Why is it important to write a business plan?

We’ve talked before about the elements of a business plan. But what are the benefits of writing one?

A business plan is the design and construction plan for a great small business. If you wanted to build a house, you wouldn’t walk over to an empty lot and just start nailing boards together. You’d follow a blueprint that tells everyone what the finished product should look like and how to build the home. Essentially, a business plan serves the same purpose.

There are five really good reasons to write a business plan before you start a business:

  1. To test the feasibility of your business idea and work out any bugs on paper first.
  2. To develop strategies ahead of time for marketing, finance, operation and human resources, instead of when you’re in the fast-paced start-up stage.
  3. To get funding like a bank loan.
  4. To attract investors.
  5. To have a roadmap to follow for at least the first year in business.

For more about business plans, read about what a business plan contains, and what the secret is for writing one.


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GoForth to present at Olds College’s iSpark conference

GoForth Institute’s President and founder Dr. Leslie Roberts will be presenting at the iSpark innovation and inspiration conference on May 10, 2013. Hosted by the Olds College Faculty Association and the Alberta Business Education Association, iSpark is designed to encourage the integration of technology into the classroom.

We’re excited to be presenting our view of a new educational model that involves making education mobile and meaningful. From there, iSpark is a great conference for those with interest in technology and education.

For more information or to register, please visit iSpark’s website.

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Fortune shares business lessons from Game of Thrones

You know that, as an entrepreneur, business lessons can come from anywhere – even one of the most popular shows on TV today. We had fun reading a recent article at Fortune, titled “‘Game of Thrones’: A business leader’s guide.”

As we prepare for Sunday’s third season premiere, let’s consider the rival claimants, power brokers, and schemers in the show based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. What can today’s manager learn from these feuding fantasy clans? Quite a lot, actually. Here are five key leadership lessons we can draw from their trials.

We won’t share any more excerpts, since the article assumes you’re all caught up on Season 2. If you are – check out the article.

What do you think of the business lessons learned from Game of Thrones?

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Costs of opening a franchise

franchise_costsThis may come as no surprise, but opening a franchise probably isn’t going to be cheap. But forewarned is forearmed, so let’s take a look at some of the common costs associated with opening a franchise.

Franchisors often charge a franchise fee that needs be paid at the start of the agreement – either in full or as a percentage – in the form of a deposit. You’ll likely have to sign a deposit agreement,and the deposit may or may not be returned to you if you decide not to go through with 
the franchise.

In Alberta, for example, this refundable deposit can be up to 20% of the initial franchise fee. Once you’ve made the agreement, however, the initial franchise fee can vary from as little as $5,000 to as much as $75,000 — possibly more.

The average initial franchise fee 
in Canada is $23,000. This fee covers costs like support, training, franchisee recruitment, grand opening launch, franchise development and site identification. In general, the initial fee is higher the more recognized and established your franchisor company is.


Aside from initial franchise fees, royalties are often due, either weekly or monthly, to give the franchisor a portion of your sales. These can vary from 0–20% of gross (total) sales, depending on the level of support and services provided to you. Some franchises don’t charge an ongoing royalty fee, but the cost is often built in through rebates or mark-ups on products or services.

Additional costs

Aside from the franchise fee and royalties, you may have to pay other costs, like advertising fees. Depending on your franchise, you 
might have to make contributions to an advertising fund for the franchise system as 
a whole. This means that fees from all locations can be pooled into a much larger budget, allowing for cost sharing of national or regional advertising.

You’ll also need an equity investment – money to help keep your franchise location afloat until you’re profitable. On average, this investment amounts to around $160,000 in Canada. Other costs that you may run into could include research 
and development funds, leasehold improvements, furniture, fixtures, equipment, supplies and costs of employee training. Insurance costs are often included within the franchise agreement, but be sure you’re adequately insured before you open your doors. Like we said, not cheap!

So how much do I need to pay to open a franchise?

Estimated overall costs to opening a franchise can range anywhere from $50,000 or less for service franchises to as much as $500,000 or more for more sophisticated franchises. For more information, visit the Canadian Franchise Association‘s website.

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