Most applications for business grants and financing opportunities require candidates to write a plan for how they will use the money. These business plans help granting bodies and lenders learn more about organizations and what the additional funding is needed for. Since the Government of Canada and other potential lenders encounter numerous business plans, your company needs to draft a proposal that stands out from other applicants. Use these four tips to create a business plan that leads to funding.
1. Include All Necessary Information
To accurately depict your organization and goals, you need to include essential information in your business plan. Although some Canada business grants and funding programs have unique criteria for proposals, most expect applicants to include the following in their business plans:
Company summary – This outline details what your business does, the customers it serves, and what you hope to gain from the investor. It may also go over the specific problems your services solve and some industry competitors. You should incorporate any information you think may be of value to the investor.
Team members – Investors often want to know about the people running the business. In this section, highlight employees with impressive backgrounds or special accolades to enhance your organization’s appeal.
Financial standing – Show investors your current finances and projections for future earnings. If your business is new and does not yet have revenue, provide comprehensive predictions for income and expenses. This information also entails the personal financial histories of all personnel signing the funding agreement.
Business opportunity – Here, you showcase what makes your company a worthwhile investment. You can indicate your customer base, discuss what makes your business distinct from competitors, and go into more depth about products and services. Pertinent market share data also gives investors valuable insights into your organization.
Plan for funds – Describing how you intend to use the funds lets investors know if your plan is reasonable and has the potential to yield returns.
Loan requirements and repayment plans – Indicate how much funding you need currently and any other requests for the near future. Use bookkeeping records and financial forecasting to convey how you came to the specific funding amount. You should also include current and future loan repayment plans, as this information helps investors understand how you plan to pay them back.
2. Utilize Data to Support Your Plan
While you can rely on your own knowledge for a business plan, collecting outside research and data can strengthen its authority. You can obtain this information from two general sources, including:
Primary sources – These resources are interviews, focus groups, and surveys your organization conducts to learn more about your customers.
Secondary sources – Statistics, publications, and similar content from universities and research institutions all constitute secondary sources. You can find market trends for your industry at Statistics Canada and Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada.
3. Incorporate an Appendix
If you have infographics, team member CVs, or other important but large documents, feature them in an appendix at the end of the business plan. While this information can help an investor determine if they will extend funding to the applicant, it can also take away from the essential items of the proposal. Putting this content at the end with references to review the appendix ensures the investor sees the most crucial information about your business to make their decision.
4. Cater to the Investor
Not every investor will respond to the same ideas, making it necessary to choose language carefully for your business plan. You should know what each investor cares most about and structure your proposal to show how it meets those goals.
Along the same vein, a good strategy is keeping the business plan concise. This may seem difficult given the amount of information included in the proposal, but there are methods for writing a brief plan. For instance, you should avoid needlessly complex terminology and long, run-on sentences. On the other hand, do not assume the investors understand your business the way you do and leave out information they may need to grasp an idea.
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