Calgary Business Plan Writer
The following 29 pages contain a successful Calgary business plan project. This business plan resulted in our client receiving over $300,000 in financing for their business. Some of the questions people ask us when inquiring about our business plan writing services are:
- How much do we charge for a business plan?
- What will the business plan contain?
Here are the answers:
- The price ranges anywhere from $1500 to $15,000. The cost is directly related to the purpose of the business plan and the complexity of the business. If you only need a simple 5-10-page business plan to secure a commercial lease then $1500 is the typical price. If you need a business plan to secure creditor financing and they are requesting three years of proforma financial statements with cash flow tables, a loan amortization table, financial ratios, and a decent amount of market research then the price will typically be between $3,500 and $5,000. The cost of the business plan depends on exactly what you need in your business plan.
- Download the 29-page sample business plan below to read an actual business plan (we changed or omitted the names, locations, and numbers to provide anonymity).
A typical business plan covers these areas:
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- SECTION 1.0
- SECTION 2.0
- COMPANY SUMMARY
- COMPANY OWNERSHIP
- START UP SUMMARY
- SECTION 3.0
- PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
- SECTION 4.0
- MARKET SUMMARY
- MARKET NICHE
- SEGMENTATION STRATEGY AND TARGET MARKET
- Competitive Edge and Fundamental value added to customers
- RISKS AND MINIMIZATION OF RISKS
- SECTION 5.0
- BUSINESS MODEL
- MARKETING STRATEGIES
- PRICING STRATEGIES
- SECTION 6.0
- ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
- ORGANIZATION HIERARCHY
- FINANCIAL PLAN
- Initial Start-up Costs & Legal
- Financial Analysis
- APPENDIX A: Financial Statements Cashflow Statements
- Balance Sheets
- Income Statements
- Loan Amortization
- APPENDIX B: Ownership Biography
A short guide to writing a business plan
A business plan can be as short as five pages or go over 100 pages. The length of the business plan should be determined by its purpose. Consider who will use the business plan; will it be your strategic road-map for the future success of your business, is it for a bank to get funding, or a landlord so you can take possession of a location? A bank will require more information than a landlord and creating a strategic road-map for you review and update yearly will require the most information.
The next thing to consider is your type of business. Consider multiple business start-ups here in Calgary; the business plan for a takeout only pizza shop that is self-funded can be written in about a week. On the other hand, a plan for a heavy-duty mechanic service provider with multiple employees and in need of bank financing would require a much more sophisticated business plan.
Regardless of the type of business, starting with a set of questions to answer will help you understand what is required in your business plan. Below are a few initial interview questions that I would ask you to help give you a quote and timeline to create your business plan.
To help get your business plan started, copy and paste these question in to an email or Word document and answer them the best you can. There are 93 questions that cover almost everything needed for most business plans. Some may not apply; if a question is irrelevant then just write N/A. Answers for some of these questions require secondary research which we can help with, for example, traffic counts, market analysis, etc.
- What problems in the market will your company solve?
- Is your main market B2C, B2B, B2G?
- Describe the ideal client such as where they are and what they do.
- How will you serve your clients – in-store, visiting them on-site, online?
- What are the competitive advantages of your company?
- Does your company have special skills or other competitive advantages?
- Do you already have a location?
- How long has the business been running or for how long have you had the idea for this business?
- Has your business already started?
- Are you the sole owner or director?
- Do you have business partners?
- List the owners and their role in your business.
- What is the hierarchy of your organization?
- Why does your organization exist (from a customer perspective)?
- What do you want your company to be in 10 years (from a customer perspective)?
- What is the past, present, and future outlooks of the industry your company belongs to?
- What are the annual industry sales of your service or product over the last 5-10 years; is it increasing?
- Other than sales volume, what other changes have occurred in that time?
- What does the typical target market look like?
- How many consumers are there of your product or service in your service area?
- Who is going after the same customers for the same/similar service as you?
- Who are the competitors and what are their strengths?
- Who are the market leaders and what market share do they own?
- Are you going after the exact same customer as your competition?
- Are you positioning your company any differently from your competition?
Segmentation Strategy and Target Market
- How will you divide the market?
- What’s important to your business?
- Gender, age, income, geographic, home ownership, car ownership, lifestyle, what criteria define your market?
Risks and minimization of risks (PESTLE)
- What is the political situation of Canada or Alberta and how can it affect the industry?
- What are the current economic factors and trends in Alberta or Canada?
- How much do you think the economy could retract and your business not be affected?
