or assets that can be converted easily to cash to run the business and meet short-term obligations. are amounts paid to suppliers for products or services that you intend to resell to your customers. For example, a contractor would include all amounts paid to subcontractors for job-related work during the year. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. is the difference between a business’ assets and liabilities. It includes money that owners or shareholders have contributed to the business and profits that have been reinvested in it. For a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is often called “owner’s equity”. For an incorporated business, it can be referred to as “shareholder’s equity”. represents the amount of money (equity) owners, partners, or shareholders have invested in the business, excluding owner’s – or shareholder’s – loans. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, this is known as “cash equity contributions”. For incorporated companies, it is known as “capital stock”., also called capital assets, are long-term assets that you expect will still be helping your business make money beyond the next twelve months, like land, buildings, equipment, and other items you use in your business operations. With the exception of land, which is always listed at its cost, all fixed assets are subject to depreciation. captures the relationship between sales and cost of goods sold. It’s the percentage of every dollar in sales you have left over after paying direct costs for manufacturing or acquiring goods sold, to cover all remaining expenses and taxes. It is the amount you pay in interest on your business borrowings during a specified period, and may include interest on your operating line of credit, term loans, credit card balances, and loans from finance companies and other lenders. is a business structure, where there are two kinds of partners: general partners who manage the business and are personally liable for debts, and limited partners whose participation in the business is limited to investing money, and whose liability is consequently limited to their investment in the business. is the total amount you owe on long-term loans, including mortgages. The amount due in the next 12 months, called the current portion of long-term debt, is listed as a current liability on your Balance Sheet. The portion not due to be repaid in the next 12 months is listed as a long-term liability. is the relative size of one business’ portion of the market. In percentage terms, it is one business’ sales of a particular product or service divided by the total sales for that product or service in the marketplace. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. are the amounts owed to you, your partners, or other shareholders for loans made to your business, which are expected to be repaid. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, these are known as “owner’s loans”. For incorporated businesses, they are known as “shareholder’s loans”. are financial statements that have been reviewed by an independent accountant who determines whether they are plausible within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Accounts receivable are the total amounts customers owe your business on the date of your Balance Sheet. A review engagement is similar to an audit, except that no opinion is expressed on the statements. When recording them on your Balance Sheet, be sure to subtract out “bad debts” – receivables you believe will never be collected. is a legal structure of a business, where the business is wholly owned by one person, called the sole proprietor. Inventory is the raw materials, partially completed products, and finished goods that your business is currently holding to sell to your customers. The business owner and the business are not separate legal entities, which means the sole proprietor personally owns the business’ assets and is liable for all business the name your business “goes by,” which can be different from its legal name. On your Balance Sheet, inventory is usually listed at the cost you paid to acquire it. If, however, your inventory’s current market value is below the price you paid for it – because, say, prices have fallen or items have become outdated or damaged – you should list it at its current market value. Prepaid expenses arise when your business pays for something "up front." For instance, say you paid $1,000 for twelve months of insurance on September 1, and you're creating a Balance Sheet three months later, on December 1. You would list $750 as a prepaid expense, since only 25% of the period of coverage has expired. (Even though prepaid expenses never turn into cash, accounting convention dictates that they be included with current assets.) Depreciation is a way to reflect that fixed assets wear out or become obsolete over time, by gradually reducing the value of such assets on your Balance Sheet. Assume you spend $1,000 to buy a computer that you expect to replace in five years. Depreciation is an accounting practice that allows you to spread the expense of buying the computer over its estimated useful life, by, for example, deducting $200 from the value listed on your Balance Sheet each year for five years. Amortization is like depreciation, except it applies to intangible assets with a limited life. Accounting depreciation may vary from tax depreciation. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency, for standard depreciation rules for your business. Your objectives should move you closer to your Personal Goals and Business Vision. For instance, a reasonable short-term objective might be to obtain a loan to buy a new piece of equipment in the next three months, or to hire another person by the end of the year to free up personal time for yourself. A long-term objective might be to hit specific sales goals two years from now. Once you've completed your business plan, consider returning to Business Objectives. You may want to change or add new objectives as a result of the plan-writing process. These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. For instance, let's say you provide home delivery of hot meals to the elderly. If the number of elderly people in the general population is growing rapidly, it's a good sign for your business. If the number of elderly people is shrinking, on the other hand, you might consider targeting other types of customers. Statistics Canada These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? If you're an auto mechanic, for instance, a national economic downturn might be good for business, since customers may prefer to have their old cars repaired rather than buy new ones. Low interest rates, on the other hand, might lead potential customers to borrow money and buy new cars. These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Trade publications and technology-focused magazines are great sources of information about how technological factors and trends are affecting your industry. These describe the role of government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. For instance, chiropractors must earn a degree from an accredited chiropractic college, spend several years training, and finally pass a licensing exam before they may practice. Patents and copyrights can limit the amount of direct competition you face. Trade associations for your industry are a great place to start when researching regulatory factors and trends. Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. Others, like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. And some businesses - from allergists to trucking companies - work with potentially hazardous materials that they must take special care to administer and dispose of, which can have a significant impact on their costs. What is your industry's relationship to the environment? Are there any trends, like a call for environmentally-friendly products, that may affect the way your business operates? One of the best ways to identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is to approach them from a customer's perspective. Try visiting their business - in person, over the phone, or on their Web site - to find out what they offer and for how much, or have an unbiased friend do this sort of research for you. Also, pay attention to advertisements, which contain lots of information about how your competitors perceive their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're targeting individual consumers, think in terms of defining characteristics like age, gender, income level, culture and lifestyle. If you're targeting other businesses, think in terms of the size of those businesses, and how and by whom buying decisions are made within them. While your competitive advantage describes what makes your business special from the inside, your positioning states what makes it special from the outside - from the customer's perspective. For example, a yoga instructor may position her services in a way that emphasizes health, prestige, or cost. Different positioning attracts different clientele. Finally, remember that lower prices may mean you'll sell more, but you'll make smaller profits on each sale. Higher prices will likely mean that you'll attract fewer customers - however, you may make more on each transaction. There are countless ways to promote your business in the marketplace. You can set up a website, speak at conferences, send a newsletter, hold a contest, print a brochure, air a radio commercial, or sponsor the local Little League team. Try visiting the Canada Business Services Centres' website at for more ideas, or consult any number of books on the subject at your local bookstore or library. If you run an established business, ask your existing customers how they found you. Plus, consider asking satisfied customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your business, or to provide customer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts. Customer service is a key part of keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. The right sort of customer service can help you appeal to your target customers, and can also offer them advantages that your competitors don't provide. Customer service can include ongoing technical support, loyalty programs, and even calling existing customers each month to see if they have any needs you can help with. Consider areas ranging from marketing, sales, and purchasing, to administration, legal, and bookkeeping. When deciding what sort of advisors your business might need, start by examining the profiles of your team. You'll likely find areas in which no one on your team has experience. These are the areas where you'll either require external advisors, or where you may need to hire additional staff. There are 2 kinds of external advisors that business owners should consider. Business/Personal advisors are unpaid individuals whose experiences and advice you and your business benefit from. A personal advisor may be a friend or family member, who offers guidance both in managing your business and in working towards the right work-life balance for you. Business advisors are mentors whose work skills and expertise go beyond your team's. By inviting such people to be advisors, you'll gain a valuable sounding board for your ideas and plans, and you may lend greater credibility to your business. Professional services advisors are paid professionals who are qualified to help you and your business in certain areas, like tax, legal, and finance. Suppliers include any business whose products or services you need to provide your offering to customers. If you run a mail-order specialty candy store, your suppliers include the wholesaler you buy your ingredients from, the designer and printer of your catalog, and the shipping service you use to send your product to customers. Your suppliers must be able to meet your needs in terms of delivery, billing, cost, and service. They should help you get your products to your customers on time, at the right place and in the right condition - all of which have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales success. If you run an established business, consider how your suppliers do this and if any improvements could be made. The right credit terms can be especially critical when working with suppliers. For instance, you may have a hard time paying the bills if your biggest supplier requires payment in 30 days, and your customers don't pay you for 60 days. Also, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of supplier discounts for paying within a certain period of time. If you're starting up, speaking with other businesses in your industry can be a great way to identify potential suppliers. When considering possible alliances, look for businesses that are a logical fit with your own. For instance, a copywriter might align herself with a design firm. That way, the copywriter can offer design services to her clients, and the design firm can offer copywriting services to theirs. Most businesses are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects you and your business against employee lawsuits related to work injuries and illnesses and provides benefits to injured employees. To learn more, visit the website of your provincial workers' compensation board or commission. Businesses that hold inventory show cost of goods sold. If your business only sells services, like aerobics class instruction, then you can skip the cost of goods sold section of the Income Statement. Cost of goods sold can be calculated by taking inventory at the start of the accounting period, adding any expenses that relate directly to your products, and subtracting the amount left in inventory at the end of the period. Different types of businesses include different costs in cost of goods sold: This can include employee salaries, hourly wages, commissions or the cost of providing additional benefits such as health insurance, a car allowance or the cost of any other benefits you offer your employees. Your tax rate is the percentage of your net profit before tax that you'll be required to pay in taxes. Only incorporated businesses show and subtract income tax on their Income Statements. That's because if you are sole proprietor or partner, you declare and pay these taxes on your personal income tax return. When compiling historical Income Statements, check your records or consult your accountant or bookkeeper to find out your tax rate in the past. If you're unable to estimate your tax rate for your projected Income Statements, it's acceptable to leave the line blank and end your Income Statement with net profit before tax. Your Cash Flow Projections detail when you expect to receive payments from sales and pay out expenses described in your projected Income Statement. If you're starting up, begin your projections by listing the amount and timing of special start-up expenditures, including purchase of start-up inventory, utility set-up fees, incorporation fees (if applicable), and other one-time expenses. In doing so, you may find it helpful to refer back to the Planned Changes section of your plan. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, how much cash you take in and pay out is based on the sales and expenses projections you made in your projected Income Statement. First, break down your projected annual sales from your projected Income Statement into monthly sales. For instance, a bricklayer might do the majority of his business during the summer months. Second, estimate what portion of your sales occur on a cash basis - that is, what percentage you get paid for immediately. This proportion decides how much to list as "cash sales" each month. Third, estimate what portion of your customers pay within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or beyond, based on the credit. Finally, list cash outflows as you expect to pay them. Include regular monthly expenses like rent and telephone charges, as well as expected expenditures for items like new equipment or repairs. If you run an established business, remember to reflect the fact that you expect to collect accounts receivable related to recent sales - not just sales projected on your projected Income Statement. If you have finished your business plan or would like to produce a hard copy of your business plan, you can use one of the two options below. By selecting "Copy To Text File" you will have copied all of the business plan into your memory or clipboard. Go to your desired word processor and select "Paste". You will most likely need to format the text and layout for your desired look. Or you can select "Export as Word Document" and you will be prompted for a file name and location. Once complete you can open the file you have just created using word. You now have a finished and formatted business plan. The next portion of writing your business plan involves creating some detailed financial statements including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement. If you prefer not to complete the financials, feel free to move onto section 7, where you’ll be able to complete your plan. ###data_your-name### ###data_business-legal-name### ###data_business-address### ###todays-date### ###data_cover-letter### ###data_salutation###, I'm very pleased to enclose my business plan for ###data_business-legal-name###. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about my business, a thorough assessment of opportunities in the marketplace, and a detailed plan for seizing them. I look forward to the possibility of working with you to make ###data_business-legal-name### a success in the coming months and years. _____________________ Executive Summary ###data_executive-summary### Business Plan ###data_business-legal-name### operating as ###data_business-trade-name### Legal name of business ###data_business-legal-name### Trade name of business ###data_business-trade-name### Business address ###data_business-address### Mailing address ###data_mailing-address### Phone number (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3### Fax number ###data_fax-numbers### E-mail address ###data_email-address### Structure of business ###business-type### Date business established ###data_date-established### Nature of business ###data_nature-of-business### Bank and branch location used for business matters ###data_business-branch-loc### Bank and branch location used for personal matters ###data_personal-branch-location### ###data_owner-name-label### ###data_ownership-percent-label### ###data_owner-name-1### ###data_ownership-percent-1### ###data_owner-name-2### ###data_ownership-percent-2### ###data_owner-name-3### ###data_ownership-percent-3### ###data_owner-name-4### ###data_ownership-percent-4### Business Background ###data_business-story-1### ###data_business-story-2### ###data_business-story-3### ###data_business-story-4### Personal Goals ###data_life-goals### ###data_business-goals### ###data_personal-goals### Business Vision ###data_business-vision### Business Objectives Short-term Objectives ###data_short-term-obj### Long-term Objectives ###data_long-term-obj### Product Description ###data_your-product### Competitive Advantage ###data_competitive-advantage### The Marketplace Industry Factors and Trends ###data_factors And Trends1### Industry Outlook ###data_industry-outlook### ###data_factors And Trends2### Market Size ###data_factors And Trends3### ###data_market-size### Competitors Competitive Environment ###data_main-competitors### ###data_rank-competitors### ###data_competitors-strength-weakness### Competitive Opportunities & Challenges Opportunities ###data_opportunity-and-challenge### Challenges ###data_competitor-protection### Customers Customer Segments ###data_market-segments### Target Customers ###data_target-customers### Sales & Marketing Positioning ###data_key-benefits### Pricing ###data_explain-pricing### Promotion ###data_promotional-efforts### Sales ###data_customer-service### Business Operations The Team ###data_team-profiles### Advisors ###data_advisor-profiles### Hiring Plans ###data_hiring-plans### ###data_succession-label### ###data_succession-plans### Suppliers ###data_suppliers### ###data_potential-suppliers### Alliances ###data_alliances### Planned Changes ###data_plan-changes### Contingency Plans ###data_contingency-plans### Financial Information Financial Highlights ###data_highlights### Personal Finance Sheet Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-1### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-1### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-1### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-1### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-1### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-1### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-1### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-1### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-1### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-1### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-1### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-1### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-1### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-1### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-1### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_1### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_1### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_1### ###data_pf-current-value-1_1### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_1### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-1### Your other employment income (eg. I am eager to hear your comments and answer any questions you may have. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-1### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-1### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-1### Other income (eg. You can reach me at (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3###. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-1### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-1### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-1### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-1### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-1### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-1### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-1### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-1### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-1### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-2### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-2### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-2### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-2### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-2### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-2### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-2### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-2### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-2### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-2### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-2### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-2### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-2### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-2### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-2### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_2### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_2### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_2### ###data_pf-current-value-1_2### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_2### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-2### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-2### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-2### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-2### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-2### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-2### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-2### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-2### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-2### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-2### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-2### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-2### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-2### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-3### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-3### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-3### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-3### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-3### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-3### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-3### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-3### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-3### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-3### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-3### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-3### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-3### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-3### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-3### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_3### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_3### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_3### ###data_pf-current-value-1_3### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_3### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-3### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-3### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-3### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-3### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-3### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-3### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-3### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-3### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-3### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-3### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.

