Most of our western governments recognize the importance of small business and attempt to provide support. When small business accounts for more than 40% of total employment, governments take notice. To some extent it seems that this is motivated by an attempt to “take credit” for providing an environment in which small business can flourish.
To some extent governments are motivated by the desire to be seen to help small business.
Most governments repeat the conventional notion that “the first thing to be done is write a business plan”. Of course it’s hard to disagree with the notion that some form of planning should occur, however it’s our experience that most new business owners don’t have the knowledge required and won’t benefit from months spent putting together a detailed plan.
While it is encouraging to see that others have seen the benefit of these consulting services, I have to wonder what an official from Public Services and Procurement Canada really knows about writing a business plan for a small business…
What Small Business BC Does Well
Small Business BC is the public face for the corporate registry, which allows entrepreneurs to form corporations or societies, register business names and so on. This is their primary function…and they do it well!
Advertorials and the Business Press
It isn’t only the government that gets into the act. Entrepreneur Magazine also provides their 2 cents worth in an article by Tim Berry.
Advertorial in Entrepreneur Magazine
The article also contains an ad for business planning software written by – you guessed it – the same Tim Berry. Presumably this is what is referred to as an “advertorial”.
My experience with business plans…
Most of the advice relating to business planning assumes that you are looking for funding either from lenders or investors. The truth is – unless you’re looking for funding from friends and / or family (affectionately known as ‘fools, friends and family’), you will probably have to put personal assets on the line (and provide a personal guarantee) until you’ve survived 2 or 3 years.
Once you’ve demonstrated the ability to survive for a couple of years, you can probably borrow money (as long as you’re prepared to provide a personal guarantee) to put into to your business.
Attracting investment is another story.
You’ll need to convince investors that your business is a ‘growth business’ not a ‘lifestyle business’. (Hint: Most businesses don’t make the cut as a growth business)