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Your Guide to Preparing a Plan  

to Raise Money for 

Your Own Business


Revised 2017-2018 Edition


By: Iain Williamson








THIS REVISED AND COMPLETELY UPDATED BOOK is a practical, step-by-step guide to preparing a business plan you can use to raise financing. It shows you how to address the concerns of investors or lenders. A good plan will not guarantee financing, however, it is an essential first step in the search. Without it, you will not stand a chance!

This edition shows you the importance of social media in growing your business. It recommends that you create your own website and use it in conjunction with your plan to attract potential lenders or investors. It also suggests using photos and short videos to augment your written plan.

It covers points you will need to consider before starting your plan. It includes chapters on strategic planning and the importance of using spreadsheets in your planning process.

The chapter on preparing your human resource plan covers government regulations relating to employees. It also looks at the effectiveness of employee ownership plans. A chapter has been added on using professional advisors and how to keep costs down.

There are chapters to help you manage your time and projects. Learn how to prepare your advertising, marketing and Internet strategies. It covers premises and the advantages of being home-based. It looks at the merits of equipment leasing as a method of off-balance sheet financing.

This book also includes a sample plan to help you see how your plan should be structured.

When you have finished your plan, you will get tips on how to print it and prepare a PDF version that you can send as an e-mail attachment. Learn about some presentation software packages that could help you. You’ll find a chapter on how to speak in public to groups of potential investors. Finally, read reviews on software packages that you can use to prepare your own plan from scratch.

Author, Iain Williamson, is an entrepreneur, business consultant and seminar leader. His views have appeared in many newspaper articles. He has also been the guest speaker on a CBC Radio phone-in show on starting a business in a recession. In addition, he has appeared on television shows such as: CBC TV’s Venture; TVO’s MoneysWorth, and Canada Tonight of BCTV and CHCH Television.

Iain spent five years as a financial analyst and knows what makes business tick. For fourteen years he operated his own businesses in importing, high technology and manufacturing. He now operates Entrepreneurial Business Consultants of Canada and also owns a book publishing business. He holds degrees from Oxford University and from St. Andrew’s, Scotland.

Iain has prepared business plans for many clients and writes from firsthand experience which he shares with you. This book contains a wealth of knowledge accumulated over many years.


Your Guide to Preparing a Plan to Raise Money for Your Own Business: 2017-2018 Edition by Iain Williamson, 294 pages, softcover, ISBN 978-1-55270-774-6; ISSN 1191-0496; published in July 2017; Canadian $56.95.  


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CHAPTER 1- Introduction

A Confession

The Importance of Your Plan

The Approach Taken in this Book


CHAPTER 2 Your Business Plan is Essential

How Many Businesses Have a Plan?

Length of the Plan

The Plan as a Financing Document


CHAPTER 3 Your Strategic Plan

The Importance of Having a Strategy

Your Time Horizon

Are You Going to be Defensive or Offensive?

Are Your Strategic Objectives Realistic?

The Perils of Concentrating on Market Share

The Peril of Having Too Many Objectives


CHAPTER 4 Use Spreadsheets To Find Out How Much Money You Really Need

Why are Spreadsheets so Important?

What are Spreadsheets?

Corel Quattro Pro

Microsoft Excel

OpenOffice Calc

Use Spreadsheets to Prepare Cash Flow Projections to Calculate Your Needs

The Importance of Knowing What You Need

Observations on Start-up Capital Needs


CHAPTER 5 Your Choice: Debt or Equity?

Debt or Equity?

Can Your Business Raise Debt?

The Liquidity Ratio

Quick Ratio

Debt-to-Equity Ratio

Ability to Service Debt

Outside Forces


CHAPTER 6 The Legal Structure Of Your Business

Why is Your Deal Structure So Important?

Legal Structure

Sole Proprietorships


Limited Liability Partnerships

Tax Aspects of Limited Partnerships

Joint Venture (or Undeclared Partnership)

Incorporated Companies

Professional Corporations

Name Search

Federally Incorporated Company


What is Your Basic Financial Aim?


CHAPTER 7 Form of the Investment

If You Have Incorporated, You Have to Decide on the Form of the Investment

Common Stock

Preferred Shares

Rights and Warrants


Loans, Debentures and Bonds

The Loan Guarantee

Revenue Participating Certificates

Royalty/Dividend on Preferred Convertible Stock


CHAPTER 8 Your Advertising and Marketing Plans

The "Blur" Between Marketing and Advertising

What Marketing Encompasses

What Advertising Encompasses

The Amount of Money Spent on Advertising

Why Spend the Money?