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Careers at APEGA APEGA Most important, writing a business plan is a way to help you succeed. That's because writing a plan forces you to answer tough questions about every aspect of your business, including the close relationship between it and your personal life. The most important user of your business plan is you. The information, insights, and strategies you outline will have a direct impact on your own life. So if you come across a section that you're convinced has no relevance to you and your business, skip it. And, if you're going to be the only user of your plan, feel free to use bullet points and lists instead of complete sentences. This section presents basic information about your business. You can save as you go using "save" so you can return later Both of these can be found in the top right of each page. Some information you enter will be used to fill in a cover letter and a cover page, if you decide to print them as part of your final document. If you're starting up, talk about what led you to start this business, briefly discuss any relevant experience you bring to it, and outline steps you've already taken to get your business off the ground. The plans you make now for your business can help you achieve your personal goals, whatever they may be. It's essential to keep in mind what's important to you and what you want to achieve in both your business and your personal life when writing your business plan. Objectives help you track your business' success according to plan. Your objectives might set targets for sales, profitability, even hours of personal time per week - whatever is most relevant to you, your business, and success as you define it. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time focusing on details, like how to satisfy a specific customer or negotiate with a certain supplier. But your business also operates within a much larger context. Every industry is shaped by a range of factors that affect how customers behave and businesses operate. As you consider industry factors and trends, pay special attention to those you think present special opportunities or challenges for your business. Describe factors and trends affecting your industry, and consider their implications for your business. Issues to think about include: Demographic: These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. Learn More Economic: These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? Learn More Technological: These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the Internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Learn More Regulatory: These describe the role government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. Learn More Environmental: Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. Others like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against. If you're starting up or run an established business, understanding your competitors can help you spot the most under-served customers and the greatest opportunities for success. If you’re winding down, identifying competitors may help you find potential buyers for your business. If you compete with many businesses, consider breaking your competition into categories based on what they offer, and present your main competitors in each cetagory. For instance, a tire retailer might compete with other tire stores, auto dealers, independent mechanics, and large hardware chains. Market Share, from those you think do the most business to those you think do the least, or to group them as "large," "mid-size," and "small" competitors. This can help you understand how you competitors share the marketplace, and where you might be able to carve out a piece for yourself. Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes. By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. The best positioning for your company: Provide brief profiles of any external advisors to your business. These may include professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, and others on whose advice you rely in running your business. If you're winding down, outline any succession plans that provide for management or ownership of the company after your departure. As you draw up your plans, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, and your banker. Alliances are special relationships you have with other businesses that complement your products or services with their own. Often, they can help your business reach new customers or better serve existing ones. It's likely that your business plan involves adding to or changing some aspect of your business. Such decisions can have a significant impact on your business' financial position, and it's crucial to consider them carefully. If you run an established business, detail any major additions or changes you are planning to make. If you're starting up, think about what you need today and what you may need in the future. Consider: As a business owner, it's important to plan for potential changes - in your marketplace, in your community, or in your life. You'll have a much greater chance of succeeding in even the most difficult times if you have a contingency plan. We've done our best to make financial statements understandable. That said, if accounting is not your area of expertise, you may want to work with an accredited accountant or bookkeeper to complete this section. Especially if you aren't familiar with financial statements, it's a good idea to have your Financial Information section reviewed by a reputable accountant or bookkeeper before you share it with others. There are a number of great accounting software programs on the market that can help you complete your Financial Information. If you currently use accounting software to prepare your financial statements, you may use it instead of the templates included here to prepare this section of your business plan. That's why it's crucial to develop a personal financial plan that you periodically review in conjunction with your business plan, planning your personal finances and goals with your business'. There are a number of elements to a personal financial plan, from how you manage your investments and finance your mortgage, to education, retirement, and will and estate planning. Scotiabank offers a range of tools to help you develop and implement a personal financial plan that will help you achieve your goals—and, in turn, help your business succeed. You can learn more about these tools at Get Growing for Business or speak to your Financial Advisor at your local Scotiabank branch. If you run an established business, financial statements from the last few years will communicate where your business is coming from. The more years of historical information you provide, the deeper the insight you'll give into your business' financial position and how it has changed over time. If you already have completed financial statements, you may either attach them in this section of your business plan or enter your business' information into the templates provided. Whatever life stage your business is in, projected financial statements - or "Pro Forma" statements - can help you work through various "what if" scenarios for your business, and allow you to plan where you want your business to go. Note: If you are seeking financing for your business, some lenders or investors may require Audited or Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create projected Balance Sheets that reflect your business plan. That means estimating your assets, liabilities, and equity for coming years. A Balance Sheet is divided into 3 sections: If you run an established business, include past Balance Sheets for your business, ideally for the last three years. If you're starting up, create a Balance Sheet by detailing assets and liabilities your business already has. Income Statement is a summary of your business' performance over a specified period of time, normally one year. It starts with your business' revenues (also called sales) and subtracts the expenses incurred to generate those revenues. If you run an established business, include Income Statements for your business, ideally for the last three years. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create Pro Forma, or projected, Income Statements that reflects your business plan. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. That means estimating your sales, cost of goods of sold (for non-service businesses), expenses - including depreciation, interest, and income taxes - and profit for coming years. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Financial ratios - calculations that relate one item in your financial statements to another - can be valuable tools for assessing your business' financial well-being. In most cases, the usefulness of financial ratios depends on a clear understanding of the relationship between the numbers used and their implications for your day-to-day business. That's why, unless you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, you may want to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you interpret your financial statements and financial ratios. Liquidity describes your business' ability to meet current obligations, like paying supplier invoices or making upcoming loan payments, from assets that can be quickly turned into cash. Generally, the higher the Current Ratio, the more confident you can be of your business' ability to pay short-term obligations. A current ratio of less than 1:1 may mean your business does not have sufficient resources to meet its commitments in the near future and needs additional financing. The Return on Equity Ratio measures the return your business generates for owners who have invested in it. By measuring the percentage return to owners on their cash equity contributions, it is a general indicator of how efficiently your business makes use of owners' money. A low Gross Profit Margin may indicate that your business is selling goods at too low a price, that demand for your product is weak, or that direct material, direct labour, or manufacturing overhead costs can be better controlled. The Net Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar of sales that remains after all expenses have been deducted. When compared to your Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin can be an important indication of how your business manages its expenses. The Debt to Equity Ratio describes the relationship between liabilities and equity. It compares the level of financing provided by creditors like suppliers and banks to the amount that owners have invested in the business. Here you have the option to give a summary of, or state key conclusions you've drawn from, your financial statements. These highlights will appear at the front of the Financial Information section of your finished plan. Now that the key components of your business plan are in place, you're ready ti transform them into a finished document. In Executive Summary, you'll provide an essential quick reference for readers (including yourself) by summarizing the key findings of your plan. In Presentation, you'll have the opportunity to add a customized cover letter, cover page, and table of contents to your plan. The last section you'll write and the first one read, the Executive Summary is a very important page of your business plan. It serves as both an introduction to your plan and a wrap-up of your key findings, insights, and strategies. Well-written, enthusiastic, and to-the-point, it convinces readers to delve deeper. Even if you're only preparing your plan for your own use, it's a good idea to write an Executive Summary, since it gathers the main points of your plan in one place. It may include: Cover Letter: When submitting your business plan to people outside your business, a cover letter can be a simple, effective way to break the ice, introduce your plan, and establish your professional credibility. The Scotia Plan Writer for business™ includes a standard cover letter that you can customize to reflect the unique interests of your audience. Remember, different circumstances and different audiences require different things from your business plan. In presenting your business plan to a new employee, for instance, your Executive Summary might be more focused on your Business Vision, and you may choose not to share your Financial Information. That's why the Scotia Plan Writer for business™ is designed for flexibility once you publish your plan. Using Microsoft Word, you can: By reading below, you can find ideas about which sections of your plan will be relevant to different people, plus materials you should consider including in an appendix to appeal to them. In each case, you'll want to tailor the Executive Summary to your audience. Most readers of your plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible, even as you include the key facts they need. Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan, to test your assumptions, ensure you haven't overlooked anything, and make sure any financial solutions he or she offers fit with your personal and business needs. If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming Statement of Net Worth. In addition, he or she will carefully review your Financial Information, and may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. It's always a good idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan. Your accountant may be especially interested in the Business Description section, and your goals and objectives in particular; Business Operations, which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements; and Financial Information. Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if he or she understands both your personal and business needs. Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them. When it comes to Financial Information, they may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. While you may choose to withhold your Personal Goals and Personal Finances, consider including an Appendix that includes references for your professional advisors; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; and past advertisements and promotional materials. Business/Personal Advisors may be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insight. You may choose not to share personal sections of the plan - like your Personal Statement of Net Worth - with your business advisors. To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an Appendix that includes references for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; past advertisements and promotional materials; and competitors' advertisements, and other materials about them. Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to the Business Description section (excluding your Personal Goals), especially your objectives and your description of your product or service; The Marketplace, which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes; and Sales & Marketing, where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies. Consider adding an Appendix that includes: photographs of your product or service, past advertisements and other promotional materials, and competitors' advertisements and other materials about them. Your lawyer may be most interested in Business Description, The Marketplace, and Business Operations, all of which may provide special insight into legal issues. Your lawyer may also want to see Financial Information. Your existing employees may benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your Personal Goals and Personal Finances. Prospective employees may be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share Business Description (excluding Personal Goals), Sales and Marketing, and an appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials, and photographs of your product or service. Take decisive action to seize opportunities and overcome challenges you've identified. Potential buyers of your business may have their interest piqued by the Business Overview and Product or service description in Business Description. Here are some guidelines to using your plan in the coming weeks, months, and years: are financial statements that forecast when and how much money your business will collect and pay out over a specified period of time, usually one year, and help budget money coming in against money going the agreed-upon parameters that dictate when and how much your customers pay you for goods or services they don’t pay for immediately at the time of purchase (or, alternatively, when and how much you pay your suppliers for purchases you make on account). As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing The Marketplace, Sales & Marketing, Business Operations, and your business' Financial Information. Credit terms usually include a period of time during which payment must be made (e.g. After you complete your business plan, you're in a position to transform what you've learned into action. 30 days), and sometimes include a discount for payment within a certain period of time. is calculated as current assets divided by current liabilities. It is a measure of your business’ liquidity, or the availability of cash or assets that can be converted easily to cash to run the business and meet short-term obligations. are amounts paid to suppliers for products or services that you intend to resell to your customers. For example, a contractor would include all amounts paid to subcontractors for job-related work during the year. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. is the difference between a business’ assets and liabilities. It includes money that owners or shareholders have contributed to the business and profits that have been reinvested in it. For a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is often called “owner’s equity”. For an incorporated business, it can be referred to as “shareholder’s equity”. represents the amount of money (equity) owners, partners, or shareholders have invested in the business, excluding owner’s – or shareholder’s – loans. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, this is known as “cash equity contributions”. For incorporated companies, it is known as “capital stock”., also called capital assets, are long-term assets that you expect will still be helping your business make money beyond the next twelve months, like land, buildings, equipment, and other items you use in your business operations. With the exception of land, which is always listed at its cost, all fixed assets are subject to depreciation. captures the relationship between sales and cost of goods sold. It’s the percentage of every dollar in sales you have left over after paying direct costs for manufacturing or acquiring goods sold, to cover all remaining expenses and taxes. It is the amount you pay in interest on your business borrowings during a specified period, and may include interest on your operating line of credit, term loans, credit card balances, and loans from finance companies and other lenders. is a business structure, where there are two kinds of partners: general partners who manage the business and are personally liable for debts, and limited partners whose participation in the business is limited to investing money, and whose liability is consequently limited to their investment in the business. is the total amount you owe on long-term loans, including mortgages. The amount due in the next 12 months, called the current portion of long-term debt, is listed as a current liability on your Balance Sheet. The portion not due to be repaid in the next 12 months is listed as a long-term liability. is the relative size of one business’ portion of the market. In percentage terms, it is one business’ sales of a particular product or service divided by the total sales for that product or service in the marketplace. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. are the amounts owed to you, your partners, or other shareholders for loans made to your business, which are expected to be repaid. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, these are known as “owner’s loans”. For incorporated businesses, they are known as “shareholder’s loans”. are financial statements that have been reviewed by an independent accountant who determines whether they are plausible within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Accounts receivable are the total amounts customers owe your business on the date of your Balance Sheet. A review engagement is similar to an audit, except that no opinion is expressed on the statements. When recording them on your Balance Sheet, be sure to subtract out “bad debts” – receivables you believe will never be collected. is a legal structure of a business, where the business is wholly owned by one person, called the sole proprietor. Inventory is the raw materials, partially completed products, and finished goods that your business is currently holding to sell to your customers. The business owner and the business are not separate legal entities, which means the sole proprietor personally owns the business’ assets and is liable for all business the name your business “goes by,” which can be different from its legal name. On your Balance Sheet, inventory is usually listed at the cost you paid to acquire it. If, however, your inventory’s current market value is below the price you paid for it – because, say, prices have fallen or items have become outdated or damaged – you should list it at its current market value. Prepaid expenses arise when your business pays for something "up front." For instance, say you paid $1,000 for twelve months of insurance on September 1, and you're creating a Balance Sheet three months later, on December 1. You would list $750 as a prepaid expense, since only 25% of the period of coverage has expired. (Even though prepaid expenses never turn into cash, accounting convention dictates that they be included with current assets.) Depreciation is a way to reflect that fixed assets wear out or become obsolete over time, by gradually reducing the value of such assets on your Balance Sheet. Assume you spend $1,000 to buy a computer that you expect to replace in five years. Depreciation is an accounting practice that allows you to spread the expense of buying the computer over its estimated useful life, by, for example, deducting $200 from the value listed on your Balance Sheet each year for five years. Amortization is like depreciation, except it applies to intangible assets with a limited life. Accounting depreciation may vary from tax depreciation. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency, for standard depreciation rules for your business. Your objectives should move you closer to your Personal Goals and Business Vision. For instance, a reasonable short-term objective might be to obtain a loan to buy a new piece of equipment in the next three months, or to hire another person by the end of the year to free up personal time for yourself. A long-term objective might be to hit specific sales goals two years from now. Once you've completed your business plan, consider returning to Business Objectives. You may want to change or add new objectives as a result of the plan-writing process. These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. For instance, let's say you provide home delivery of hot meals to the elderly. If the number of elderly people in the general population is growing rapidly, it's a good sign for your business. If the number of elderly people is shrinking, on the other hand, you might consider targeting other types of customers. Statistics Canada These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? If you're an auto mechanic, for instance, a national economic downturn might be good for business, since customers may prefer to have their old cars repaired rather than buy new ones. Low interest rates, on the other hand, might lead potential customers to borrow money and buy new cars. These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Trade publications and technology-focused magazines are great sources of information about how technological factors and trends are affecting your industry. These describe the role of government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. For instance, chiropractors must earn a degree from an accredited chiropractic college, spend several years training, and finally pass a licensing exam before they may practice. Patents and copyrights can limit the amount of direct competition you face. Trade associations for your industry are a great place to start when researching regulatory factors and trends. Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. Others, like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. And some businesses - from allergists to trucking companies - work with potentially hazardous materials that they must take special care to administer and dispose of, which can have a significant impact on their costs. What is your industry's relationship to the environment? Are there any trends, like a call for environmentally-friendly products, that may affect the way your business operates? One of the best ways to identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is to approach them from a customer's perspective. Try visiting their business - in person, over the phone, or on their Web site - to find out what they offer and for how much, or have an unbiased friend do this sort of research for you. Also, pay attention to advertisements, which contain lots of information about how your competitors perceive their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're targeting individual consumers, think in terms of defining characteristics like age, gender, income level, culture and lifestyle. If you're targeting other businesses, think in terms of the size of those businesses, and how and by whom buying decisions are made within them. While your competitive advantage describes what makes your business special from the inside, your positioning states what makes it special from the outside - from the customer's perspective. For example, a yoga instructor may position her services in a way that emphasizes health, prestige, or cost. Different positioning attracts different clientele. Finally, remember that lower prices may mean you'll sell more, but you'll make smaller profits on each sale. Higher prices will likely mean that you'll attract fewer customers - however, you may make more on each transaction. There are countless ways to promote your business in the marketplace. You can set up a website, speak at conferences, send a newsletter, hold a contest, print a brochure, air a radio commercial, or sponsor the local Little League team. Try visiting the Canada Business Services Centres' website at for more ideas, or consult any number of books on the subject at your local bookstore or library. If you run an established business, ask your existing customers how they found you. Plus, consider asking satisfied customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your business, or to provide customer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts. Customer service is a key part of keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. The right sort of customer service can help you appeal to your target customers, and can also offer them advantages that your competitors don't provide. Customer service can include ongoing technical support, loyalty programs, and even calling existing customers each month to see if they have any needs you can help with. Consider areas ranging from marketing, sales, and purchasing, to administration, legal, and bookkeeping. When deciding what sort of advisors your business might need, start by examining the profiles of your team. You'll likely find areas in which no one on your team has experience. These are the areas where you'll either require external advisors, or where you may need to hire additional staff. There are 2 kinds of external advisors that business owners should consider. Business/Personal advisors are unpaid individuals whose experiences and advice you and your business benefit from. A personal advisor may be a friend or family member, who offers guidance both in managing your business and in working towards the right work-life balance for you. Business advisors are mentors whose work skills and expertise go beyond your team's. By inviting such people to be advisors, you'll gain a valuable sounding board for your ideas and plans, and you may lend greater credibility to your business. Professional services advisors are paid professionals who are qualified to help you and your business in certain areas, like tax, legal, and finance. Suppliers include any business whose products or services you need to provide your offering to customers. If you run a mail-order specialty candy store, your suppliers include the wholesaler you buy your ingredients from, the designer and printer of your catalog, and the shipping service you use to send your product to customers. Your suppliers must be able to meet your needs in terms of delivery, billing, cost, and service. They should help you get your products to your customers on time, at the right place and in the right condition - all of which have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales success. If you run an established business, consider how your suppliers do this and if any improvements could be made. The right credit terms can be especially critical when working with suppliers. For instance, you may have a hard time paying the bills if your biggest supplier requires payment in 30 days, and your customers don't pay you for 60 days. Also, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of supplier discounts for paying within a certain period of time. If you're starting up, speaking with other businesses in your industry can be a great way to identify potential suppliers. When considering possible alliances, look for businesses that are a logical fit with your own. For instance, a copywriter might align herself with a design firm. That way, the copywriter can offer design services to her clients, and the design firm can offer copywriting services to theirs. Most businesses are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects you and your business against employee lawsuits related to work injuries and illnesses and provides benefits to injured employees. To learn more, visit the website of your provincial workers' compensation board or commission. Businesses that hold inventory show cost of goods sold. If your business only sells services, like aerobics class instruction, then you can skip the cost of goods sold section of the Income Statement. Cost of goods sold can be calculated by taking inventory at the start of the accounting period, adding any expenses that relate directly to your products, and subtracting the amount left in inventory at the end of the period. Different types of businesses include different costs in cost of goods sold: This can include employee salaries, hourly wages, commissions or the cost of providing additional benefits such as health insurance, a car allowance or the cost of any other benefits you offer your employees. Your tax rate is the percentage of your net profit before tax that you'll be required to pay in taxes. Only incorporated businesses show and subtract income tax on their Income Statements. That's because if you are sole proprietor or partner, you declare and pay these taxes on your personal income tax return. When compiling historical Income Statements, check your records or consult your accountant or bookkeeper to find out your tax rate in the past. If you're unable to estimate your tax rate for your projected Income Statements, it's acceptable to leave the line blank and end your Income Statement with net profit before tax. Your Cash Flow Projections detail when you expect to receive payments from sales and pay out expenses described in your projected Income Statement. If you're starting up, begin your projections by listing the amount and timing of special start-up expenditures, including purchase of start-up inventory, utility set-up fees, incorporation fees (if applicable), and other one-time expenses. In doing so, you may find it helpful to refer back to the Planned Changes section of your plan. