Page 15 - Business Basics for Alberta Food Processors

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Business Planning
Why Plan?
A business plan helps you formalize the thinking and
planning process. Developing and recording a plan
helps you systematically think through the steps
involved in your business development. By
completing a business plan you will better
understand the markets, costs and competitive
factors that will influence the future of your new
business. A well thought out plan gives you
increased confidence and prepares you to obtain
necessary financing and resources. Think of a
business plan as a working document, one that
changes, expands and shifts with the times.
The business plan that you develop as a working tool
does not need to be a formal document, but there are
times when a formal business plan is a requirement.
If you need a loan from a financial institution, then
you will likely be asked for a business plan. If you
want processing assistance from the Alberta
Agriculture and Rural Development, Food
Processing Development Centre in Leduc, a business
plan is required. Depending on who is going to read
the plan, you may need to emphasize different
Gathering Information
Business plans can take many forms. What follows
is a series of questions. You will probably know the
answers to many of the questions from your ongoing
work. If you created files as suggested in the
Introduction to this Guide
, you will have the answers
to many of these questions. Once you have answered
the questions, you will be in a good position to write
your business plan.
1. Describe your product or service
• Describe the benefits of the product or describe
what your service will do for people.
• What makes your product or service different?
• How does it help a consumer?
• Why would someone buy your product?
• Is it easy to use?
• What is the shelf life of your product?
• How will you package your product?
2. Do a market analysis
• Who are your customers by age, income, sex,
preferences, etc.
• Where are they located geographically?
• Describe your industry trends (past, current,
future predictions).
• How do you know these people want your
• What market share do you expect to get, and
• What are potential problems in meeting this goal
and how will you deal with them?
• Who are your competitors now and in five years?
How does your product compare with theirs and
how can you best compete with their products?
3. Marketing strategy
• How will you set your price, and how does your
price relate to competitors prices?
• How will you get the word out about your
company and your product?
• How will you get your product to them (by mail,
distributor, broker, direct delivery)? What are the
costs of using this method?
• What service and warranty policies will you
4. Describe yourself and your management team
• List your personal data: age, where you live and
have lived, special abilities and interests and your
reasons for starting the business.
• What is your business background and
experience? Do you have directly related