The Advertising Market is Not Homogeneous

"Hooks" for the Business Market

"Hooks" for the Consumer Market

Testimonials, Endorsements, Logos and Trademarks

Creating Your Message

Try to Be Different

Delivering Your Message

Create a Sense of Urgency and Make a Call to Action

In the Creative Process, Make Sure You Achieve Your Objectives

Selecting Your Media


CHAPTER 9 Your Online Marketing Plan

The Current State of Retail E-Commerce in the United States

The Status of Canadian E-Commerce

The Status of European B2C E-Commerce

The Role of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Trading Partners

Adopting EDI

Value-Added Networks (VANs) & Value-Added Services

What is "E-Tailing?"

Traditional Brick and Mortar Retailing vs. E-Tailing

The Role of Disintermediation

The Disintermediation Balancing Act

The Importance of Considering the Implications of the Internet Before Approaching Investors


CHAPTER 10 Plan Your Web Presence and e-Commerce Strategy

When You Have Your Own Website, the World is Your Oyster

The Internet Brings it All Together from an Advertising Perspective!

Search Engines

The Search Engines Which Dominate the Market

Create Your Own Website

Register Your Domain Name

Establish Your Presence on the Internet Before You Start Presenting Your Plan

Web Hosting

Web Design Software

What is E-Commerce?

Your Shopping Cart

Your Checkout

Your Methods of Receiving Payment

Payment Gateways

Offer Alternative Ways for Your Customers to Order and Pay

How to Create Order Forms for Download from Your Website

International Transactions

Security of Transaction

Main Types of E-Commerce Software

The Plug-ins

Stand-alone E-commerce Software

Other Shopping Cart Software Programs

Hosted E-commerce Solutions

Sponsored Search & Paid Placement Pay-per-Click (PPC) Advertising plus Auction Networks

Cost-per-Order (CPO) & Return on Advertising Spending (ROAS)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Links to Other Sites

Promote your Site with Web Rings

Banner Ads

Pop-Up Ads

Add Sizzle to Your Website: Add a Video

Editing Your Video Content

Streaming Video

Progressive Download

Who are the Major Players?


CHAPTER 11 Plan Offline Advertising to Support Your Online Advertising

Media as a Delivery System

Market Segmentation for Online and Offline Advertising

Yuppies, Guppies, Boomers and "Geners"

Hispanic, French-Speaking and Ethnic Markets

Co-op Advertising

Support Your Web Advertising with Offline Advertising

The Concept of Lifetime Value of a Customer

Analyzing Direct Mail Response

Analyzing Broadcast and Print Media Response

Internet Push Technology Capitalizes on the Lifetime Value of Customers

Analyzing Your Response Rates

Cost of the Mailing Piece Using Addressed Bulk Mail

The Costs of Broadcast and Print Media Advertising

Testing Your Mailing Piece

Is There Enough Money to be Made with Direct Mailings?

Frequency When Using Print and Broadcast Media

Comparisons Using Cost Per Thousand

Setting Up Your Media Schedule

The Role of the Advertising Agent


CHAPTER 12 Your Social Media Plan

Your Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

The Huge Surge in the Use of Social Media

How Can You Use Social Media in Your Business?

Caveat: Social Media is "Social" not "Business Media"

Social Media as the Great Equalizer

The Cost

Paid Advertising

Watch Out on Paid Advertising

Don't Treat All Social Media as Being the Same

Web Blogs









Is Social Media Worth The Time?

The Big Shift to Mobile

Don't Forget to Analyse Your Results

Your Social Media Plan


CHAPTER 13 Employees, Government Regulations & Your Human Resource Plan

Determine How Many People You Will Need to Hire

Job Descriptions Form the Basis for Job Specifications

It May Sound Crazy but Prepare Your Own Job Description!

Prepare Job Descriptions For All Your Employees

Salaries and Hidden Costs

Canada Payroll Account Number

Payroll Deductions in All Provinces

Private Worker Health Insurance Plans

Minimum Wage

Overtime Pay

Hiring Canadian Workers

Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW)

Pay Equity

Personal Information Protection

Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)

Workplace Safety and Insurance

Termination or Severance

Record of Employment (ROE)

The Balancing Act of Paying to Hire the Best Talent and Trying to Keep Wage Costs as Low as Possible

Third Party Liability

Honesty Bonds or Fidelity Bonds

Intellectual Property and Non-competition Agreements

Employment Contracts

Are Employee Share Ownership Plans a Dream?

How Can ESOPs Help?

Types of ESOPs

Performance Bonuses

Your Human Resource Plan


Use Family Members Where Possible



Factory Automation

3D Printing


CHAPTER 14 Your Professional Advisors: How to Keep Your Costs Down

Professional Advisors


Accountants and Bean Counters




CHAPTER 15 Your Time Management and Project Management Plans

It's Time to Organize Your Priorities!

