(NC)—You have the best business idea and you’ve been thinking about it for years. You know that this idea will turn into a spectacular entrepreneurial success.
Fantasizing about where your new business will take you is fun but the real challenge comes from sitting down and describing your idea in a formal business plan. After all, this document is vital to understanding how your business is going to succeed and will be required reading for lenders and potential investors.
Need help in getting started? Here are five ways to get your plan onto paper:
1. Talk about your plan with everyone
Tell anyone you can about your business idea. Feel free to keep sensitive information secret, but discussing your general idea is a great way to get your business brain going. You will be surprised by how many people have an opinion, know key people in an industry or have had an experience around the type of business you’ve chosen. Practice explaining your plans to people and in no time you will be able to translate these conversations to paper.
2. Print Business Cards to Get Inspired
It’s a simple trick but it can really encourage you to make your plans a reality. It costs little, takes a few minutes and can make your business idea much more tangible. Having a card with your name followed by “President and CEO” can make your plan seem less like a far way dream and more like an attainable reality.
3. Run your own Focus Group
Get a few friends, colleagues or whomever else you can get a hold of. Write down a list of questions related to your business plan and have an informal discussion. Bring up questions like “Would you buy this product?”, “What do you hate about this industry?” or “Where would you buy this service today?” You’ll be impressed at how much business planning material you’ll get from even a small group of people.
Don’t be afraid to get creative in the appearance of your business plan. While you need to write a well-thought out description of your business ideas, insert a few colour pictures within the text to make a text-only document come alive.
5. Use Free Government Services
Want to save time when getting demographic data or lists of potential suppliers? Use free services such as those offered by Canada Business Ontario, a joint service from the Governments of Canada and Ontario. Canada Business Ontario (www.canadabusiness.ca or 1-888-745-8888) can provide detailed consumer spending reports, lists of companies in a specific town and even industry news and trends. If you know what you’re looking for, free information like this can easily be inserted into your business plan to support your ideas and give your business plan a professional look and feel. What if you don’t know what you are looking for? Their Business Information Officers can help identify what you need.
Access all of Canada Business Ontario’s services at www.canadabusiness.ca or call the Business Info Line at 1-888-745-8888.