What is a business plan and why do I need one? It is a critical tool for outlining the strategy and developing the tactics to manage your business. This document identifies your business concept, organizes the information derived from your research, and explains how you will start and operate your business. This interactive series provides in-depth instruction on preparing each section of the business plan. A comprehensive manual, business plan and financial planning templates, and between-class worksheets and reading material will help you put your idea on paper. Class size is limited to 12 participants so there is time for questions and discussion. The descriptions below explain the content of each class. Participants who attend every class will receive a certificate of participation.
Prepayment ($220.00 plus gst) is required to reserve your spot in the series. Payment is not refundable or transferable to other sessions. Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of each session to ensure we start on time.
Exploration, Research and Analysis
This session helps you set the foundation and vision for your business idea. You will explore and begin to refine your business concept in order to identify your competition and the target customers you will be serving. Various primary and secondary research tools and techniques will be discussed so that you can evaluate what research you need to obtain in order to develop a realistic and effective plan. The class looks at how to evaluate and assess the collected research information to better understand your market potential.
Operations Planning and Risk Analysis
In this session you will explore the operations plan with a focus on identifying effective processes and systems. You will take into consideration the physical and human resources required to ensure the business is able to meet its sales objectives. Emphasis will be placed on how customers, employees and owners engage with the business and what resources, systems, procedures and training need to be developed.
In the first class of two classes devoted to marketing, you will explore the importance of differentiation, positioning, and establishing a well thought out brand for your business. There will be discussion about pricing strategies and how your costing and pricing model will affect sales and profit potential. Sales methods and the channels of distribution you intend to use to get your product/service into the marketplace will also be addressed.
This session covers traditional promotion tools (advertising, public relations, etc.) and explores online marketing strategies (social media, websites, etc). The marketing plan is the packaging of the elements discussed in the two marketing classes into a strategic action plan to create awareness about your product/service and get it to your target customers.
In this session you will learn how to apply the research and planning from the previous workshops to develop realistic financial projections for the business. The financial plan starts with outlining the sales strategy and targets for your business. Sales forecasting methods will be discussed and potential risks to your business will be reviewed. A template to assess and mitigate those risks will be provided. Cash flow budgets, income statements and balance sheets will be reviewed and tools will be provided to support analysis of the feasibility and viability of your business strategy based on the financial projections.
Financially Savvy: The Lab
The last session in the series takes a hands-on approach. You will use your own financial information to understand and manage cash flow budgets, sales projections and income statements. By the end of the session you will have an understanding of how to analyze the information that is found in your statements. You will gain insight into what should be included in the written section of your financial plan to help you assess whether you and your business are ready to launch.
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