Prioritize Your "To-Do" Lists

Shoot the Closest Alligators!

Then, Shoot the Alligators Blocking Your Way to the Exit!

Finally, if you Have the Time, Shoot the Alligators Basking in the Sun!

How to Structure Your Day

How to Structure Your Week

How to Structure Your Month

Make Sure You Put Aside Time to Plan

Don't Forget Your H&R List

The Blessings and the Curses of e-Mail and the Phone

The Blessings and the Curses of Meetings and Committees

Microsoft Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail

Microsoft Outlook

WordPerfect Mail

Handling Snail Mail

Handling Faxes

Snappy Fax

WinFax Pro

Your Top Priority is to Make Sure Everything is Working

Set up a Spreadsheet Featuring Blocks of Time

Divide Each Week and Each Month into Blocks of Time

The Wall Planner vs. a Spreadsheet

Effexis Software: Achieve Planner


Don't Fall Into the Parkinson's Law Trap

The Team Approach

Get on Top of Your Projects!

Microsoft Project

Milestones Professional

Milestones Simplicity


CHAPTER 16 Premises and Equipment

Home-Based Businesses are Survivors

How Legal is it to Work Out of Your Home or Apartment?

Tax Advantages

Save on Commuting Time

Retail Space or Manufacturing Premises

Equipment and Other Fixed Costs



CHAPTER 17 Business Plan for a Manufacturer

Structure of a Plan for a Manufacturer

Title Page

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

The Company

The Product

The Market

Manufacturing & Operations

Financial Information

Investment Criteria

Strategic Plan & Timetable


Economic Benefits




CHAPTER 18 Business Plan for a Service Company

A Company in the Service Industry


Advertising and Sales Lead Generation

After-Market & Competition


Human Resources

Quality Control



CHAPTER 19 Business Plan for a Retailer

Business Plan for a Retail Operation




Warranties & Returned Goods

Competition & Customer Loyalty


Human Resources



Theft & Shrinkage

The Balance


CHAPTER 20 Business Plan for a Construction Company

Format of the Plan


Labour & Sub-Trades


Economic Considerations


CHAPTER 21 Example of a Business Plan

Some Comments About the Example

Some Final Comments on the Plan


CHAPTER 22 How to Approach Investors or Lenders With Your Plan

What is the Investor or Lender Looking for in Your Plan?

The Question of Confidentiality

Preparing Your Plan for Photocopying





Tableau Desktop

Printing Your Business Plan

Preparing a Digital (PDF) Version of Your Plan

Portable Document Format (PDF)

Adobe Acrobat

ABBYY PDF Transformer

Some Big Advantages of Using PDF Documents

Your First Presentations to Potential Investors

Allow for Modifications


CHAPTER 23 Software to Improve Presentations of Your Plan

Add the Professional Touch

Microsoft PowerPoint

Using Microsoft PowerPoint in a Brainstorming Session

Harvard Graphics Pro Presentations Version 3.0

Apache OpenOffice Impress

ProShow Producer

PhotoDex ProShow Gold

Corel Photo Slideshow


Chapter 24 In-Person Presentations to Groups of Potential Investors

Successful Group Presentations

If You're Terrified of Speaking in Public, You're not Alone!

A Lot May Rest on Your Performance

The King's Speech

The Need for Exactitude

The Podium

Your Script

Use Your Script as Back Up

Cue Cards

After Being Introduced

"Eye Contact"

Avoid Gymnastics!

The Magic of the Pause

Your Body Language

Got a Frog in Your Throat?


The Panel Discussion

Watch the Clock!

The Elevator Pitch

The Perils of Being the Last Speaker

The Q&A

The Pre-Prepared Press Release

The First Step to Making a Successful Presentation

The Second Step to Making a Successful Presentation

Practice Will Make You Perfect


CHAPTER 25 Your Plan Should be a Dynamic Document

Monitoring and Altering Your Strategic Objectives


CHAPTER 26 Business and Market Planning Software to Help You

Business Planning and Analysis Software

Plan Write

PlanMagic Business

PlanMagic Non Profit

Business Plan Pro Standard Edition

Business Plan Pro Premier Edition


PlanMagic Media Planner

Sales and Marketing Pro


CHAPTER 27 Self- Financing and Financing From the Public & Private Sectors

Self-Financing and Preparations

Ways to Raise Venture Capital

Ways to Raise Debt Financing for Your Business

Ways to Finance Your Business By Giving Up Some of Your Ownership

Government Financing

Export Financing

Further Information








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