Ask the Expert

Why do I need to prepare a Business Plan?

“When I meet with clients and they tell me their story, they’re surprised to learn that most of what they’ve said can go right into the Plan.” Betty Langford, Loans Officer, The Centre For Business

A Business Plan is a written document that serves as your blueprint for building your business and achieving your goals. It identifies who you are and what your business idea is. It describes where your business will be located, your timeframe for getting started and the business objectives you want to meet. The Business plan addresses what you think your risks are and how you plan on overcoming them. It identifies projected costs and revenues and helps you ensure that you have carefully thought out all aspects of your proposed business venture. When finished, your Business Plan will be an invaluable tool for keeping you on track and evaluating your progress.

You should do a Business Plan for several reasons:

  1. To be eligible for financing, most lending institutions and The Centre For Business require potential clients to complete a Business Plan with their loan application.
  2. A Business Plan establishes credibility for your business venture and demonstrates to potential lenders and investors how you plan to use their money, overcome risks and provide the expected returns.
  3. Through the process of completing the Business Plan, you thoroughly examine your business idea and address many issues. This prepares you to face challenges and increases the likelihood of your business succeeding.

Although it seems like an overwhelming task, The Centre For Business has many resources to guide you through writing your Business Plan. (Start your Business Plan here). Call the office to get started now (1-877-876-7908).

Who decides if I will receive a loan for my business and how long will it take?

All decisions regarding loan applications are made by The Centre For Business and Economic Development Board of Directors. Each application is reviewed and evaluated on its own merit. The deadline for submission of a business loan application is the 15th of each month (contact The Centre For Business at 705-445-8410 for confirmation of this schedule). The process from application to approval depends on the complexity of the application and may take from 4 to 6 weeks.

What is the Mentoring Program about and would it be a good idea for me?

“The Centre For Business believes that support for small business is critical to sustaining our communities. The Mentoring Program has been pivotal to many businesses and we wish to invite you to be part of this program!” Tillie MacDonald, General Manager, The Centre For Business

The Centre For Business Mentoring Program is ideal for small and home-based businesses or individuals in remote rural areas who don’t have a business network or peer support system. The program matches business entrepreneurs with experienced business professionals. The Centre For Business Mentoring Program is custom designed to meet the needs of the Mentee. It can involve a One Time Counselling Session or One on One Mentoring whereby the mentor and mentee meet regularly to identify and work through Mentee business issues.

“The energy at the meetings is amazing, and our Mentor has been invaluable to us in getting us on track, providing support, encouragement and an energizing boost to our business!” Janie Kirk, Mochaberry Coffee and Company Ltd., Orangeville, Ontario

How do I prepare for my first appointment with the Loans Officer?

Relax, you’re the expert. You know more about your business than anyone else. At our first meeting, I look forward to getting to know you and learning about your business. To get the most benefit from our meeting, here are a few suggestions:

  • Talk to others and share your business ideas with them. This is a good way to get feedback and get comfortable describing your business and why you need a loan. The more you talk about it, the clearer you will become at expressing your ideas and goals.
  • Prepare a list of questions that you want to ask me. Write them down and bring them to the meeting. That way, we can make sure we discuss what you need to know.
  • Bring along any documents you’ve prepared, even if they are rough or in draft form (such as a business plan, marketing ideas or financial plans)
  • Think about what it is you want to do; how much money you need and why; how you plan on spending the money and; what are some of your challenges and opportunities.

At the end of our meeting, my goal is that you leave with:

  • answers to all your questions,
  • an understanding of the loans process and what the next steps are for you, and
  • the necessary support and resources to complete your loan application and business plan should you wish to proceed.

I have a lot of questions about paperwork, permits, registration forms, and applications to get my business up and running smoothly.

“Start with us. We’re a one-stop business resource. We can give you the guidance and information you need to get your business going.” Staff, The Centre For Business

We talk to many entrepreneurs and successful business owners everyday and we exchange a lot of information. No doubt about it, the task of completing all the required forms seems overwhelming. As a small business owner, you are involved with all aspects of this work. Over the years, we’ve compiled a list of links and resources that we think will be helpful to you, whether you’re starting or growing your business. If you do not have access to high-speed internet, you can contact the Centre to set up an appointment to use our internet self-help workstation that offers electronic applications for such things as Business Registration, Retail Sales Tax and Vendor Permits and Employer Health Tax and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

If you have a question, please contact us today.