- How much importance does culture have in the market and what are its determinants?
- How do people’s behaviors or beliefs affect the purchase of my products or services?
- What technological innovations are likely to pop up and affect the market structure?
- Are there any current legislations that regulate the industry or can there be any change in the legislations for the industry?
- What are the environmental concerns for the industry?
Service or product description(s)
- Describe your product(s) or service(s).
- Are their multiple price points?
- Product or service ad-ons?
Marketing and sales
- What is your marketing strategy?
- How will you generate revenue?
- Why does your target market care about your product or service?
- How will you price your product? Cost plus, value based, follow the competition?
- Where will your business be located? Will you be virtual/online only? Will you go to the customer?
- How will people find out about your business?
- Do you have a location where customers interact? How will the environment affect customer interactions and their perception of your brand?
- If you are selling a physical good, how is it presented to the customer? If you are selling a service, are there any tactics to make the intangible good less abstract?
- Where in the mind of the consumer does your brand sit? Think of your category, residential concrete services for example. How many of these companies exist in Calgary? What influences the purchase decision the moments a customer decides to look for your service? Are there any well known companies in this category?
- You may get a Google review after your first sale; will it be good or bad?; what will you do if it is bad?
- At what point(s) does the customer interact with your product or service?
- Are there any special zoning requirements of your location? Do they affect how you do business?
- If you have suppliers, do you have a supplier contingency plan?
- How will you produce the product or provide the service?
- List the steps and time to perform each step. What materials or people are required in each step?
- How will you handle mistakes or customer complaints?
- What positions/skills/people do you need to start the business? What is HR’s role in your company’s growth?
- Once your business starts, what do you anticipate the next hire to be? And the next hire after that?
- If you are a small business, how many employees can you manage before needing a manager or foreman or supervisor?
- How do you plan on finding the right people for your company? What skills are required?
- How much is the local labour marketing paying these people?
- How will you evaluate the resumes?
- How will you interview them?
- What criteria will you use to make an offer?
- How often will you do a performance review?
- What criteria will you use?
- What are the possible outcomes of these reviews?
- How will you motivate employees to stay?
- How much will you pay each employee?
- Good employees generally want to advance, can you provide that opportunity?
- Vacation: how many days a year do you have to offer? How many will you offer?
- Will you offer health insurance?
- Will you offer any benefits?
- What will you do to reduce the probability of injuries to your employees/customers?
- Does your business require WCB insurance?
- Do you have a plan to ensure a respectful workplace?
- Are you looking for a bank loan or an investor?
- How much capital do you need?
- What are the terms of this investment?
- Is it a bank loan that you will pay back or is it an equity investment that gives the investor partial ownership of your company?
- Is there a payback period – how long?
- Exactly what will you use the funding for? Equipment, inventory, salaries?
After I get these answers, I can start a rough draft of the business plan and then we can go from there.
If room allows, a sentence or two from each section of the business plan will be helpful.
There are 35 sections to this business plan. Consider combining sections if a section is four sentences or less. Feel free to rearrange sections, add new sections, or delete ones that are not relevant to you.
Example paragraph, “In year-one we expect our net sales to be $575,000 with a COGS of $190,000 creating a gross profit margin of X%. In year-two, we expect our net sales to be $775,000 with a next COGS of $240,000 creating a gross profit margin of X%. The increase in sales is expected from Y activity while supply chain efficiencies are expected to reduce COGS. We expect further improvements in year-3 as well.”
Below are sample pro-forma cash-flow, income statement, balance sheets, and loan amortization table. As you can see at the bottom of the Excel screenshots, there are more sheets that are required for the financial planning of a business.
The financials section is incredibly important to your business plan – it might be the first thing a lender looks at.
If you are a skilled accountant, you may notice in the below statements that PPE (property, plant and equipment) are not depreciated nor are COGS (cost of goods sold) represented by themselves but included in SG&A (selling, general, and administrative expenses). Instead, the financial statements are simplified to make them usable for a new business owner. In the end, surviving the first five years of a business are critical and the owner (if this is their first time running a business) getting bogged down in to much accounting may distract them from revenue generation.
If you want to read more on COGS and SG&A, here is a good resource.
I have yet to find a bank, private lender, or federal licencing agency care how PPE, COGS, and SG&A are handled on pro forma financials so long as they are not misrepresented and are reasonably reported. Later, when you are operating your business, your accountant will set up your books to properly reflect these accounts.
With all the above, remember this: cash flow problems are the number one reason for a business to fail.