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The importance of your business plan

Perhaps the most important document for any new business is a business plan. Yet too many business owners fail to sit down and prepare or update one.

A business without a plan is adrift. Decisions are made reactively based on the owner’s emotions, rather than prudent research. Employees, vendors, investors and other stakeholders (as well as the owner) are unclear about the direction of the company. That lack of focus results in wasted dollars, energies and resources as the company zigzags along instead of following a well-planned straight line to its goals.

Writing a business plan can seem a daunting task. Many entrepreneurs simply don’t have the time, inclination or the proper tools.

Business planning template

We have developed a template that makes creating your Business Plan easy. And it’s free!

This template guides you through all of the steps required to complete a proper business plan. It has explanations of the terms and definitions. It lets you add your own thoughts and comments.

Once you’ve completed the steps, you’ll have a business plan complete with cover page, contact information, financial tables, product descriptions and marketing details. You can save and print the plan, or send it electronically to anyone.

Use your plan to move your business forward with confidence, to motive your team, or to present to investors or lenders.

Depending on how much research and preparation you’ve already completed, creating your plan won’t consume much time at all. While it’s very easy, don’t worry if you get stuck because help is available throughout the process.

Take your plan to the bank

Once you’ve completed your business plan, you may take it to a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor. The advisor can review your plan, supply feedback, and, if requested, help you to explore your financing options.

Get feedback on your plan

Asking people to review your plan will make it stronger because you’ll receive valuable feedback. Share it with your accountant, lawyer, financial advisor and trusted businesspeople so they can offer their suggestions to improve your plan. If you are really worried about someone reading your secrets, consider attaching a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to the plan. An NDA is a legal document that prevents others from sharing your information with unauthorized parties.