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, how much cash you take in and pay out is based on the sales and expenses projections you made in your projected Income Statement. First, break down your projected annual sales from your projected Income Statement into monthly sales. For instance, a bricklayer might do the majority of his business during the summer months. Second, estimate what portion of your sales occur on a cash basis - that is, what percentage you get paid for immediately. This proportion decides how much to list as "cash sales" each month. Third, estimate what portion of your customers pay within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or beyond, based on the credit. Finally, list cash outflows as you expect to pay them. Include regular monthly expenses like rent and telephone charges, as well as expected expenditures for items like new equipment or repairs. If you run an established business, remember to reflect the fact that you expect to collect accounts receivable related to recent sales - not just sales projected on your projected Income Statement. If you have finished your business plan or would like to produce a hard copy of your business plan, you can use one of the two options below. By selecting "Copy To Text File" you will have copied all of the business plan into your memory or clipboard. Go to your desired word processor and select "Paste". You will most likely need to format the text and layout for your desired look. Or you can select "Export as Word Document" and you will be prompted for a file name and location. Once complete you can open the file you have just created using word. You now have a finished and formatted business plan. The next portion of writing your business plan involves creating some detailed financial statements including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement. If you prefer not to complete the financials, feel free to move onto section 7, where you’ll be able to complete your plan. ###data_your-name### ###data_business-legal-name### ###data_business-address### ###todays-date### ###data_cover-letter### ###data_salutation###, I'm very pleased to enclose my business plan for ###data_business-legal-name###. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about my business, a thorough assessment of opportunities in the marketplace, and a detailed plan for seizing them. I look forward to the possibility of working with you to make ###data_business-legal-name### a success in the coming months and years. _____________________ Executive Summary ###data_executive-summary### Business Plan ###data_business-legal-name### operating as ###data_business-trade-name### Legal name of business ###data_business-legal-name### Trade name of business ###data_business-trade-name### Business address ###data_business-address### Mailing address ###data_mailing-address### Phone number (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3### Fax number ###data_fax-numbers### E-mail address ###data_email-address### Structure of business ###business-type### Date business established ###data_date-established### Nature of business ###data_nature-of-business### Bank and branch location used for business matters ###data_business-branch-loc### Bank and branch location used for personal matters ###data_personal-branch-location### ###data_owner-name-label### ###data_ownership-percent-label### ###data_owner-name-1### ###data_ownership-percent-1### ###data_owner-name-2### ###data_ownership-percent-2### ###data_owner-name-3### ###data_ownership-percent-3### ###data_owner-name-4### ###data_ownership-percent-4### Business Background ###data_business-story-1### ###data_business-story-2### ###data_business-story-3### ###data_business-story-4### Personal Goals ###data_life-goals### ###data_business-goals### ###data_personal-goals### Business Vision ###data_business-vision### Business Objectives Short-term Objectives ###data_short-term-obj### Long-term Objectives ###data_long-term-obj### Product Description ###data_your-product### Competitive Advantage ###data_competitive-advantage### The Marketplace Industry Factors and Trends ###data_factors And Trends1### Industry Outlook ###data_industry-outlook### ###data_factors And Trends2### Market Size ###data_factors And Trends3### ###data_market-size### Competitors Competitive Environment ###data_main-competitors### ###data_rank-competitors### ###data_competitors-strength-weakness### Competitive Opportunities & Challenges Opportunities ###data_opportunity-and-challenge### Challenges ###data_competitor-protection### Customers Customer Segments ###data_market-segments### Target Customers ###data_target-customers### Sales & Marketing Positioning ###data_key-benefits### Pricing ###data_explain-pricing### Promotion ###data_promotional-efforts### Sales ###data_customer-service### Business Operations The Team ###data_team-profiles### Advisors ###data_advisor-profiles### Hiring Plans ###data_hiring-plans### ###data_succession-label### ###data_succession-plans### Suppliers ###data_suppliers### ###data_potential-suppliers### Alliances ###data_alliances### Planned Changes ###data_plan-changes### Contingency Plans ###data_contingency-plans### Financial Information Financial Highlights ###data_highlights### Personal Finance Sheet Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-1### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-1### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-1### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-1### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-1### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-1### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-1### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-1### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-1### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-1### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-1### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-1### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-1### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-1### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-1### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_1### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_1### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_1### ###data_pf-current-value-1_1### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_1### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-1### Your other employment income (eg. I am eager to hear your comments and answer any questions you may have. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-1### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-1### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-1### Other income (eg. You can reach me at (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3###. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-1### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-1### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-1### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-1### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-1### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-1### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-1### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-1### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-1### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-2### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-2### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-2### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-2### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-2### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-2### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-2### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-2### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-2### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-2### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-2### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-2### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-2### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-2### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-2### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_2### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_2### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_2### ###data_pf-current-value-1_2### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_2### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-2### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-2### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-2### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-2### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-2### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-2### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-2### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-2### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-2### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-2### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-2### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-2### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-2### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-3### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-3### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-3### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-3### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-3### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-3### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-3### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-3### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-3### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-3### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-3### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-3### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-3### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-3### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-3### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_3### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_3### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_3### ###data_pf-current-value-1_3### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_3### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-3### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-3### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-3### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-3### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-3### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-3### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-3### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-3### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-3### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-3### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.

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Careers at APEGA APEGA
Scotiabank Small Business Plan <b>Writer</b> Tool
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,000 for twelve months of insurance on September 1, and you're creating a Balance Sheet three months later, on December 1. You would list 0 as a prepaid expense, since only 25% of the period of coverage has expired. (Even though prepaid expenses never turn into cash, accounting convention dictates that they be included with current assets.) Depreciation is a way to reflect that fixed assets wear out or become obsolete over time, by gradually reducing the value of such assets on your Balance Sheet. Assume you spend

Careers at APEGA APEGA Most important, writing a business plan is a way to help you succeed. That's because writing a plan forces you to answer tough questions about every aspect of your business, including the close relationship between it and your personal life. The most important user of your business plan is you. The information, insights, and strategies you outline will have a direct impact on your own life. So if you come across a section that you're convinced has no relevance to you and your business, skip it. And, if you're going to be the only user of your plan, feel free to use bullet points and lists instead of complete sentences. This section presents basic information about your business. You can save as you go using "save" so you can return later Both of these can be found in the top right of each page. Some information you enter will be used to fill in a cover letter and a cover page, if you decide to print them as part of your final document. If you're starting up, talk about what led you to start this business, briefly discuss any relevant experience you bring to it, and outline steps you've already taken to get your business off the ground. The plans you make now for your business can help you achieve your personal goals, whatever they may be. It's essential to keep in mind what's important to you and what you want to achieve in both your business and your personal life when writing your business plan. Objectives help you track your business' success according to plan. Your objectives might set targets for sales, profitability, even hours of personal time per week - whatever is most relevant to you, your business, and success as you define it. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time focusing on details, like how to satisfy a specific customer or negotiate with a certain supplier. But your business also operates within a much larger context. Every industry is shaped by a range of factors that affect how customers behave and businesses operate. As you consider industry factors and trends, pay special attention to those you think present special opportunities or challenges for your business. Describe factors and trends affecting your industry, and consider their implications for your business. Issues to think about include: Demographic: These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. Learn More Economic: These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? Learn More Technological: These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the Internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Learn More Regulatory: These describe the role government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. Learn More Environmental: Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. Others like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against. If you're starting up or run an established business, understanding your competitors can help you spot the most under-served customers and the greatest opportunities for success. If you’re winding down, identifying competitors may help you find potential buyers for your business. If you compete with many businesses, consider breaking your competition into categories based on what they offer, and present your main competitors in each cetagory. For instance, a tire retailer might compete with other tire stores, auto dealers, independent mechanics, and large hardware chains. Market Share, from those you think do the most business to those you think do the least, or to group them as "large," "mid-size," and "small" competitors. This can help you understand how you competitors share the marketplace, and where you might be able to carve out a piece for yourself. Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes. By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. The best positioning for your company: Provide brief profiles of any external advisors to your business. These may include professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, and others on whose advice you rely in running your business. If you're winding down, outline any succession plans that provide for management or ownership of the company after your departure. As you draw up your plans, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, and your banker. Alliances are special relationships you have with other businesses that complement your products or services with their own. Often, they can help your business reach new customers or better serve existing ones. It's likely that your business plan involves adding to or changing some aspect of your business. Such decisions can have a significant impact on your business' financial position, and it's crucial to consider them carefully. If you run an established business, detail any major additions or changes you are planning to make. If you're starting up, think about what you need today and what you may need in the future. Consider: As a business owner, it's important to plan for potential changes - in your marketplace, in your community, or in your life. You'll have a much greater chance of succeeding in even the most difficult times if you have a contingency plan. We've done our best to make financial statements understandable. That said, if accounting is not your area of expertise, you may want to work with an accredited accountant or bookkeeper to complete this section. Especially if you aren't familiar with financial statements, it's a good idea to have your Financial Information section reviewed by a reputable accountant or bookkeeper before you share it with others. There are a number of great accounting software programs on the market that can help you complete your Financial Information. If you currently use accounting software to prepare your financial statements, you may use it instead of the templates included here to prepare this section of your business plan. That's why it's crucial to develop a personal financial plan that you periodically review in conjunction with your business plan, planning your personal finances and goals with your business'. There are a number of elements to a personal financial plan, from how you manage your investments and finance your mortgage, to education, retirement, and will and estate planning. Scotiabank offers a range of tools to help you develop and implement a personal financial plan that will help you achieve your goals—and, in turn, help your business succeed. You can learn more about these tools at Get Growing for Business or speak to your Financial Advisor at your local Scotiabank branch. If you run an established business, financial statements from the last few years will communicate where your business is coming from. The more years of historical information you provide, the deeper the insight you'll give into your business' financial position and how it has changed over time. If you already have completed financial statements, you may either attach them in this section of your business plan or enter your business' information into the templates provided. Whatever life stage your business is in, projected financial statements - or "Pro Forma" statements - can help you work through various "what if" scenarios for your business, and allow you to plan where you want your business to go. Note: If you are seeking financing for your business, some lenders or investors may require Audited or Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create projected Balance Sheets that reflect your business plan. That means estimating your assets, liabilities, and equity for coming years. A Balance Sheet is divided into 3 sections: If you run an established business, include past Balance Sheets for your business, ideally for the last three years. If you're starting up, create a Balance Sheet by detailing assets and liabilities your business already has. Income Statement is a summary of your business' performance over a specified period of time, normally one year. It starts with your business' revenues (also called sales) and subtracts the expenses incurred to generate those revenues. If you run an established business, include Income Statements for your business, ideally for the last three years. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create Pro Forma, or projected, Income Statements that reflects your business plan. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. That means estimating your sales, cost of goods of sold (for non-service businesses), expenses - including depreciation, interest, and income taxes - and profit for coming years. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Financial ratios - calculations that relate one item in your financial statements to another - can be valuable tools for assessing your business' financial well-being. In most cases, the usefulness of financial ratios depends on a clear understanding of the relationship between the numbers used and their implications for your day-to-day business. That's why, unless you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, you may want to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you interpret your financial statements and financial ratios. Liquidity describes your business' ability to meet current obligations, like paying supplier invoices or making upcoming loan payments, from assets that can be quickly turned into cash. Generally, the higher the Current Ratio, the more confident you can be of your business' ability to pay short-term obligations. A current ratio of less than 1:1 may mean your business does not have sufficient resources to meet its commitments in the near future and needs additional financing. The Return on Equity Ratio measures the return your business generates for owners who have invested in it. By measuring the percentage return to owners on their cash equity contributions, it is a general indicator of how efficiently your business makes use of owners' money. A low Gross Profit Margin may indicate that your business is selling goods at too low a price, that demand for your product is weak, or that direct material, direct labour, or manufacturing overhead costs can be better controlled. The Net Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar of sales that remains after all expenses have been deducted. When compared to your Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin can be an important indication of how your business manages its expenses. The Debt to Equity Ratio describes the relationship between liabilities and equity. It compares the level of financing provided by creditors like suppliers and banks to the amount that owners have invested in the business. Here you have the option to give a summary of, or state key conclusions you've drawn from, your financial statements. These highlights will appear at the front of the Financial Information section of your finished plan. Now that the key components of your business plan are in place, you're ready ti transform them into a finished document. In Executive Summary, you'll provide an essential quick reference for readers (including yourself) by summarizing the key findings of your plan. In Presentation, you'll have the opportunity to add a customized cover letter, cover page, and table of contents to your plan. The last section you'll write and the first one read, the Executive Summary is a very important page of your business plan. It serves as both an introduction to your plan and a wrap-up of your key findings, insights, and strategies. Well-written, enthusiastic, and to-the-point, it convinces readers to delve deeper. Even if you're only preparing your plan for your own use, it's a good idea to write an Executive Summary, since it gathers the main points of your plan in one place. It may include: Cover Letter: When submitting your business plan to people outside your business, a cover letter can be a simple, effective way to break the ice, introduce your plan, and establish your professional credibility. The Scotia Plan Writer for business™ includes a standard cover letter that you can customize to reflect the unique interests of your audience. Remember, different circumstances and different audiences require different things from your business plan. In presenting your business plan to a new employee, for instance, your Executive Summary might be more focused on your Business Vision, and you may choose not to share your Financial Information. That's why the Scotia Plan Writer for business™ is designed for flexibility once you publish your plan. Using Microsoft Word, you can: By reading below, you can find ideas about which sections of your plan will be relevant to different people, plus materials you should consider including in an appendix to appeal to them. In each case, you'll want to tailor the Executive Summary to your audience. Most readers of your plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible, even as you include the key facts they need. Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan, to test your assumptions, ensure you haven't overlooked anything, and make sure any financial solutions he or she offers fit with your personal and business needs. If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming Statement of Net Worth. In addition, he or she will carefully review your Financial Information, and may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. It's always a good idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan. Your accountant may be especially interested in the Business Description section, and your goals and objectives in particular; Business Operations, which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements; and Financial Information. Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if he or she understands both your personal and business needs. Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them. When it comes to Financial Information, they may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. While you may choose to withhold your Personal Goals and Personal Finances, consider including an Appendix that includes references for your professional advisors; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; and past advertisements and promotional materials. Business/Personal Advisors may be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insight. You may choose not to share personal sections of the plan - like your Personal Statement of Net Worth - with your business advisors. To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an Appendix that includes references for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; past advertisements and promotional materials; and competitors' advertisements, and other materials about them. Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to the Business Description section (excluding your Personal Goals), especially your objectives and your description of your product or service; The Marketplace, which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes; and Sales & Marketing, where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies. Consider adding an Appendix that includes: photographs of your product or service, past advertisements and other promotional materials, and competitors' advertisements and other materials about them. Your lawyer may be most interested in Business Description, The Marketplace, and Business Operations, all of which may provide special insight into legal issues. Your lawyer may also want to see Financial Information. Your existing employees may benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your Personal Goals and Personal Finances. Prospective employees may be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share Business Description (excluding Personal Goals), Sales and Marketing, and an appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials, and photographs of your product or service. Take decisive action to seize opportunities and overcome challenges you've identified. Potential buyers of your business may have their interest piqued by the Business Overview and Product or service description in Business Description. Here are some guidelines to using your plan in the coming weeks, months, and years: are financial statements that forecast when and how much money your business will collect and pay out over a specified period of time, usually one year, and help budget money coming in against money going the agreed-upon parameters that dictate when and how much your customers pay you for goods or services they don’t pay for immediately at the time of purchase (or, alternatively, when and how much you pay your suppliers for purchases you make on account). As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing The Marketplace, Sales & Marketing, Business Operations, and your business' Financial Information. Credit terms usually include a period of time during which payment must be made (e.g. After you complete your business plan, you're in a position to transform what you've learned into action. 30 days), and sometimes include a discount for payment within a certain period of time. is calculated as current assets divided by current liabilities. It is a measure of your business’ liquidity, or the availability of cash or assets that can be converted easily to cash to run the business and meet short-term obligations. are amounts paid to suppliers for products or services that you intend to resell to your customers. For example, a contractor would include all amounts paid to subcontractors for job-related work during the year. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. is the difference between a business’ assets and liabilities. It includes money that owners or shareholders have contributed to the business and profits that have been reinvested in it. For a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is often called “owner’s equity”. For an incorporated business, it can be referred to as “shareholder’s equity”. represents the amount of money (equity) owners, partners, or shareholders have invested in the business, excluding owner’s – or shareholder’s – loans. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, this is known as “cash equity contributions”. For incorporated companies, it is known as “capital stock”., also called capital assets, are long-term assets that you expect will still be helping your business make money beyond the next twelve months, like land, buildings, equipment, and other items you use in your business operations. With the exception of land, which is always listed at its cost, all fixed assets are subject to depreciation. captures the relationship between sales and cost of goods sold. It’s the percentage of every dollar in sales you have left over after paying direct costs for manufacturing or acquiring goods sold, to cover all remaining expenses and taxes. It is the amount you pay in interest on your business borrowings during a specified period, and may include interest on your operating line of credit, term loans, credit card balances, and loans from finance companies and other lenders. is a business structure, where there are two kinds of partners: general partners who manage the business and are personally liable for debts, and limited partners whose participation in the business is limited to investing money, and whose liability is consequently limited to their investment in the business. is the total amount you owe on long-term loans, including mortgages. The amount due in the next 12 months, called the current portion of long-term debt, is listed as a current liability on your Balance Sheet. The portion not due to be repaid in the next 12 months is listed as a long-term liability. is the relative size of one business’ portion of the market. In percentage terms, it is one business’ sales of a particular product or service divided by the total sales for that product or service in the marketplace. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. are the amounts owed to you, your partners, or other shareholders for loans made to your business, which are expected to be repaid. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, these are known as “owner’s loans”. For incorporated businesses, they are known as “shareholder’s loans”. are financial statements that have been reviewed by an independent accountant who determines whether they are plausible within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Accounts receivable are the total amounts customers owe your business on the date of your Balance Sheet. A review engagement is similar to an audit, except that no opinion is expressed on the statements. When recording them on your Balance Sheet, be sure to subtract out “bad debts” – receivables you believe will never be collected. is a legal structure of a business, where the business is wholly owned by one person, called the sole proprietor. Inventory is the raw materials, partially completed products, and finished goods that your business is currently holding to sell to your customers. The business owner and the business are not separate legal entities, which means the sole proprietor personally owns the business’ assets and is liable for all business the name your business “goes by,” which can be different from its legal name. On your Balance Sheet, inventory is usually listed at the cost you paid to acquire it. If, however, your inventory’s current market value is below the price you paid for it – because, say, prices have fallen or items have become outdated or damaged – you should list it at its current market value. Prepaid expenses arise when your business pays for something "up front." For instance, say you paid $1,000 for twelve months of insurance on September 1, and you're creating a Balance Sheet three months later, on December 1. You would list $750 as a prepaid expense, since only 25% of the period of coverage has expired. (Even though prepaid expenses never turn into cash, accounting convention dictates that they be included with current assets.) Depreciation is a way to reflect that fixed assets wear out or become obsolete over time, by gradually reducing the value of such assets on your Balance Sheet. Assume you spend $1,000 to buy a computer that you expect to replace in five years. Depreciation is an accounting practice that allows you to spread the expense of buying the computer over its estimated useful life, by, for example, deducting $200 from the value listed on your Balance Sheet each year for five years. Amortization is like depreciation, except it applies to intangible assets with a limited life. Accounting depreciation may vary from tax depreciation. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency, for standard depreciation rules for your business. Your objectives should move you closer to your Personal Goals and Business Vision. For instance, a reasonable short-term objective might be to obtain a loan to buy a new piece of equipment in the next three months, or to hire another person by the end of the year to free up personal time for yourself. A long-term objective might be to hit specific sales goals two years from now. Once you've completed your business plan, consider returning to Business Objectives. You may want to change or add new objectives as a result of the plan-writing process. These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. For instance, let's say you provide home delivery of hot meals to the elderly. If the number of elderly people in the general population is growing rapidly, it's a good sign for your business. If the number of elderly people is shrinking, on the other hand, you might consider targeting other types of customers. Statistics Canada These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? If you're an auto mechanic, for instance, a national economic downturn might be good for business, since customers may prefer to have their old cars repaired rather than buy new ones. Low interest rates, on the other hand, might lead potential customers to borrow money and buy new cars. These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Trade publications and technology-focused magazines are great sources of information about how technological factors and trends are affecting your industry. These describe the role of government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. For instance, chiropractors must earn a degree from an accredited chiropractic college, spend several years training, and finally pass a licensing exam before they may practice. Patents and copyrights can limit the amount of direct competition you face. Trade associations for your industry are a great place to start when researching regulatory factors and trends. Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. Others, like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. And some businesses - from allergists to trucking companies - work with potentially hazardous materials that they must take special care to administer and dispose of, which can have a significant impact on their costs. What is your industry's relationship to the environment? Are there any trends, like a call for environmentally-friendly products, that may affect the way your business operates? One of the best ways to identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is to approach them from a customer's perspective. Try visiting their business - in person, over the phone, or on their Web site - to find out what they offer and for how much, or have an unbiased friend do this sort of research for you. Also, pay attention to advertisements, which contain lots of information about how your competitors perceive their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're targeting individual consumers, think in terms of defining characteristics like age, gender, income level, culture and lifestyle. If you're targeting other businesses, think in terms of the size of those businesses, and how and by whom buying decisions are made within them. While your competitive advantage describes what makes your business special from the inside, your positioning states what makes it special from the outside - from the customer's perspective. For example, a yoga instructor may position her services in a way that emphasizes health, prestige, or cost. Different positioning attracts different clientele. Finally, remember that lower prices may mean you'll sell more, but you'll make smaller profits on each sale. Higher prices will likely mean that you'll attract fewer customers - however, you may make more on each transaction. There are countless ways to promote your business in the marketplace. You can set up a website, speak at conferences, send a newsletter, hold a contest, print a brochure, air a radio commercial, or sponsor the local Little League team. Try visiting the Canada Business Services Centres' website at for more ideas, or consult any number of books on the subject at your local bookstore or library. If you run an established business, ask your existing customers how they found you. Plus, consider asking satisfied customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your business, or to provide customer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts. Customer service is a key part of keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. The right sort of customer service can help you appeal to your target customers, and can also offer them advantages that your competitors don't provide. Customer service can include ongoing technical support, loyalty programs, and even calling existing customers each month to see if they have any needs you can help with. Consider areas ranging from marketing, sales, and purchasing, to administration, legal, and bookkeeping. When deciding what sort of advisors your business might need, start by examining the profiles of your team. You'll likely find areas in which no one on your team has experience. These are the areas where you'll either require external advisors, or where you may need to hire additional staff. There are 2 kinds of external advisors that business owners should consider. Business/Personal advisors are unpaid individuals whose experiences and advice you and your business benefit from. A personal advisor may be a friend or family member, who offers guidance both in managing your business and in working towards the right work-life balance for you. Business advisors are mentors whose work skills and expertise go beyond your team's. By inviting such people to be advisors, you'll gain a valuable sounding board for your ideas and plans, and you may lend greater credibility to your business. Professional services advisors are paid professionals who are qualified to help you and your business in certain areas, like tax, legal, and finance. Suppliers include any business whose products or services you need to provide your offering to customers. If you run a mail-order specialty candy store, your suppliers include the wholesaler you buy your ingredients from, the designer and printer of your catalog, and the shipping service you use to send your product to customers. Your suppliers must be able to meet your needs in terms of delivery, billing, cost, and service. They should help you get your products to your customers on time, at the right place and in the right condition - all of which have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales success. If you run an established business, consider how your suppliers do this and if any improvements could be made. The right credit terms can be especially critical when working with suppliers. For instance, you may have a hard time paying the bills if your biggest supplier requires payment in 30 days, and your customers don't pay you for 60 days. Also, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of supplier discounts for paying within a certain period of time. If you're starting up, speaking with other businesses in your industry can be a great way to identify potential suppliers. When considering possible alliances, look for businesses that are a logical fit with your own. For instance, a copywriter might align herself with a design firm. That way, the copywriter can offer design services to her clients, and the design firm can offer copywriting services to theirs. Most businesses are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects you and your business against employee lawsuits related to work injuries and illnesses and provides benefits to injured employees. To learn more, visit the website of your provincial workers' compensation board or commission. Businesses that hold inventory show cost of goods sold. If your business only sells services, like aerobics class instruction, then you can skip the cost of goods sold section of the Income Statement. Cost of goods sold can be calculated by taking inventory at the start of the accounting period, adding any expenses that relate directly to your products, and subtracting the amount left in inventory at the end of the period. Different types of businesses include different costs in cost of goods sold: This can include employee salaries, hourly wages, commissions or the cost of providing additional benefits such as health insurance, a car allowance or the cost of any other benefits you offer your employees. Your tax rate is the percentage of your net profit before tax that you'll be required to pay in taxes. Only incorporated businesses show and subtract income tax on their Income Statements. That's because if you are sole proprietor or partner, you declare and pay these taxes on your personal income tax return. When compiling historical Income Statements, check your records or consult your accountant or bookkeeper to find out your tax rate in the past. If you're unable to estimate your tax rate for your projected Income Statements, it's acceptable to leave the line blank and end your Income Statement with net profit before tax. Your Cash Flow Projections detail when you expect to receive payments from sales and pay out expenses described in your projected Income Statement. If you're starting up, begin your projections by listing the amount and timing of special start-up expenditures, including purchase of start-up inventory, utility set-up fees, incorporation fees (if applicable), and other one-time expenses. In doing so, you may find it helpful to refer back to the Planned Changes section of your plan. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, how much cash you take in and pay out is based on the sales and expenses projections you made in your projected Income Statement. First, break down your projected annual sales from your projected Income Statement into monthly sales. For instance, a bricklayer might do the majority of his business during the summer months. Second, estimate what portion of your sales occur on a cash basis - that is, what percentage you get paid for immediately. This proportion decides how much to list as "cash sales" each month. Third, estimate what portion of your customers pay within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or beyond, based on the credit. Finally, list cash outflows as you expect to pay them. Include regular monthly expenses like rent and telephone charges, as well as expected expenditures for items like new equipment or repairs. If you run an established business, remember to reflect the fact that you expect to collect accounts receivable related to recent sales - not just sales projected on your projected Income Statement. If you have finished your business plan or would like to produce a hard copy of your business plan, you can use one of the two options below. By selecting "Copy To Text File" you will have copied all of the business plan into your memory or clipboard. Go to your desired word processor and select "Paste". You will most likely need to format the text and layout for your desired look. Or you can select "Export as Word Document" and you will be prompted for a file name and location. Once complete you can open the file you have just created using word. You now have a finished and formatted business plan. The next portion of writing your business plan involves creating some detailed financial statements including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement. If you prefer not to complete the financials, feel free to move onto section 7, where you’ll be able to complete your plan. ###data_your-name### ###data_business-legal-name### ###data_business-address### ###todays-date### ###data_cover-letter### ###data_salutation###, I'm very pleased to enclose my business plan for ###data_business-legal-name###. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about my business, a thorough assessment of opportunities in the marketplace, and a detailed plan for seizing them. I look forward to the possibility of working with you to make ###data_business-legal-name### a success in the coming months and years. _____________________ Executive Summary ###data_executive-summary### Business Plan ###data_business-legal-name### operating as ###data_business-trade-name### Legal name of business ###data_business-legal-name### Trade name of business ###data_business-trade-name### Business address ###data_business-address### Mailing address ###data_mailing-address### Phone number (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3### Fax number ###data_fax-numbers### E-mail address ###data_email-address### Structure of business ###business-type### Date business established ###data_date-established### Nature of business ###data_nature-of-business### Bank and branch location used for business matters ###data_business-branch-loc### Bank and branch location used for personal matters ###data_personal-branch-location### ###data_owner-name-label### ###data_ownership-percent-label### ###data_owner-name-1### ###data_ownership-percent-1### ###data_owner-name-2### ###data_ownership-percent-2### ###data_owner-name-3### ###data_ownership-percent-3### ###data_owner-name-4### ###data_ownership-percent-4### Business Background ###data_business-story-1### ###data_business-story-2### ###data_business-story-3### ###data_business-story-4### Personal Goals ###data_life-goals### ###data_business-goals### ###data_personal-goals### Business Vision ###data_business-vision### Business Objectives Short-term Objectives ###data_short-term-obj### Long-term Objectives ###data_long-term-obj### Product Description ###data_your-product### Competitive Advantage ###data_competitive-advantage### The Marketplace Industry Factors and Trends ###data_factors And Trends1### Industry Outlook ###data_industry-outlook### ###data_factors And Trends2### Market Size ###data_factors And Trends3### ###data_market-size### Competitors Competitive Environment ###data_main-competitors### ###data_rank-competitors### ###data_competitors-strength-weakness### Competitive Opportunities & Challenges Opportunities ###data_opportunity-and-challenge### Challenges ###data_competitor-protection### Customers Customer Segments ###data_market-segments### Target Customers ###data_target-customers### Sales & Marketing Positioning ###data_key-benefits### Pricing ###data_explain-pricing### Promotion ###data_promotional-efforts### Sales ###data_customer-service### Business Operations The Team ###data_team-profiles### Advisors ###data_advisor-profiles### Hiring Plans ###data_hiring-plans### ###data_succession-label### ###data_succession-plans### Suppliers ###data_suppliers### ###data_potential-suppliers### Alliances ###data_alliances### Planned Changes ###data_plan-changes### Contingency Plans ###data_contingency-plans### Financial Information Financial Highlights ###data_highlights### Personal Finance Sheet Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-1### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-1### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-1### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-1### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-1### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-1### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-1### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-1### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-1### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-1### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-1### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-1### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-1### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-1### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-1### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_1### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_1### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_1### ###data_pf-current-value-1_1### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_1### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-1### Your other employment income (eg. I am eager to hear your comments and answer any questions you may have. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-1### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-1### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-1### Other income (eg. You can reach me at (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3###. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-1### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-1### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-1### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-1### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-1### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-1### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-1### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-1### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-1### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-2### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-2### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-2### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-2### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-2### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-2### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-2### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-2### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-2### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-2### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-2### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-2### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-2### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-2### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-2### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_2### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_2### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_2### ###data_pf-current-value-1_2### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_2### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-2### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-2### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-2### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-2### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-2### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-2### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-2### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-2### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-2### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-2### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-2### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-2### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-2### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-3### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-3### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-3### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-3### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-3### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-3### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-3### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-3### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-3### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-3### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-3### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-3### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-3### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-3### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-3### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_3### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_3### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_3### ###data_pf-current-value-1_3### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_3### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-3### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-3### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-3### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-3### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-3### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-3### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-3### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-3### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-3### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-3### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.

