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Business Planning

Starting a new business can be a daunting task, but with some planning and the right resources you can start off on the right track. It has often been said that ‘failing to plan, is planning to fail’. Planning the different aspects of your business allows you to be critical, objective and most of all, prepared. Knowing where you want your business to go will give you a better understanding of what is required of you and help you to adjust your business practices to succeed. Below you will find some useful links for planning and starting your small business.

Preparing a Business Plan

A business plan is a written document that describes your business, what it does and what is in its future. Writing a plan forces you to be objective, critical and unemotional about your business and allows you to produce a realistic path to attain your goals.

Additional information can be found by visiting Canada Business and by reviewing the attached document Snapshot of a Business Plan.

Which Structure is for You?

Sole proprietorship, partnership or incorporated – which structure is best for you? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each and how can you decide which one is the best fit for your business?  Visit Canada Business for additional information about ownership structures.

Business Registration

To operate a business in Ontario using anything but your own legal name you must register with the Province of Ontario. You can register a sole proprietorship, general partnership or an “operating as” name for an existing corporation through our office or online through a user friendly website. To register your sole proprietorship, partnership or “operating as” name with the Province of Ontario, follow the business registration directions at www.serviceontario.ca or visit the SBEC office Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. for assistance with your business registration.

Checklist for Starting a New Business

If you have come up with a great idea for a business but don’t know what to do next, use this handy checklist to make sure you have everything covered.

How Will You Operate?

When planning for a new business it is important to take into account the day-to-day operations. What do you need to do and how will you do it? From employees to finances, make sure that you are prepared.

HST for Ontario

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) took effect in Ontario on July 1, 2010, replacing the existing provincial Retail Sales Tax (RST) and combining it with the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). Obtain updates and important information regarding HST and how it affects your business by following the link above.

Guide to Market Research and Analysis

Acquiring accurate and specific information about your customers and competitors is a critical first step in market investigation and the development of a marketing plan. The market impacts all aspects of your company’s activities and will ultimately lead to the success or failure of your business. Find additional information on targeting your market in Know Your Market.

Ways to Promote your Product/Service

Preparing a marketing budget is something that takes a lot of time and consideration. Understanding the kinds of impacts that can be expected from each media vehicle will help you to determine the best media mix for your market.

The Money You’ll Need

Money is a critical factor in starting a business. You will need money for start-up costs as well as daily operating expenses. You can finance your business through debt (borrowed money) and equity (invested money). The type of financing you seek depends upon how much you need, how you plan to use it, how long you need it for and how you will pay it back.

How to Prepare a Cash Flow Forecast

A cash flow is a forecast of when you anticipate receiving money from your sales and when you expect to pay your bills. A cash flow analysis assists in financial planning, inventory purchases and formulating credit and collections policies. It is one of the most important tools an owner/manager has to control his or her business.  More information on developing a cash flow forecast and other financial documents can be found at Canada Business.