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Writing an Effective Business Plan: Page 6 - Financial Data

By Julie King |

Page 6 - Financial Data

While words will describe your business strategies, numbers will define your business opportunity. For an existing business, you will want to include financial statements for the last three years, along with projections for the next 1-5 years. Projections will include a balance sheet, an income statement, and a cashflow summary.

For a new business this section of the plan can be extremely challenging to create, as you only have models – and guesses – to build on at this point. There are some free, online tools that can help you with this section of your plan.

Industry Canada has a free tool, Performance Plus, that provides detailed financial and employment data on small businesses by industry for Canada, the provinces and territories. Using Performance Plus you can get detailed financial data for other companies in your industry from previous years. This data can help you support your own financial projections and it can provide benchmarks that you can compare your own company against.

Another option is to review financial data for publicly traded companies, who are required by law to file this information. By looking at actual business results for other companies in your industry, you can get some generalized numbers to compare your projections to. However, it is important to note that there are many differences between publicly traded companies and small businesses, so use this information carefully. Many small businesses operate much more efficiently (as their size often means less management, bureaucracy and need to comply with regulations that govern public companies), but their size often limits the market share they are able to capture. To research publicly traded Canadian companies, visit SEDAR online:

Click on a link to go directly to that page of the article.

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: An Overview
Page 3: Why Plan?
Page 4: The Executive Summary
Page 5: Business Data
Page 6: Financial Data
Page 7: Supporting Data
Page 8: The Outline

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