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||Careers at APEGA APEGA

Careers at APEGA APEGA Most important, writing a business plan is a way to help you succeed. That's because writing a plan forces you to answer tough questions about every aspect of your business, including the close relationship between it and your personal life. The most important user of your business plan is you. The information, insights, and strategies you outline will have a direct impact on your own life. So if you come across a section that you're convinced has no relevance to you and your business, skip it. And, if you're going to be the only user of your plan, feel free to use bullet points and lists instead of complete sentences. This section presents basic information about your business. You can save as you go using "save" so you can return later Both of these can be found in the top right of each page. Some information you enter will be used to fill in a cover letter and a cover page, if you decide to print them as part of your final document. If you're starting up, talk about what led you to start this business, briefly discuss any relevant experience you bring to it, and outline steps you've already taken to get your business off the ground. The plans you make now for your business can help you achieve your personal goals, whatever they may be. It's essential to keep in mind what's important to you and what you want to achieve in both your business and your personal life when writing your business plan. Objectives help you track your business' success according to plan. Your objectives might set targets for sales, profitability, even hours of personal time per week - whatever is most relevant to you, your business, and success as you define it. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time focusing on details, like how to satisfy a specific customer or negotiate with a certain supplier. But your business also operates within a much larger context. Every industry is shaped by a range of factors that affect how customers behave and businesses operate. As you consider industry factors and trends, pay special attention to those you think present special opportunities or challenges for your business. Describe factors and trends affecting your industry, and consider their implications for your business. Issues to think about include: Demographic: These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. Learn More Economic: These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? Learn More Technological: These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the Internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Learn More Regulatory: These describe the role government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. Learn More Environmental: Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. Others like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against. If you're starting up or run an established business, understanding your competitors can help you spot the most under-served customers and the greatest opportunities for success. If you’re winding down, identifying competitors may help you find potential buyers for your business. If you compete with many businesses, consider breaking your competition into categories based on what they offer, and present your main competitors in each cetagory. For instance, a tire retailer might compete with other tire stores, auto dealers, independent mechanics, and large hardware chains. Market Share, from those you think do the most business to those you think do the least, or to group them as "large," "mid-size," and "small" competitors. This can help you understand how you competitors share the marketplace, and where you might be able to carve out a piece for yourself. Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes. By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. The best positioning for your company: Provide brief profiles of any external advisors to your business. These may include professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, and others on whose advice you rely in running your business. If you're winding down, outline any succession plans that provide for management or ownership of the company after your departure. As you draw up your plans, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, and your banker. Alliances are special relationships you have with other businesses that complement your products or services with their own. Often, they can help your business reach new customers or better serve existing ones. It's likely that your business plan involves adding to or changing some aspect of your business. Such decisions can have a significant impact on your business' financial position, and it's crucial to consider them carefully. If you run an established business, detail any major additions or changes you are planning to make. If you're starting up, think about what you need today and what you may need in the future. Consider: As a business owner, it's important to plan for potential changes - in your marketplace, in your community, or in your life. You'll have a much greater chance of succeeding in even the most difficult times if you have a contingency plan. We've done our best to make financial statements understandable. That said, if accounting is not your area of expertise, you may want to work with an accredited accountant or bookkeeper to complete this section. Especially if you aren't familiar with financial statements, it's a good idea to have your Financial Information section reviewed by a reputable accountant or bookkeeper before you share it with others. There are a number of great accounting software programs on the market that can help you complete your Financial Information. If you currently use accounting software to prepare your financial statements, you may use it instead of the templates included here to prepare this section of your business plan. That's why it's crucial to develop a personal financial plan that you periodically review in conjunction with your business plan, planning your personal finances and goals with your business'. There are a number of elements to a personal financial plan, from how you manage your investments and finance your mortgage, to education, retirement, and will and estate planning. Scotiabank offers a range of tools to help you develop and implement a personal financial plan that will help you achieve your goals—and, in turn, help your business succeed. You can learn more about these tools at Get Growing for Business or speak to your Financial Advisor at your local Scotiabank branch. If you run an established business, financial statements from the last few years will communicate where your business is coming from. The more years of historical information you provide, the deeper the insight you'll give into your business' financial position and how it has changed over time. If you already have completed financial statements, you may either attach them in this section of your business plan or enter your business' information into the templates provided. Whatever life stage your business is in, projected financial statements - or "Pro Forma" statements - can help you work through various "what if" scenarios for your business, and allow you to plan where you want your business to go. Note: If you are seeking financing for your business, some lenders or investors may require Audited or Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create projected Balance Sheets that reflect your business plan. That means estimating your assets, liabilities, and equity for coming years. A Balance Sheet is divided into 3 sections: If you run an established business, include past Balance Sheets for your business, ideally for the last three years. If you're starting up, create a Balance Sheet by detailing assets and liabilities your business already has. Income Statement is a summary of your business' performance over a specified period of time, normally one year. It starts with your business' revenues (also called sales) and subtracts the expenses incurred to generate those revenues. If you run an established business, include Income Statements for your business, ideally for the last three years. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create Pro Forma, or projected, Income Statements that reflects your business plan. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. That means estimating your sales, cost of goods of sold (for non-service businesses), expenses - including depreciation, interest, and income taxes - and profit for coming years. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Financial ratios - calculations that relate one item in your financial statements to another - can be valuable tools for assessing your business' financial well-being. In most cases, the usefulness of financial ratios depends on a clear understanding of the relationship between the numbers used and their implications for your day-to-day business. That's why, unless you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, you may want to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you interpret your financial statements and financial ratios. Liquidity describes your business' ability to meet current obligations, like paying supplier invoices or making upcoming loan payments, from assets that can be quickly turned into cash. Generally, the higher the Current Ratio, the more confident you can be of your business' ability to pay short-term obligations. A current ratio of less than 1:1 may mean your business does not have sufficient resources to meet its commitments in the near future and needs additional financing. The Return on Equity Ratio measures the return your business generates for owners who have invested in it. By measuring the percentage return to owners on their cash equity contributions, it is a general indicator of how efficiently your business makes use of owners' money. A low Gross Profit Margin may indicate that your business is selling goods at too low a price, that demand for your product is weak, or that direct material, direct labour, or manufacturing overhead costs can be better controlled. The Net Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar of sales that remains after all expenses have been deducted. When compared to your Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin can be an important indication of how your business manages its expenses. The Debt to Equity Ratio describes the relationship between liabilities and equity. It compares the level of financing provided by creditors like suppliers and banks to the amount that owners have invested in the business. Here you have the option to give a summary of, or state key conclusions you've drawn from, your financial statements. These highlights will appear at the front of the Financial Information section of your finished plan. Now that the key components of your business plan are in place, you're ready ti transform them into a finished document. In Executive Summary, you'll provide an essential quick reference for readers (including yourself) by summarizing the key findings of your plan. In Presentation, you'll have the opportunity to add a customized cover letter, cover page, and table of contents to your plan. The last section you'll write and the first one read, the Executive Summary is a very important page of your business plan. It serves as both an introduction to your plan and a wrap-up of your key findings, insights, and strategies. Well-written, enthusiastic, and to-the-point, it convinces readers to delve deeper. Even if you're only preparing your plan for your own use, it's a good idea to write an Executive Summary, since it gathers the main points of your plan in one place. It may include: Cover Letter: When submitting your business plan to people outside your business, a cover letter can be a simple, effective way to break the ice, introduce your plan, and establish your professional credibility. The Scotia Plan Writer for business™ includes a standard cover letter that you can customize to reflect the unique interests of your audience. Remember, different circumstances and different audiences require different things from your business plan. In presenting your business plan to a new employee, for instance, your Executive Summary might be more focused on your Business Vision, and you may choose not to share your Financial Information. That's why the Scotia Plan Writer for business™ is designed for flexibility once you publish your plan. Using Microsoft Word, you can: By reading below, you can find ideas about which sections of your plan will be relevant to different people, plus materials you should consider including in an appendix to appeal to them. In each case, you'll want to tailor the Executive Summary to your audience. Most readers of your plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible, even as you include the key facts they need. Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan, to test your assumptions, ensure you haven't overlooked anything, and make sure any financial solutions he or she offers fit with your personal and business needs. If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming Statement of Net Worth. In addition, he or she will carefully review your Financial Information, and may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. It's always a good idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan. Your accountant may be especially interested in the Business Description section, and your goals and objectives in particular; Business Operations, which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements; and Financial Information. Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if he or she understands both your personal and business needs. Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them. When it comes to Financial Information, they may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. While you may choose to withhold your Personal Goals and Personal Finances, consider including an Appendix that includes references for your professional advisors; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; and past advertisements and promotional materials. Business/Personal Advisors may be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insight. You may choose not to share personal sections of the plan - like your Personal Statement of Net Worth - with your business advisors. To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an Appendix that includes references for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; past advertisements and promotional materials; and competitors' advertisements, and other materials about them. Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to the Business Description section (excluding your Personal Goals), especially your objectives and your description of your product or service; The Marketplace, which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes; and Sales & Marketing, where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies. Consider adding an Appendix that includes: photographs of your product or service, past advertisements and other promotional materials, and competitors' advertisements and other materials about them. Your lawyer may be most interested in Business Description, The Marketplace, and Business Operations, all of which may provide special insight into legal issues. Your lawyer may also want to see Financial Information. Your existing employees may benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your Personal Goals and Personal Finances. Prospective employees may be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share Business Description (excluding Personal Goals), Sales and Marketing, and an appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials, and photographs of your product or service. Take decisive action to seize opportunities and overcome challenges you've identified. Potential buyers of your business may have their interest piqued by the Business Overview and Product or service description in Business Description. Here are some guidelines to using your plan in the coming weeks, months, and years: are financial statements that forecast when and how much money your business will collect and pay out over a specified period of time, usually one year, and help budget money coming in against money going the agreed-upon parameters that dictate when and how much your customers pay you for goods or services they don’t pay for immediately at the time of purchase (or, alternatively, when and how much you pay your suppliers for purchases you make on account). As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing The Marketplace, Sales & Marketing, Business Operations, and your business' Financial Information. Credit terms usually include a period of time during which payment must be made (e.g. After you complete your business plan, you're in a position to transform what you've learned into action. 30 days), and sometimes include a discount for payment within a certain period of time. is calculated as current assets divided by current liabilities. It is a measure of your business’ liquidity, or the availability of cash or assets that can be converted easily to cash to run the business and meet short-term obligations. are amounts paid to suppliers for products or services that you intend to resell to your customers. For example, a contractor would include all amounts paid to subcontractors for job-related work during the year. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. is the difference between a business’ assets and liabilities. It includes money that owners or shareholders have contributed to the business and profits that have been reinvested in it. For a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is often called “owner’s equity”. For an incorporated business, it can be referred to as “shareholder’s equity”. represents the amount of money (equity) owners, partners, or shareholders have invested in the business, excluding owner’s – or shareholder’s – loans. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, this is known as “cash equity contributions”. For incorporated companies, it is known as “capital stock”., also called capital assets, are long-term assets that you expect will still be helping your business make money beyond the next twelve months, like land, buildings, equipment, and other items you use in your business operations. With the exception of land, which is always listed at its cost, all fixed assets are subject to depreciation. captures the relationship between sales and cost of goods sold. It’s the percentage of every dollar in sales you have left over after paying direct costs for manufacturing or acquiring goods sold, to cover all remaining expenses and taxes. It is the amount you pay in interest on your business borrowings during a specified period, and may include interest on your operating line of credit, term loans, credit card balances, and loans from finance companies and other lenders. is a business structure, where there are two kinds of partners: general partners who manage the business and are personally liable for debts, and limited partners whose participation in the business is limited to investing money, and whose liability is consequently limited to their investment in the business. is the total amount you owe on long-term loans, including mortgages. The amount due in the next 12 months, called the current portion of long-term debt, is listed as a current liability on your Balance Sheet. The portion not due to be repaid in the next 12 months is listed as a long-term liability. is the relative size of one business’ portion of the market. In percentage terms, it is one business’ sales of a particular product or service divided by the total sales for that product or service in the marketplace. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. are the amounts owed to you, your partners, or other shareholders for loans made to your business, which are expected to be repaid. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, these are known as “owner’s loans”. For incorporated businesses, they are known as “shareholder’s loans”. are financial statements that have been reviewed by an independent accountant who determines whether they are plausible within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Accounts receivable are the total amounts customers owe your business on the date of your Balance Sheet. A review engagement is similar to an audit, except that no opinion is expressed on the statements. When recording them on your Balance Sheet, be sure to subtract out “bad debts” – receivables you believe will never be collected. is a legal structure of a business, where the business is wholly owned by one person, called the sole proprietor. Inventory is the raw materials, partially completed products, and finished goods that your business is currently holding to sell to your customers. The business owner and the business are not separate legal entities, which means the sole proprietor personally owns the business’ assets and is liable for all business the name your business “goes by,” which can be different from its legal name. On your Balance Sheet, inventory is usually listed at the cost you paid to acquire it. If, however, your inventory’s current market value is below the price you paid for it – because, say, prices have fallen or items have become outdated or damaged – you should list it at its current market value. Prepaid expenses arise when your business pays for something "up front." For instance, say you paid $1,000 for twelve months of insurance on September 1, and you're creating a Balance Sheet three months later, on December 1. You would list $750 as a prepaid expense, since only 25% of the period of coverage has expired. (Even though prepaid expenses never turn into cash, accounting convention dictates that they be included with current assets.) Depreciation is a way to reflect that fixed assets wear out or become obsolete over time, by gradually reducing the value of such assets on your Balance Sheet. Assume you spend $1,000 to buy a computer that you expect to replace in five years. Depreciation is an accounting practice that allows you to spread the expense of buying the computer over its estimated useful life, by, for example, deducting $200 from the value listed on your Balance Sheet each year for five years. Amortization is like depreciation, except it applies to intangible assets with a limited life. Accounting depreciation may vary from tax depreciation. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency, for standard depreciation rules for your business. Your objectives should move you closer to your Personal Goals and Business Vision. For instance, a reasonable short-term objective might be to obtain a loan to buy a new piece of equipment in the next three months, or to hire another person by the end of the year to free up personal time for yourself. A long-term objective might be to hit specific sales goals two years from now. Once you've completed your business plan, consider returning to Business Objectives. You may want to change or add new objectives as a result of the plan-writing process. These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. For instance, let's say you provide home delivery of hot meals to the elderly. If the number of elderly people in the general population is growing rapidly, it's a good sign for your business. If the number of elderly people is shrinking, on the other hand, you might consider targeting other types of customers. Statistics Canada These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? If you're an auto mechanic, for instance, a national economic downturn might be good for business, since customers may prefer to have their old cars repaired rather than buy new ones. Low interest rates, on the other hand, might lead potential customers to borrow money and buy new cars. These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Trade publications and technology-focused magazines are great sources of information about how technological factors and trends are affecting your industry. These describe the role of government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. For instance, chiropractors must earn a degree from an accredited chiropractic college, spend several years training, and finally pass a licensing exam before they may practice. Patents and copyrights can limit the amount of direct competition you face. Trade associations for your industry are a great place to start when researching regulatory factors and trends. Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. Others, like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. And some businesses - from allergists to trucking companies - work with potentially hazardous materials that they must take special care to administer and dispose of, which can have a significant impact on their costs. What is your industry's relationship to the environment? Are there any trends, like a call for environmentally-friendly products, that may affect the way your business operates? One of the best ways to identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is to approach them from a customer's perspective. Try visiting their business - in person, over the phone, or on their Web site - to find out what they offer and for how much, or have an unbiased friend do this sort of research for you. Also, pay attention to advertisements, which contain lots of information about how your competitors perceive their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're targeting individual consumers, think in terms of defining characteristics like age, gender, income level, culture and lifestyle. If you're targeting other businesses, think in terms of the size of those businesses, and how and by whom buying decisions are made within them. While your competitive advantage describes what makes your business special from the inside, your positioning states what makes it special from the outside - from the customer's perspective. For example, a yoga instructor may position her services in a way that emphasizes health, prestige, or cost. Different positioning attracts different clientele. Finally, remember that lower prices may mean you'll sell more, but you'll make smaller profits on each sale. Higher prices will likely mean that you'll attract fewer customers - however, you may make more on each transaction. There are countless ways to promote your business in the marketplace. You can set up a website, speak at conferences, send a newsletter, hold a contest, print a brochure, air a radio commercial, or sponsor the local Little League team. Try visiting the Canada Business Services Centres' website at for more ideas, or consult any number of books on the subject at your local bookstore or library. If you run an established business, ask your existing customers how they found you. Plus, consider asking satisfied customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your business, or to provide customer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts. Customer service is a key part of keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. The right sort of customer service can help you appeal to your target customers, and can also offer them advantages that your competitors don't provide. Customer service can include ongoing technical support, loyalty programs, and even calling existing customers each month to see if they have any needs you can help with. Consider areas ranging from marketing, sales, and purchasing, to administration, legal, and bookkeeping. When deciding what sort of advisors your business might need, start by examining the profiles of your team. You'll likely find areas in which no one on your team has experience. These are the areas where you'll either require external advisors, or where you may need to hire additional staff. There are 2 kinds of external advisors that business owners should consider. Business/Personal advisors are unpaid individuals whose experiences and advice you and your business benefit from. A personal advisor may be a friend or family member, who offers guidance both in managing your business and in working towards the right work-life balance for you. Business advisors are mentors whose work skills and expertise go beyond your team's. By inviting such people to be advisors, you'll gain a valuable sounding board for your ideas and plans, and you may lend greater credibility to your business. Professional services advisors are paid professionals who are qualified to help you and your business in certain areas, like tax, legal, and finance. Suppliers include any business whose products or services you need to provide your offering to customers. If you run a mail-order specialty candy store, your suppliers include the wholesaler you buy your ingredients from, the designer and printer of your catalog, and the shipping service you use to send your product to customers. Your suppliers must be able to meet your needs in terms of delivery, billing, cost, and service. They should help you get your products to your customers on time, at the right place and in the right condition - all of which have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales success. If you run an established business, consider how your suppliers do this and if any improvements could be made. The right credit terms can be especially critical when working with suppliers. For instance, you may have a hard time paying the bills if your biggest supplier requires payment in 30 days, and your customers don't pay you for 60 days. Also, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of supplier discounts for paying within a certain period of time. If you're starting up, speaking with other businesses in your industry can be a great way to identify potential suppliers. When considering possible alliances, look for businesses that are a logical fit with your own. For instance, a copywriter might align herself with a design firm. That way, the copywriter can offer design services to her clients, and the design firm can offer copywriting services to theirs. Most businesses are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects you and your business against employee lawsuits related to work injuries and illnesses and provides benefits to injured employees. To learn more, visit the website of your provincial workers' compensation board or commission. Businesses that hold inventory show cost of goods sold. If your business only sells services, like aerobics class instruction, then you can skip the cost of goods sold section of the Income Statement. Cost of goods sold can be calculated by taking inventory at the start of the accounting period, adding any expenses that relate directly to your products, and subtracting the amount left in inventory at the end of the period. Different types of businesses include different costs in cost of goods sold: This can include employee salaries, hourly wages, commissions or the cost of providing additional benefits such as health insurance, a car allowance or the cost of any other benefits you offer your employees. Your tax rate is the percentage of your net profit before tax that you'll be required to pay in taxes. Only incorporated businesses show and subtract income tax on their Income Statements. That's because if you are sole proprietor or partner, you declare and pay these taxes on your personal income tax return. When compiling historical Income Statements, check your records or consult your accountant or bookkeeper to find out your tax rate in the past. If you're unable to estimate your tax rate for your projected Income Statements, it's acceptable to leave the line blank and end your Income Statement with net profit before tax. Your Cash Flow Projections detail when you expect to receive payments from sales and pay out expenses described in your projected Income Statement. If you're starting up, begin your projections by listing the amount and timing of special start-up expenditures, including purchase of start-up inventory, utility set-up fees, incorporation fees (if applicable), and other one-time expenses. In doing so, you may find it helpful to refer back to the Planned Changes section of your plan. