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Business planning - company profile

The face of your company
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Futurpreneur Canada

on 18 October 2013

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Transcript of Business planning - company profile

Company profile is where you explain the compelling value of your company.

Consider:
What is the key benefit you're selling?
Focus on only ONE, don't create a shopping list of features

Highlight who you are, your history and what's driven you to start this company.

Do you have passions that directly relate to your business? Share them.
What do you bring to the business: Industry experience? A network? Education/training?

Before jumping into anything too strenuous, a business plan needs to include the basic information about your company:

Company name
What's your company status? Researching? Just about to launch? Launched?
When did you establish your company?

This provides immediate context for someone reading your business plan.

Define what distinguishes you in the market.

What is your promise to customers?
What is the key benefit to customers?

(AKA: Your unique sales proposition or key selling feature.)
You only need ONE.
Even if you have a laundry list of benefits, prioritize them and pick ONE.
TIP
COMMON KEY BENEFITS FOR A
To make things easier we have a quick list of common key benefits:
Saves time
Easier to use
Minimizes risk
Highly credible
Increase enjoyment
Greater selection
Quicker delivery
Caters to a market segment
Better quality
Convenient
Reduces pain
Socially responsible
Saves money
Friendlier service
Strong credentials
PRODUCT AND/OR SERVICE
Whatever you define as your compelling value make sure that on its own it’s enough to make people purchase your product or service.
VALUE EQUATION?
WHAT IS THE
Once you've defined your compelling value, identify where it fits in the value equation. Which ONE side of the equation are you focusing on as part of your compelling value?
You can have any two in this equation, but you can’t have all THREE pieces. Think about your experience: If the service is high and the quality is high, then you expect to pay more. If you pay less, you may have great service, but the quality isn't high.
TIP
Service
Quality
Price
quality of product or service
customer's experience
money customer spends

Remember: don't confuse this to only apply to a product business. All businesses have a quality level.
Remember: don't confuse this to only apply to a service business. All businesses serve customers, creating a customer experience.
TIP: Try not to sell on price. There's always someone cheaper than you and it can be a fatal mistake to your company's success.

There are some exceptions, such as opening a dollar store.
This is the specific product/service(s) you offer, not to be confused with your compelling value.

Identify what type of company you are:
Product
Service
Combination

You may have more than one offering; make sure to list them all here.

Consider each product/service when launching, consider the value of each along with the operational effort and risk. Could you expand your offering as you grow?

Be clear. Consider your audience has no frame of reference; would they still be able to explain to someone else what your company does?
TIP
Explain where your idea came from.
Consider:
How did the idea come about?
When did decide to do it?

Elaborate on your company's current status.
What actions have you taken so far to turn your idea into a business?
Have you talked to your customers?
Sales to date? What lessons have you learned?
Do you have a website?

In Canada there are three options to consider:
SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP
PARTNERSHIPS
INCORPORATED
This is the most common and easiest to do.

In this instance there is no legal difference between you as an individual and the company. This means that you are personally liable.
SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP
Don't let the fear of liability stop you. You can always change your company structure later as needed.
TIP
This is when two or more people jointly own and are liable for the business.
PARTNERSHIPS
This is a completely separate legal entity from you as an individual. This requires papers of incorporation and involves more steps to setting up the business.

Check out the Guide to federal incorporation for more information:
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/h_cs04839.html
INCORPORATED
Once you've identified the structure of your business, you'll need to explain your rationale for selecting it.

If you're looking for more information check out this webinar:
http://www.cybf.ca/cybf_resources/starting-my-business-plan/legal-issues-for-new-business-webinar/
.
The best indicator on what structure to choose, is looking at what other people in your industry have done.
TIP
When you do this, make sure it matches with your company's legal structure.

If it's a sole proprietorship, have you explained the owner's history and value to the company?

If it's a partnership, have you explained each person's role?

Are you incorporated, if so who are the directors?

Define your company management
Don’t provide this information as a resume. The resumes can go into the appendix.

Create a story for each member of the management team.

Remember, a business is as strong as the people behind it.
TIP
To elaborate on each management member's story, you may want to include some of the criteria below.

Relevant work experience
Life experience
Education/Training/Skills
Project you’ve worked on
Passions
Customer Contacts/Industry Contacts
Achievements and/or Awards
Volunteer Work
Management criteria to consider
When telling their story always ask yourself: "So what?!" The purpose is to make sure that the details you're including are directly relevant to your how your business is going to be successful.
TIP
Consider the product/services you are providing, can you work from home? Are you breaking any bylaws working from home? Do you need a storefront?

Outline the reasoning for your location decision.

Provide the address of your company. If it is an online business, you will still need to provide a physical address for income tax purposes and that should be included here.

Location, Location, Location
That’s right; there are a few optional sections to consider including in the Company Profile.

Consider:
Do any of these options provide a clearer picture of my company?
Do they provide insight to potential financing organizations?

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR COMPANY HEADING?
DO YOU HAVE COMPANY GOALS/OBJECTIVES?
DO YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT?
MISSION & VISION
Defining the mission and vision of your company
provides both long and short term direction for the company.

They can be helpful to reference during the chaos of start-up to help keep you on track.

They are not required within a business plan, but highly encouraged.
Refer to the company history.

Think long term.
Vision is the end result you’re aiming for. Think 5–10 years from now.

Set a course to get there.
Mission identifies “how” you’ll reach your vision. This is different than goals.

TIP
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
Identify the business milestones you have set. These could be influenced by the mission and vision of your company.

Sales targets
Number of clients
Project based (launching a website, opening a store front)
Marketing campaign
Equipment purchase

Goals need to be SMART

Specific: what is the what/where/when/who/why of the goal?
Measurable: how will you know you’ve achieved the goal?
Attainable: can the goal be achieved?
Realistic: are you willing to work towards the goal?
Time-based: what’s the target date for achieving the goal?

To get started, try setting monthly targets for your goals.
PROFESSIONAL ADVISORS
Identify any professionals that are actively supporting the company, these could include:

Accountant
Legal Counsel
Banker
Business consultant
Mentor

Not all businesses have professional advisors. As a business grows you may want to establish these so take advantages of opportunities to develop your professional network for the future.
Start with what you know. It’s okay to jump around the company profile section, answer the questions you are most familiar with first.

Recognize gaps. It’s okay not to have all the answers. Search out resources to help you fill in the holes.

Use the Business Plan Writer as a guide for writing your plan. It comes complete with examples!
https://www.cybf.ca/bplan
“Reach for the stars and keep your feet (firmly planted) on the ground.”
Theodore Roosevelt
Take our survey and help us get better:
https://cybf.wufoo.eu/forms/survey-company-profile/
Full transcript