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Suggested Business Plan Guidelines

At the Canada / British Columbia Business Services Society, we understand that business planning is not an exact science. What is included in your business plan will be dependant on your specific business.

The following is meant as a guideline only:

  • an Executive Summary summarizing the key points of your business plan in one or two pages;
  • a Business Overview which introduces the reader to your business;
  • a description of Products and / or Services;
  • a description of Key Management, Staff and / or Supporting Services;
  • a comprehensive Market Analysis section which will include the following sub-categories:
    • an Industry Overview analyzing the industry in which your business will compete; This should also include a detailed analysis of Key Competitors as well.
    • a Marketing Strategy which summarizes the: Target Market for your product or service - Who is the audience? Where are they? How many are there? Are there enough to support the business?
    • Product / Service - What is the “Unique Selling Feature” of your product / service? Why would they come to you instead of your competitors?
    • Promotion and Marketing – How will you get the message out about your product / service? Through ads? Press releases? How much will this cost?
    • Pricing and Positioning – How much will your product / service cost? What is the “position” of your product / service compared to competitors? Is it a “high-end” service or an affordable everyday product?
    • Distribution Strategies – How will your product / service reach the end-user? How much will it cost?
  • an Implementation Plan – How will the business grow and develop? What are the key milestones to be achieved?
  • a Risk / Contingency Plan – Discussing possible challenges / issues / barriers that the business may face. These can be external (e.g. economic downturn) or internal (e.g. less then projected sales)
  • a Financial Plan which includes;
    • pro-forma balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements.
      A balance sheet compares what your business owns to what it owes.
    • A cash flow statement compares how much money will be coming in to how much you will be spending.
    • An income statement compares your revenues to your expenses to see if you are going to make money.


Plans submitted for the Business Plan contest, must be a maximum of 25 pages, including title pages, table of contents, financials and any Appendices.

For more resources on business planning, visit:




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  Canada / British Columbia Business Services Society
601 W Cordova Street Vancouver BC Canada V6B 1G1
BC: 1 800 667-2272 Van: 604 775-5525