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, how much cash you take in and pay out is based on the sales and expenses projections you made in your projected Income Statement. First, break down your projected annual sales from your projected Income Statement into monthly sales. For instance, a bricklayer might do the majority of his business during the summer months. Second, estimate what portion of your sales occur on a cash basis - that is, what percentage you get paid for immediately. This proportion decides how much to list as "cash sales" each month. Third, estimate what portion of your customers pay within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or beyond, based on the credit. Finally, list cash outflows as you expect to pay them. Include regular monthly expenses like rent and telephone charges, as well as expected expenditures for items like new equipment or repairs. If you run an established business, remember to reflect the fact that you expect to collect accounts receivable related to recent sales - not just sales projected on your projected Income Statement. If you have finished your business plan or would like to produce a hard copy of your business plan, you can use one of the two options below. By selecting "Copy To Text File" you will have copied all of the business plan into your memory or clipboard. Go to your desired word processor and select "Paste". You will most likely need to format the text and layout for your desired look. Or you can select "Export as Word Document" and you will be prompted for a file name and location. Once complete you can open the file you have just created using word. You now have a finished and formatted business plan. The next portion of writing your business plan involves creating some detailed financial statements including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement. If you prefer not to complete the financials, feel free to move onto section 7, where you’ll be able to complete your plan. ###data_your-name### ###data_business-legal-name### ###data_business-address### ###todays-date### ###data_cover-letter### ###data_salutation###, I'm very pleased to enclose my business plan for ###data_business-legal-name###. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about my business, a thorough assessment of opportunities in the marketplace, and a detailed plan for seizing them. I look forward to the possibility of working with you to make ###data_business-legal-name### a success in the coming months and years. _____________________ Executive Summary ###data_executive-summary### Business Plan ###data_business-legal-name### operating as ###data_business-trade-name### Legal name of business ###data_business-legal-name### Trade name of business ###data_business-trade-name### Business address ###data_business-address### Mailing address ###data_mailing-address### Phone number (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3### Fax number ###data_fax-numbers### E-mail address ###data_email-address### Structure of business ###business-type### Date business established ###data_date-established### Nature of business ###data_nature-of-business### Bank and branch location used for business matters ###data_business-branch-loc### Bank and branch location used for personal matters ###data_personal-branch-location### ###data_owner-name-label### ###data_ownership-percent-label### ###data_owner-name-1### ###data_ownership-percent-1### ###data_owner-name-2### ###data_ownership-percent-2### ###data_owner-name-3### ###data_ownership-percent-3### ###data_owner-name-4### ###data_ownership-percent-4### Business Background ###data_business-story-1### ###data_business-story-2### ###data_business-story-3### ###data_business-story-4### Personal Goals ###data_life-goals### ###data_business-goals### ###data_personal-goals### Business Vision ###data_business-vision### Business Objectives Short-term Objectives ###data_short-term-obj### Long-term Objectives ###data_long-term-obj### Product Description ###data_your-product### Competitive Advantage ###data_competitive-advantage### The Marketplace Industry Factors and Trends ###data_factors And Trends1### Industry Outlook ###data_industry-outlook### ###data_factors And Trends2### Market Size ###data_factors And Trends3### ###data_market-size### Competitors Competitive Environment ###data_main-competitors### ###data_rank-competitors### ###data_competitors-strength-weakness### Competitive Opportunities & Challenges Opportunities ###data_opportunity-and-challenge### Challenges ###data_competitor-protection### Customers Customer Segments ###data_market-segments### Target Customers ###data_target-customers### Sales & Marketing Positioning ###data_key-benefits### Pricing ###data_explain-pricing### Promotion ###data_promotional-efforts### Sales ###data_customer-service### Business Operations The Team ###data_team-profiles### Advisors ###data_advisor-profiles### Hiring Plans ###data_hiring-plans### ###data_succession-label### ###data_succession-plans### Suppliers ###data_suppliers### ###data_potential-suppliers### Alliances ###data_alliances### Planned Changes ###data_plan-changes### Contingency Plans ###data_contingency-plans### Financial Information Financial Highlights ###data_highlights### Personal Finance Sheet Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-1### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-1### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-1### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-1### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-1### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-1### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-1### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-1### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-1### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-1### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-1### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-1### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-1### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-1### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-1### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_1### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_1### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_1### ###data_pf-current-value-1_1### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_1### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-1### Your other employment income (eg. I am eager to hear your comments and answer any questions you may have. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-1### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-1### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-1### Other income (eg. You can reach me at (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3###. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-1### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-1### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-1### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-1### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-1### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-1### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-1### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-1### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-1### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-2### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-2### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-2### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-2### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-2### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-2### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-2### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-2### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-2### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-2### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-2### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-2### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-2### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-2### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-2### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_2### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_2### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_2### ###data_pf-current-value-1_2### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_2### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-2### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-2### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-2### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-2### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-2### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-2### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-2### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-2### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-2### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-2### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-2### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-2### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-2### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-3### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-3### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-3### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-3### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-3### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-3### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-3### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-3### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-3### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-3### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-3### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-3### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-3### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-3### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-3### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_3### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_3### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_3### ###data_pf-current-value-1_3### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_3### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-3### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-3### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-3### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-3### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-3### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-3### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-3### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-3### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-3### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-3### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.

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Careers at APEGA APEGA Most important, writing a business plan is a way to help you succeed. That's because writing a plan forces you to answer tough questions about every aspect of your business, including the close relationship between it and your personal life. The most important user of your business plan is you. The information, insights, and strategies you outline will have a direct impact on your own life. So if you come across a section that you're convinced has no relevance to you and your business, skip it. And, if you're going to be the only user of your plan, feel free to use bullet points and lists instead of complete sentences. This section presents basic information about your business. You can save as you go using "save" so you can return later Both of these can be found in the top right of each page. Some information you enter will be used to fill in a cover letter and a cover page, if you decide to print them as part of your final document. If you're starting up, talk about what led you to start this business, briefly discuss any relevant experience you bring to it, and outline steps you've already taken to get your business off the ground. The plans you make now for your business can help you achieve your personal goals, whatever they may be. It's essential to keep in mind what's important to you and what you want to achieve in both your business and your personal life when writing your business plan. Objectives help you track your business' success according to plan. Your objectives might set targets for sales, profitability, even hours of personal time per week - whatever is most relevant to you, your business, and success as you define it. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time focusing on details, like how to satisfy a specific customer or negotiate with a certain supplier. But your business also operates within a much larger context. Every industry is shaped by a range of factors that affect how customers behave and businesses operate. As you consider industry factors and trends, pay special attention to those you think present special opportunities or challenges for your business. Describe factors and trends affecting your industry, and consider their implications for your business. Issues to think about include: Demographic: These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. Learn More Economic: These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? Learn More Technological: These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the Internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Learn More Regulatory: These describe the role government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. Learn More Environmental: Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. Others like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Every dollar a customer spends is a choice made between you and your competitors. That's why your competitors' weaknesses can translate into opportunities for your business. Likewise, their strengths can be challenges your business will have to defend itself against. If you're starting up or run an established business, understanding your competitors can help you spot the most under-served customers and the greatest opportunities for success. If you’re winding down, identifying competitors may help you find potential buyers for your business. If you compete with many businesses, consider breaking your competition into categories based on what they offer, and present your main competitors in each cetagory. For instance, a tire retailer might compete with other tire stores, auto dealers, independent mechanics, and large hardware chains. Market Share, from those you think do the most business to those you think do the least, or to group them as "large," "mid-size," and "small" competitors. This can help you understand how you competitors share the marketplace, and where you might be able to carve out a piece for yourself. Your business' success depends on your ability to attract customers and keep them satisfied. In fact, satisfied customers are one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, since they refer more customers to your doorstep. In this section, put yourself in your customers' shoes. By defining what customers value about your product or service or the way it is delivered, your positioning serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts. The best positioning for your company: Provide brief profiles of any external advisors to your business. These may include professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, and others on whose advice you rely in running your business. If you're winding down, outline any succession plans that provide for management or ownership of the company after your departure. As you draw up your plans, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, and your banker. Alliances are special relationships you have with other businesses that complement your products or services with their own. Often, they can help your business reach new customers or better serve existing ones. It's likely that your business plan involves adding to or changing some aspect of your business. Such decisions can have a significant impact on your business' financial position, and it's crucial to consider them carefully. If you run an established business, detail any major additions or changes you are planning to make. If you're starting up, think about what you need today and what you may need in the future. Consider: As a business owner, it's important to plan for potential changes - in your marketplace, in your community, or in your life. You'll have a much greater chance of succeeding in even the most difficult times if you have a contingency plan. We've done our best to make financial statements understandable. That said, if accounting is not your area of expertise, you may want to work with an accredited accountant or bookkeeper to complete this section. Especially if you aren't familiar with financial statements, it's a good idea to have your Financial Information section reviewed by a reputable accountant or bookkeeper before you share it with others. There are a number of great accounting software programs on the market that can help you complete your Financial Information. If you currently use accounting software to prepare your financial statements, you may use it instead of the templates included here to prepare this section of your business plan. That's why it's crucial to develop a personal financial plan that you periodically review in conjunction with your business plan, planning your personal finances and goals with your business'. There are a number of elements to a personal financial plan, from how you manage your investments and finance your mortgage, to education, retirement, and will and estate planning. Scotiabank offers a range of tools to help you develop and implement a personal financial plan that will help you achieve your goals—and, in turn, help your business succeed. You can learn more about these tools at Get Growing for Business or speak to your Financial Advisor at your local Scotiabank branch. If you run an established business, financial statements from the last few years will communicate where your business is coming from. The more years of historical information you provide, the deeper the insight you'll give into your business' financial position and how it has changed over time. If you already have completed financial statements, you may either attach them in this section of your business plan or enter your business' information into the templates provided. Whatever life stage your business is in, projected financial statements - or "Pro Forma" statements - can help you work through various "what if" scenarios for your business, and allow you to plan where you want your business to go. Note: If you are seeking financing for your business, some lenders or investors may require Audited or Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create projected Balance Sheets that reflect your business plan. That means estimating your assets, liabilities, and equity for coming years. A Balance Sheet is divided into 3 sections: If you run an established business, include past Balance Sheets for your business, ideally for the last three years. If you're starting up, create a Balance Sheet by detailing assets and liabilities your business already has. Income Statement is a summary of your business' performance over a specified period of time, normally one year. It starts with your business' revenues (also called sales) and subtracts the expenses incurred to generate those revenues. If you run an established business, include Income Statements for your business, ideally for the last three years. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, create Pro Forma, or projected, Income Statements that reflects your business plan. A very small market may mean you'll have to fight tooth and nail with your competitors for every sale. That means estimating your sales, cost of goods of sold (for non-service businesses), expenses - including depreciation, interest, and income taxes - and profit for coming years. A very large market may lead you to target a relatively narrow group of customers. Imagine you have no competition, and customers' only option is to buy your product or service. Financial ratios - calculations that relate one item in your financial statements to another - can be valuable tools for assessing your business' financial well-being. In most cases, the usefulness of financial ratios depends on a clear understanding of the relationship between the numbers used and their implications for your day-to-day business. That's why, unless you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, you may want to ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you interpret your financial statements and financial ratios. Liquidity describes your business' ability to meet current obligations, like paying supplier invoices or making upcoming loan payments, from assets that can be quickly turned into cash. Generally, the higher the Current Ratio, the more confident you can be of your business' ability to pay short-term obligations. A current ratio of less than 1:1 may mean your business does not have sufficient resources to meet its commitments in the near future and needs additional financing. The Return on Equity Ratio measures the return your business generates for owners who have invested in it. By measuring the percentage return to owners on their cash equity contributions, it is a general indicator of how efficiently your business makes use of owners' money. A low Gross Profit Margin may indicate that your business is selling goods at too low a price, that demand for your product is weak, or that direct material, direct labour, or manufacturing overhead costs can be better controlled. The Net Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar of sales that remains after all expenses have been deducted. When compared to your Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin can be an important indication of how your business manages its expenses. The Debt to Equity Ratio describes the relationship between liabilities and equity. It compares the level of financing provided by creditors like suppliers and banks to the amount that owners have invested in the business. Here you have the option to give a summary of, or state key conclusions you've drawn from, your financial statements. These highlights will appear at the front of the Financial Information section of your finished plan. Now that the key components of your business plan are in place, you're ready ti transform them into a finished document. In Executive Summary, you'll provide an essential quick reference for readers (including yourself) by summarizing the key findings of your plan. In Presentation, you'll have the opportunity to add a customized cover letter, cover page, and table of contents to your plan. The last section you'll write and the first one read, the Executive Summary is a very important page of your business plan. It serves as both an introduction to your plan and a wrap-up of your key findings, insights, and strategies. Well-written, enthusiastic, and to-the-point, it convinces readers to delve deeper. Even if you're only preparing your plan for your own use, it's a good idea to write an Executive Summary, since it gathers the main points of your plan in one place. It may include: Cover Letter: When submitting your business plan to people outside your business, a cover letter can be a simple, effective way to break the ice, introduce your plan, and establish your professional credibility. The Scotia Plan Writer for business™ includes a standard cover letter that you can customize to reflect the unique interests of your audience. Remember, different circumstances and different audiences require different things from your business plan. In presenting your business plan to a new employee, for instance, your Executive Summary might be more focused on your Business Vision, and you may choose not to share your Financial Information. That's why the Scotia Plan Writer for business™ is designed for flexibility once you publish your plan. Using Microsoft Word, you can: By reading below, you can find ideas about which sections of your plan will be relevant to different people, plus materials you should consider including in an appendix to appeal to them. In each case, you'll want to tailor the Executive Summary to your audience. Most readers of your plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible, even as you include the key facts they need. Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan, to test your assumptions, ensure you haven't overlooked anything, and make sure any financial solutions he or she offers fit with your personal and business needs. If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming Statement of Net Worth. In addition, he or she will carefully review your Financial Information, and may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. It's always a good idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan. Your accountant may be especially interested in the Business Description section, and your goals and objectives in particular; Business Operations, which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements; and Financial Information. Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if he or she understands both your personal and business needs. Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them. When it comes to Financial Information, they may request Audited or Review Engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant. While you may choose to withhold your Personal Goals and Personal Finances, consider including an Appendix that includes references for your professional advisors; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; and past advertisements and promotional materials. Business/Personal Advisors may be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insight. You may choose not to share personal sections of the plan - like your Personal Statement of Net Worth - with your business advisors. To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an Appendix that includes references for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent; résumés of your team; photographs of your product or service; past advertisements and promotional materials; and competitors' advertisements, and other materials about them. Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to the Business Description section (excluding your Personal Goals), especially your objectives and your description of your product or service; The Marketplace, which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes; and Sales & Marketing, where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies. Consider adding an Appendix that includes: photographs of your product or service, past advertisements and other promotional materials, and competitors' advertisements and other materials about them. Your lawyer may be most interested in Business Description, The Marketplace, and Business Operations, all of which may provide special insight into legal issues. Your lawyer may also want to see Financial Information. Your existing employees may benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your Personal Goals and Personal Finances. Prospective employees may be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share Business Description (excluding Personal Goals), Sales and Marketing, and an appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials, and photographs of your product or service. Take decisive action to seize opportunities and overcome challenges you've identified. Potential buyers of your business may have their interest piqued by the Business Overview and Product or service description in Business Description. Here are some guidelines to using your plan in the coming weeks, months, and years: are financial statements that forecast when and how much money your business will collect and pay out over a specified period of time, usually one year, and help budget money coming in against money going the agreed-upon parameters that dictate when and how much your customers pay you for goods or services they don’t pay for immediately at the time of purchase (or, alternatively, when and how much you pay your suppliers for purchases you make on account). As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing The Marketplace, Sales & Marketing, Business Operations, and your business' Financial Information. Credit terms usually include a period of time during which payment must be made (e.g. After you complete your business plan, you're in a position to transform what you've learned into action. 