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Bruce Croxon is a digital pioneer and owner of several successful small businesses, including one that sold for 180-million dollars. He currently helms Round13, a company dedicated to incubating and investing in start-ups. He’s also an investor on CBC Dragons’ Den. He’s partnered with Sage to help provide advice and expertise on getting small businesses off the ground.
When entrepreneurs are just starting out, many tend to get wrapped up in things like ideation, marketing plans, the details of the products and other elements. This is for good reason – it’s a very exciting time when the creativity of the owner really shines.
However, almost all leaders are going to have to write out a business plan at some point. This not only sets goals for themselves and their employees and gives them a rough idea of what they have to do to achieve the benchmarks, but it also provides information for investors, which can be the difference between getting funding and having to find other ways of obtaining capital early on.
As such, drafting one of these documents is of the utmost importance to entrepreneurs in their early days, but few know exactly where to start. There are a couple of key elements every business plan should have.
Needs to be fluid
Something that the leader needs to keep in the back of his or her mind while writing this out initially and enforcing it in the future is that the business plan needs to be a live document. This is especially true where monetary goals and strategies are concerned – there are certain things that cannot be planned out. For instance, what if there’s a recession? Even if something like this isn’t in the document, the business is going to have to find a new way to pull through.
As successful business owner and star of “Dragons’ Den” - currently in his last season - Bruce Croxon explained, “A reality of the Digital Age we’re in, with the information flying as fast as it does, is that you have to be able to change on a moment’s notice.”
Prepare for the unexpected as much as possible
Again, there are a number of factors that just can’t be foreseen, but that doesn’t mean a few of them shouldn’t be covered in the business plan. For instance – no one expects a massive storm to strike, but it might be prudent to mention in this document how the company would deal with employees who had to work from home because of weather issues or how employees would maintain a connection with the client even if the physical office was damaged.
Some aspects of the business plan will never be used, while others will change with time, but this document can provide a great way to always stay in task.
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