30 days), and sometimes include a discount for payment within a certain period of time. is calculated as current assets divided by current liabilities. It is a measure of your business’ liquidity, or the availability of cash or assets that can be converted easily to cash to run the business and meet short-term obligations. are amounts paid to suppliers for products or services that you intend to resell to your customers. For example, a contractor would include all amounts paid to subcontractors for job-related work during the year. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. is the difference between a business’ assets and liabilities. It includes money that owners or shareholders have contributed to the business and profits that have been reinvested in it. For a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is often called “owner’s equity”. For an incorporated business, it can be referred to as “shareholder’s equity”. represents the amount of money (equity) owners, partners, or shareholders have invested in the business, excluding owner’s – or shareholder’s – loans. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, this is known as “cash equity contributions”. For incorporated companies, it is known as “capital stock”., also called capital assets, are long-term assets that you expect will still be helping your business make money beyond the next twelve months, like land, buildings, equipment, and other items you use in your business operations. With the exception of land, which is always listed at its cost, all fixed assets are subject to depreciation. captures the relationship between sales and cost of goods sold. It’s the percentage of every dollar in sales you have left over after paying direct costs for manufacturing or acquiring goods sold, to cover all remaining expenses and taxes. It is the amount you pay in interest on your business borrowings during a specified period, and may include interest on your operating line of credit, term loans, credit card balances, and loans from finance companies and other lenders. is a business structure, where there are two kinds of partners: general partners who manage the business and are personally liable for debts, and limited partners whose participation in the business is limited to investing money, and whose liability is consequently limited to their investment in the business. is the total amount you owe on long-term loans, including mortgages. The amount due in the next 12 months, called the current portion of long-term debt, is listed as a current liability on your Balance Sheet. The portion not due to be repaid in the next 12 months is listed as a long-term liability. is the relative size of one business’ portion of the market. In percentage terms, it is one business’ sales of a particular product or service divided by the total sales for that product or service in the marketplace. is the amount taken out of a business’ retained earnings by owners. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, this is called “owner’s draw”. In an incorporated business, where the money is distributed among shareholders, it is called “dividends”. are the amounts owed to you, your partners, or other shareholders for loans made to your business, which are expected to be repaid. For sole proprietorships or partnerships, these are known as “owner’s loans”. For incorporated businesses, they are known as “shareholder’s loans”. are financial statements that have been reviewed by an independent accountant who determines whether they are plausible within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Accounts receivable are the total amounts customers owe your business on the date of your Balance Sheet. A review engagement is similar to an audit, except that no opinion is expressed on the statements. When recording them on your Balance Sheet, be sure to subtract out “bad debts” – receivables you believe will never be collected. is a legal structure of a business, where the business is wholly owned by one person, called the sole proprietor. Inventory is the raw materials, partially completed products, and finished goods that your business is currently holding to sell to your customers. The business owner and the business are not separate legal entities, which means the sole proprietor personally owns the business’ assets and is liable for all business the name your business “goes by,” which can be different from its legal name. On your Balance Sheet, inventory is usually listed at the cost you paid to acquire it. If, however, your inventory’s current market value is below the price you paid for it – because, say, prices have fallen or items have become outdated or damaged – you should list it at its current market value. Prepaid expenses arise when your business pays for something "up front." For instance, say you paid $1,000 for twelve months of insurance on September 1, and you're creating a Balance Sheet three months later, on December 1. You would list $750 as a prepaid expense, since only 25% of the period of coverage has expired. (Even though prepaid expenses never turn into cash, accounting convention dictates that they be included with current assets.) Depreciation is a way to reflect that fixed assets wear out or become obsolete over time, by gradually reducing the value of such assets on your Balance Sheet. Assume you spend $1,000 to buy a computer that you expect to replace in five years. Depreciation is an accounting practice that allows you to spread the expense of buying the computer over its estimated useful life, by, for example, deducting $200 from the value listed on your Balance Sheet each year for five years. Amortization is like depreciation, except it applies to intangible assets with a limited life. Accounting depreciation may vary from tax depreciation. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency, for standard depreciation rules for your business. Your objectives should move you closer to your Personal Goals and Business Vision. For instance, a reasonable short-term objective might be to obtain a loan to buy a new piece of equipment in the next three months, or to hire another person by the end of the year to free up personal time for yourself. A long-term objective might be to hit specific sales goals two years from now. Once you've completed your business plan, consider returning to Business Objectives. You may want to change or add new objectives as a result of the plan-writing process. These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. For instance, let's say you provide home delivery of hot meals to the elderly. If the number of elderly people in the general population is growing rapidly, it's a good sign for your business. If the number of elderly people is shrinking, on the other hand, you might consider targeting other types of customers. Statistics Canada These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? If you're an auto mechanic, for instance, a national economic downturn might be good for business, since customers may prefer to have their old cars repaired rather than buy new ones. Low interest rates, on the other hand, might lead potential customers to borrow money and buy new cars. These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Trade publications and technology-focused magazines are great sources of information about how technological factors and trends are affecting your industry. These describe the role of government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. For instance, chiropractors must earn a degree from an accredited chiropractic college, spend several years training, and finally pass a licensing exam before they may practice. Patents and copyrights can limit the amount of direct competition you face. Trade associations for your industry are a great place to start when researching regulatory factors and trends. Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. Others, like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. And some businesses - from allergists to trucking companies - work with potentially hazardous materials that they must take special care to administer and dispose of, which can have a significant impact on their costs. What is your industry's relationship to the environment? Are there any trends, like a call for environmentally-friendly products, that may affect the way your business operates? One of the best ways to identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is to approach them from a customer's perspective. Try visiting their business - in person, over the phone, or on their Web site - to find out what they offer and for how much, or have an unbiased friend do this sort of research for you. Also, pay attention to advertisements, which contain lots of information about how your competitors perceive their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're targeting individual consumers, think in terms of defining characteristics like age, gender, income level, culture and lifestyle. If you're targeting other businesses, think in terms of the size of those businesses, and how and by whom buying decisions are made within them. While your competitive advantage describes what makes your business special from the inside, your positioning states what makes it special from the outside - from the customer's perspective. For example, a yoga instructor may position her services in a way that emphasizes health, prestige, or cost. Different positioning attracts different clientele. Finally, remember that lower prices may mean you'll sell more, but you'll make smaller profits on each sale. Higher prices will likely mean that you'll attract fewer customers - however, you may make more on each transaction. There are countless ways to promote your business in the marketplace. You can set up a website, speak at conferences, send a newsletter, hold a contest, print a brochure, air a radio commercial, or sponsor the local Little League team. Try visiting the Canada Business Services Centres' website at for more ideas, or consult any number of books on the subject at your local bookstore or library. If you run an established business, ask your existing customers how they found you. Plus, consider asking satisfied customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your business, or to provide customer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts. Customer service is a key part of keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. The right sort of customer service can help you appeal to your target customers, and can also offer them advantages that your competitors don't provide. Customer service can include ongoing technical support, loyalty programs, and even calling existing customers each month to see if they have any needs you can help with. Consider areas ranging from marketing, sales, and purchasing, to administration, legal, and bookkeeping. When deciding what sort of advisors your business might need, start by examining the profiles of your team. You'll likely find areas in which no one on your team has experience. These are the areas where you'll either require external advisors, or where you may need to hire additional staff. There are 2 kinds of external advisors that business owners should consider. Business/Personal advisors are unpaid individuals whose experiences and advice you and your business benefit from. A personal advisor may be a friend or family member, who offers guidance both in managing your business and in working towards the right work-life balance for you. Business advisors are mentors whose work skills and expertise go beyond your team's. By inviting such people to be advisors, you'll gain a valuable sounding board for your ideas and plans, and you may lend greater credibility to your business. Professional services advisors are paid professionals who are qualified to help you and your business in certain areas, like tax, legal, and finance. Suppliers include any business whose products or services you need to provide your offering to customers. If you run a mail-order specialty candy store, your suppliers include the wholesaler you buy your ingredients from, the designer and printer of your catalog, and the shipping service you use to send your product to customers. Your suppliers must be able to meet your needs in terms of delivery, billing, cost, and service. They should help you get your products to your customers on time, at the right place and in the right condition - all of which have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales success. If you run an established business, consider how your suppliers do this and if any improvements could be made. The right credit terms can be especially critical when working with suppliers. For instance, you may have a hard time paying the bills if your biggest supplier requires payment in 30 days, and your customers don't pay you for 60 days. Also, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of supplier discounts for paying within a certain period of time. If you're starting up, speaking with other businesses in your industry can be a great way to identify potential suppliers. When considering possible alliances, look for businesses that are a logical fit with your own. For instance, a copywriter might align herself with a design firm. That way, the copywriter can offer design services to her clients, and the design firm can offer copywriting services to theirs. Most businesses are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects you and your business against employee lawsuits related to work injuries and illnesses and provides benefits to injured employees. To learn more, visit the website of your provincial workers' compensation board or commission. Businesses that hold inventory show cost of goods sold. If your business only sells services, like aerobics class instruction, then you can skip the cost of goods sold section of the Income Statement. Cost of goods sold can be calculated by taking inventory at the start of the accounting period, adding any expenses that relate directly to your products, and subtracting the amount left in inventory at the end of the period. Different types of businesses include different costs in cost of goods sold: This can include employee salaries, hourly wages, commissions or the cost of providing additional benefits such as health insurance, a car allowance or the cost of any other benefits you offer your employees. Your tax rate is the percentage of your net profit before tax that you'll be required to pay in taxes. Only incorporated businesses show and subtract income tax on their Income Statements. That's because if you are sole proprietor or partner, you declare and pay these taxes on your personal income tax return. When compiling historical Income Statements, check your records or consult your accountant or bookkeeper to find out your tax rate in the past. If you're unable to estimate your tax rate for your projected Income Statements, it's acceptable to leave the line blank and end your Income Statement with net profit before tax. Your Cash Flow Projections detail when you expect to receive payments from sales and pay out expenses described in your projected Income Statement. If you're starting up, begin your projections by listing the amount and timing of special start-up expenditures, including purchase of start-up inventory, utility set-up fees, incorporation fees (if applicable), and other one-time expenses. In doing so, you may find it helpful to refer back to the Planned Changes section of your plan. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, how much cash you take in and pay out is based on the sales and expenses projections you made in your projected Income Statement. First, break down your projected annual sales from your projected Income Statement into monthly sales. For instance, a bricklayer might do the majority of his business during the summer months. Second, estimate what portion of your sales occur on a cash basis - that is, what percentage you get paid for immediately. This proportion decides how much to list as "cash sales" each month. Third, estimate what portion of your customers pay within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or beyond, based on the credit. Finally, list cash outflows as you expect to pay them. Include regular monthly expenses like rent and telephone charges, as well as expected expenditures for items like new equipment or repairs. If you run an established business, remember to reflect the fact that you expect to collect accounts receivable related to recent sales - not just sales projected on your projected Income Statement. If you have finished your business plan or would like to produce a hard copy of your business plan, you can use one of the two options below. By selecting "Copy To Text File" you will have copied all of the business plan into your memory or clipboard. Go to your desired word processor and select "Paste". You will most likely need to format the text and layout for your desired look. Or you can select "Export as Word Document" and you will be prompted for a file name and location. Once complete you can open the file you have just created using word. You now have a finished and formatted business plan. The next portion of writing your business plan involves creating some detailed financial statements including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement. If you prefer not to complete the financials, feel free to move onto section 7, where you’ll be able to complete your plan. ###data_your-name### ###data_business-legal-name### ###data_business-address### ###todays-date### ###data_cover-letter### ###data_salutation###, I'm very pleased to enclose my business plan for ###data_business-legal-name###. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about my business, a thorough assessment of opportunities in the marketplace, and a detailed plan for seizing them. I look forward to the possibility of working with you to make ###data_business-legal-name### a success in the coming months and years. _____________________ Executive Summary ###data_executive-summary### Business Plan ###data_business-legal-name### operating as ###data_business-trade-name### Legal name of business ###data_business-legal-name### Trade name of business ###data_business-trade-name### Business address ###data_business-address### Mailing address ###data_mailing-address### Phone number (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3### Fax number ###data_fax-numbers### E-mail address ###data_email-address### Structure of business ###business-type### Date business established ###data_date-established### Nature of business ###data_nature-of-business### Bank and branch location used for business matters ###data_business-branch-loc### Bank and branch location used for personal matters ###data_personal-branch-location### ###data_owner-name-label### ###data_ownership-percent-label### ###data_owner-name-1### ###data_ownership-percent-1### ###data_owner-name-2### ###data_ownership-percent-2### ###data_owner-name-3### ###data_ownership-percent-3### ###data_owner-name-4### ###data_ownership-percent-4### Business Background ###data_business-story-1### ###data_business-story-2### ###data_business-story-3### ###data_business-story-4### Personal Goals ###data_life-goals### ###data_business-goals### ###data_personal-goals### Business Vision ###data_business-vision### Business Objectives Short-term Objectives ###data_short-term-obj### Long-term Objectives ###data_long-term-obj### Product Description ###data_your-product### Competitive Advantage ###data_competitive-advantage### The Marketplace Industry Factors and Trends ###data_factors And Trends1### Industry Outlook ###data_industry-outlook### ###data_factors And Trends2### Market Size ###data_factors And Trends3### ###data_market-size### Competitors Competitive Environment ###data_main-competitors### ###data_rank-competitors### ###data_competitors-strength-weakness### Competitive Opportunities & Challenges Opportunities ###data_opportunity-and-challenge### Challenges ###data_competitor-protection### Customers Customer Segments ###data_market-segments### Target Customers ###data_target-customers### Sales & Marketing Positioning ###data_key-benefits### Pricing ###data_explain-pricing### Promotion ###data_promotional-efforts### Sales ###data_customer-service### Business Operations The Team ###data_team-profiles### Advisors ###data_advisor-profiles### Hiring Plans ###data_hiring-plans### ###data_succession-label### ###data_succession-plans### Suppliers ###data_suppliers### ###data_potential-suppliers### Alliances ###data_alliances### Planned Changes ###data_plan-changes### Contingency Plans ###data_contingency-plans### Financial Information Financial Highlights ###data_highlights### Personal Finance Sheet Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-1### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-1### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-1### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-1### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-1### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-1### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-1### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-1### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-1### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-1### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-1### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-1### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-1### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-1### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-1### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_1### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_1### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_1### ###data_pf-current-value-1_1### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_1### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-1### Your other employment income (eg. 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The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.

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When using our professional cover letter services you just to follow these quick and easy steps. We are always quick to contact you and your end product is of the highest quality. We aim to make sure that as customers you are satisfied at all times. When you are using Ultius and our essay writing services, we can guarantee you will be receiving a positive and rewarding experience. Messaging System Our main form of communication when you use our original cover letter writing services is our messaging system. The system lets you speak directly to the writer who is completing your order. You will receive regular updates and if you want to change any type of instructions you can! You can regularly correspond if you have any questions. Why use a different company who does not provide you with this personal service? At, Ultius this messaging system is one of the main components of our company! Mobile Site Our new mobile site is the perfect things for our busy clients on the go. We understand that you may not always have access to your computer when looking for cover letter writing services so here at Ultius we let you organize everything on your mobile device. You can correspond with your writer, ask questions, check on orders and even place and order all while you are out! We aim to fit into your life as we are offering the services to you! Another bonus we offer is the opportunity for unlimited revisions of your order. After you have received your order you simply contact us within seven (7) days. When using our customer cover letter service your request will be sent to your writer and they will complete any changes within three (3) days. It is important to us that you are incredibly happy with your final result and we work hard to give that to you. American Writers As we strive for customer satisfaction, we know what works for you. That is why we only hire American writers for our company. When you order our cover letter writing services your work will be handed to a writer who graduated from a prestigious American college and who speaks English as their native tongue. The writers we hire go through a strict screening process so we only hire the best. This means that you only get the best when using Ultius! The American writers also have a specialty in the area of cover letters and resumes so you know you are in safe hands! If you're going to be asking "Where can I buy an essay? ", you'll want a writing service that allows you unlimited revisions! It can be hard when applying for jobs to know what is appropriate to put in and what should be left out. When using our exceptional cover letter writing services you can be assured of a great outcome with your work life. Whether you are applying for a small business, a large corporation or an internship we can help you! The cover letter is the first part of your resume that an employer sees. It has to catch their attention and provide the right information for the position. It also represents who you are and will be seen by many people within the company. When you use our cover letter services we can assure you that our writers will help you stand out! We know how to make you cover letter sing and promote the best parts of you to get the job. We highlight all the important and correct information and are sticklers for getting everything perfect. You even get to check on your order before it is completed. When using our professional cover letter writing services we can guarantee you that our American writers have produced high quality work. We start with an introductory paragraph that states who you are and why you are best for the position. When you use our cover letter services we make sure that the skills pertaining to the position are greatly showcased and will not be missed by any employer. We make sure the cover letter promotes the most important information. We use buzzwords to promote who you are and why you would be perfect for the job. We make sure the cover letter is correctly addressed to your employer and that all your contact information is perfect. You will wonder why you hadn’t used us on your past applications! Access to Quality Writers When using our custom cover letter services it is our privilege to provide you with access to your writer for the duration of the order. After filling out and submitting your form we assigned your order to an experience writer who is specific to your needs. It is important to remember that you provide us with as much additional information as possible. Our writers know that a cover letter must be correctly addressed to the employer and include a warm greeting. We then use the first paragraph to introduce you and why you are suitable to the position. With polite words, we promote your skills and attributes and combine those with what the company stands for. This is to showcase why you are the only person for the position. We then finalize by signing off with a kind goodbye and all your correct contact information. When you use cover letter writing services from Ultius you can be assured of a high quality of work as well as the perfect resume tailored to you. We then check to see that all the information is coherent and clear and that how you want to be portrayed has been sufficient. Here at Ultius, we have the skills to produce the best resume for you! You should use our original cover letter services for a number of reasons. First, we provide you with highly skilled American writers that you are able to be in contact with for the duration of your process. You are able to ask any questions or revisions as we know that the cover letter must be a personal reflection of who you are. No applicants stand a chance when you have handed in a resume with an Ultius cover letter. The reason we have had such success with our clients is because we ask for specific details on all orders. Our writers never miss an instruction and answer questions accordingly. We aim to make our clients happy and you will be so pleased after you have used our services for your cover letter. Cover letter writing services, here at Ultius, are another way to make life easier especially when looking for work. Your friends will wonder how you got a job so quickly and you will recommend us to them after you have used us. It is a great opportunity to use skilled writers to complete your cover letter because we pride ourselves on our outstanding work. So if you are looking for a high quality company that will provide you with professional cover letter writing services look no further than Ultius. All our content is 100% original work from our American writers. We tailor specific to you are client which decreases the risk of mistakes as it is a working partnership. We have shown you that Ultius is the best option as we deliver on all your needs. Simply click the ‘order now’ button to place and order now. If you have any questions you can also hit the ‘Live Chat’ button and one of our friendly employees is happy to answer all your questions. Welcome to the Official Notts Youth Football League Website Keeping you up to date with the latest news, fixtures and results from all the divisions for every age.

Cost of Resume Services - Consumer A professionally written resume can dramaticially increase your exposure and positive response rates. Our expert writers will determine what information is essential and help you to market your accomplishments. Resume Writing services are available in all US states, Canada and Internationally AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, MD, MD, MN, NC, SC, VA, TX, PA, NY, NJ, WY, UT, WA, etc. I am sure we will be friends for a long time."Copyright Protected, A Website, 2016. Each of our resumes are custom made from scratch and tailored to reflect our client's unique skills, achievements and backgrounds. Call us Toll Free - 800.409.8979, for your convenience we have local numbers for the following: "I was referred to you by a co-worker and am so happy I contacted you. All Rights Reserved - Resume Writing Service - 353 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036 - Professional Resume Writers, The Country's Best Resumes. No portion of this site may be reproduced without consent. , Lawyer Resume Writing Help, Resume Help for Airline Professionals, Resume Help for Sales Managers, Resume Help for Business Owners, Resume Help for Marketing Professionals, Resume Help for Government Employees, Federal Resumes, Millitary Conversion Resumes. How much resume services should cost. Prices paid and comments from CostHelper's team of professional journalists and community of users. Professionally written.

Cover Letter Disasters that Won't Get At Capstone Resume Services, you will start our resume writing process with an in-depth one-on-one consultation with our U. Before we write anything, we will have a conversation with you to learn about your experience, achievements, and goals. We then translate that into a keyword optimized resume with targeted content that will attract the attention of hiring managers and recruiters for your specific role and industry. At Capstone, we don’t just edit what you already have in your resume; we write it from scratch. Job hunters, take note of these 10 costly cover letter mistakes and boost your chances of getting an interview and landing a dream job.

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,000 to buy a computer that you expect to replace in five years. Depreciation is an accounting practice that allows you to spread the expense of buying the computer over its estimated useful life, by, for example, deducting 0 from the value listed on your Balance Sheet each year for five years. Amortization is like depreciation, except it applies to intangible assets with a limited life. Accounting depreciation may vary from tax depreciation. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency, for standard depreciation rules for your business. Your objectives should move you closer to your Personal Goals and Business Vision. For instance, a reasonable short-term objective might be to obtain a loan to buy a new piece of equipment in the next three months, or to hire another person by the end of the year to free up personal time for yourself. A long-term objective might be to hit specific sales goals two years from now. Once you've completed your business plan, consider returning to Business Objectives. You may want to change or add new objectives as a result of the plan-writing process. These refer to the basic characteristics your customers tend to have in common, like age, income level, geography or gender. For instance, let's say you provide home delivery of hot meals to the elderly. If the number of elderly people in the general population is growing rapidly, it's a good sign for your business. If the number of elderly people is shrinking, on the other hand, you might consider targeting other types of customers. Statistics Canada These indicate the state of the economy, on both a local and national level. Is your community suffering through a recession, according to your local Chamber of Commerce and the local press? Does your industry tend to cycle between booms and busts, rising and falling with certain economic conditions? If you're an auto mechanic, for instance, a national economic downturn might be good for business, since customers may prefer to have their old cars repaired rather than buy new ones. Low interest rates, on the other hand, might lead potential customers to borrow money and buy new cars. These demonstrate how technology is affecting your industry. For instance, how is the internet changing who you compete with? How is it changing the way customers research their purchases? Has your industry been characterized by the same processes for many years, displaying a low rate of technological change? Trade publications and technology-focused magazines are great sources of information about how technological factors and trends are affecting your industry. These describe the role of government or other rule-making bodies play in your industry. Rules about how businesses must operate often mean that not everyone who wants to can be your competitor. For instance, chiropractors must earn a degree from an accredited chiropractic college, spend several years training, and finally pass a licensing exam before they may practice. Patents and copyrights can limit the amount of direct competition you face. Trade associations for your industry are a great place to start when researching regulatory factors and trends. Many industries have a unique relationship to the environment. Some are seasonal, like patio furniture retailers that do most of their business in the spring and summer. Others, like farmers or tourism businesses, can be especially dependent on the right weather conditions. And some businesses - from allergists to trucking companies - work with potentially hazardous materials that they must take special care to administer and dispose of, which can have a significant impact on their costs. What is your industry's relationship to the environment? Are there any trends, like a call for environmentally-friendly products, that may affect the way your business operates? One of the best ways to identify your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is to approach them from a customer's perspective. Try visiting their business - in person, over the phone, or on their Web site - to find out what they offer and for how much, or have an unbiased friend do this sort of research for you. Also, pay attention to advertisements, which contain lots of information about how your competitors perceive their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're targeting individual consumers, think in terms of defining characteristics like age, gender, income level, culture and lifestyle. If you're targeting other businesses, think in terms of the size of those businesses, and how and by whom buying decisions are made within them. While your competitive advantage describes what makes your business special from the inside, your positioning states what makes it special from the outside - from the customer's perspective. For example, a yoga instructor may position her services in a way that emphasizes health, prestige, or cost. Different positioning attracts different clientele. Finally, remember that lower prices may mean you'll sell more, but you'll make smaller profits on each sale. Higher prices will likely mean that you'll attract fewer customers - however, you may make more on each transaction. There are countless ways to promote your business in the marketplace. You can set up a website, speak at conferences, send a newsletter, hold a contest, print a brochure, air a radio commercial, or sponsor the local Little League team. Try visiting the Canada Business Services Centres' website at for more ideas, or consult any number of books on the subject at your local bookstore or library. If you run an established business, ask your existing customers how they found you. Plus, consider asking satisfied customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your business, or to provide customer testimonials you can use in your marketing efforts. Customer service is a key part of keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. The right sort of customer service can help you appeal to your target customers, and can also offer them advantages that your competitors don't provide. Customer service can include ongoing technical support, loyalty programs, and even calling existing customers each month to see if they have any needs you can help with. Consider areas ranging from marketing, sales, and purchasing, to administration, legal, and bookkeeping. When deciding what sort of advisors your business might need, start by examining the profiles of your team. You'll likely find areas in which no one on your team has experience. These are the areas where you'll either require external advisors, or where you may need to hire additional staff. There are 2 kinds of external advisors that business owners should consider. Business/Personal advisors are unpaid individuals whose experiences and advice you and your business benefit from. A personal advisor may be a friend or family member, who offers guidance both in managing your business and in working towards the right work-life balance for you. Business advisors are mentors whose work skills and expertise go beyond your team's. By inviting such people to be advisors, you'll gain a valuable sounding board for your ideas and plans, and you may lend greater credibility to your business. Professional services advisors are paid professionals who are qualified to help you and your business in certain areas, like tax, legal, and finance. Suppliers include any business whose products or services you need to provide your offering to customers. If you run a mail-order specialty candy store, your suppliers include the wholesaler you buy your ingredients from, the designer and printer of your catalog, and the shipping service you use to send your product to customers. Your suppliers must be able to meet your needs in terms of delivery, billing, cost, and service. They should help you get your products to your customers on time, at the right place and in the right condition - all of which have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales success. If you run an established business, consider how your suppliers do this and if any improvements could be made. The right credit terms can be especially critical when working with suppliers. For instance, you may have a hard time paying the bills if your biggest supplier requires payment in 30 days, and your customers don't pay you for 60 days. Also, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of supplier discounts for paying within a certain period of time. If you're starting up, speaking with other businesses in your industry can be a great way to identify potential suppliers. When considering possible alliances, look for businesses that are a logical fit with your own. For instance, a copywriter might align herself with a design firm. That way, the copywriter can offer design services to her clients, and the design firm can offer copywriting services to theirs. Most businesses are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects you and your business against employee lawsuits related to work injuries and illnesses and provides benefits to injured employees. To learn more, visit the website of your provincial workers' compensation board or commission. Businesses that hold inventory show cost of goods sold. If your business only sells services, like aerobics class instruction, then you can skip the cost of goods sold section of the Income Statement. Cost of goods sold can be calculated by taking inventory at the start of the accounting period, adding any expenses that relate directly to your products, and subtracting the amount left in inventory at the end of the period. Different types of businesses include different costs in cost of goods sold: This can include employee salaries, hourly wages, commissions or the cost of providing additional benefits such as health insurance, a car allowance or the cost of any other benefits you offer your employees. Your tax rate is the percentage of your net profit before tax that you'll be required to pay in taxes. Only incorporated businesses show and subtract income tax on their Income Statements. That's because if you are sole proprietor or partner, you declare and pay these taxes on your personal income tax return. When compiling historical Income Statements, check your records or consult your accountant or bookkeeper to find out your tax rate in the past. If you're unable to estimate your tax rate for your projected Income Statements, it's acceptable to leave the line blank and end your Income Statement with net profit before tax. Your Cash Flow Projections detail when you expect to receive payments from sales and pay out expenses described in your projected Income Statement. If you're starting up, begin your projections by listing the amount and timing of special start-up expenditures, including purchase of start-up inventory, utility set-up fees, incorporation fees (if applicable), and other one-time expenses. In doing so, you may find it helpful to refer back to the Planned Changes section of your plan. Whether you're starting up or you run an established business, how much cash you take in and pay out is based on the sales and expenses projections you made in your projected Income Statement. First, break down your projected annual sales from your projected Income Statement into monthly sales. For instance, a bricklayer might do the majority of his business during the summer months. Second, estimate what portion of your sales occur on a cash basis - that is, what percentage you get paid for immediately. This proportion decides how much to list as "cash sales" each month. Third, estimate what portion of your customers pay within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or beyond, based on the credit. Finally, list cash outflows as you expect to pay them. Include regular monthly expenses like rent and telephone charges, as well as expected expenditures for items like new equipment or repairs. If you run an established business, remember to reflect the fact that you expect to collect accounts receivable related to recent sales - not just sales projected on your projected Income Statement. If you have finished your business plan or would like to produce a hard copy of your business plan, you can use one of the two options below. By selecting "Copy To Text File" you will have copied all of the business plan into your memory or clipboard. Go to your desired word processor and select "Paste". You will most likely need to format the text and layout for your desired look. Or you can select "Export as Word Document" and you will be prompted for a file name and location. Once complete you can open the file you have just created using word. You now have a finished and formatted business plan. The next portion of writing your business plan involves creating some detailed financial statements including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement. If you prefer not to complete the financials, feel free to move onto section 7, where you’ll be able to complete your plan. ###data_your-name### ###data_business-legal-name### ###data_business-address### ###todays-date### ###data_cover-letter### ###data_salutation###, I'm very pleased to enclose my business plan for ###data_business-legal-name###. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about my business, a thorough assessment of opportunities in the marketplace, and a detailed plan for seizing them. I look forward to the possibility of working with you to make ###data_business-legal-name### a success in the coming months and years. _____________________ Executive Summary ###data_executive-summary### Business Plan ###data_business-legal-name### operating as ###data_business-trade-name### Legal name of business ###data_business-legal-name### Trade name of business ###data_business-trade-name### Business address ###data_business-address### Mailing address ###data_mailing-address### Phone number (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3### Fax number ###data_fax-numbers### E-mail address ###data_email-address### Structure of business ###business-type### Date business established ###data_date-established### Nature of business ###data_nature-of-business### Bank and branch location used for business matters ###data_business-branch-loc### Bank and branch location used for personal matters ###data_personal-branch-location### ###data_owner-name-label### ###data_ownership-percent-label### ###data_owner-name-1### ###data_ownership-percent-1### ###data_owner-name-2### ###data_ownership-percent-2### ###data_owner-name-3### ###data_ownership-percent-3### ###data_owner-name-4### ###data_ownership-percent-4### Business Background ###data_business-story-1### ###data_business-story-2### ###data_business-story-3### ###data_business-story-4### Personal Goals ###data_life-goals### ###data_business-goals### ###data_personal-goals### Business Vision ###data_business-vision### Business Objectives Short-term Objectives ###data_short-term-obj### Long-term Objectives ###data_long-term-obj### Product Description ###data_your-product### Competitive Advantage ###data_competitive-advantage### The Marketplace Industry Factors and Trends ###data_factors And Trends1### Industry Outlook ###data_industry-outlook### ###data_factors And Trends2### Market Size ###data_factors And Trends3### ###data_market-size### Competitors Competitive Environment ###data_main-competitors### ###data_rank-competitors### ###data_competitors-strength-weakness### Competitive Opportunities & Challenges Opportunities ###data_opportunity-and-challenge### Challenges ###data_competitor-protection### Customers Customer Segments ###data_market-segments### Target Customers ###data_target-customers### Sales & Marketing Positioning ###data_key-benefits### Pricing ###data_explain-pricing### Promotion ###data_promotional-efforts### Sales ###data_customer-service### Business Operations The Team ###data_team-profiles### Advisors ###data_advisor-profiles### Hiring Plans ###data_hiring-plans### ###data_succession-label### ###data_succession-plans### Suppliers ###data_suppliers### ###data_potential-suppliers### Alliances ###data_alliances### Planned Changes ###data_plan-changes### Contingency Plans ###data_contingency-plans### Financial Information Financial Highlights ###data_highlights### Personal Finance Sheet Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-1### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-1### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-1### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-1### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-1### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-1### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-1### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-1### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-1### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-1### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-1### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-1### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-1### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-1### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-1### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_1### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_1### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_1### ###data_pf-current-value-1_1### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_1### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-1### Your other employment income (eg. 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You can reach me at (cell)###data_phone-numbers-1###/(home)###data_phone-numbers-2###/(office)###data_phone-numbers-3###. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-1### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-1### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-1### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-1### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-1### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-1### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-1### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-1### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-1### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-2### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-2### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-2### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-2### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-2### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-2### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-2### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-2### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-2### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-2### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-2### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-2### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-2### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-2### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-2### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_2### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_2### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_2### ###data_pf-current-value-1_2### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_2### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-2### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-2### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-2### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-2### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-2### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-2### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-2### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-2### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-2### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-2### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. food, utilities, clothing, etc.) ###data_pf-living-expenses-2### Other personal load/lease payments ###data_pf-other-loan-payments-2### Total annual expenses ###data_pf-total-annual-expenses-2### Owner First Name ###data_pf-first-name-3### Middle Name ###data_pf-middle-name-3### Last Name ###data_pf-last-name-3### Your Assets Total cash in deposit accounts ###data_pf-deposit-cash-3### Value of vehicles ###data_pf-vehicle-value-3### Value of stocks, bonds GIC (outside RRSP) ###data_pf-stocks-and-bonds-3### Value of RRSP's ###data_pf-rrsps-3### Total value of other assets (including personal equity in real estate listed below) ###data_pf-other-assets-3### Total Assets (A) ###data_pf-total-assets-3### Your Liabilities Amount outstanding on your credit cards ###data_pf-credit-card-debt-3### Overdue property taxes ###data_pf-property-tax-3### Unpaid income taxes you owe ###data_pf-income-taxes-3### Amount owed on vehicle loans ###data_pf-vehicle-loans-3### Amount of other personal loans ###data_pf-personal-loans-3### Total Liabilities (L) ###data_pf-total-liabilities-3### Real Estate Owned (including residence) Description Year Purchased Purchase Price Current Value Current Mortgage ###data_pf-real-estate-desc-1_3### ###data_pf-year-purchased-1_3### ###data_pf-purchase-price-1_3### ###data_pf-current-value-1_3### ###data_pf-current-mortgage-1_3### Your Annual Personal Income Your Gross Personal employment income (before taxes) ###data_pf-gross-income-3### Your other employment income (eg. bonus) ###data_pf-bonus-3### Interest and dividends ###data_pf-interest-and-dividend-3### Rental income (after expenses) ###data_pf-rental-income-3### Other income (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-income-3### Total annual income ###data_pf-total-income-3### Your Annual Personal Expenses Mortgage or lease/rental payments ###data_pf-personal-mortgage-3### Property taxes ###data_pf-personal-property-tax-3### Credit card/line of credit payments ###data_pf-personal-credit-card-3### Other expenses (eg. alimony/child support) ###data_pf-other-personal-expenses-3### Estimated living expenses excluding those listed above (eg. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.

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