Access Now
Business Advice

Avoid Common Mistakes in Creating a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is a crucial task for every aspiring entrepreneur. This comprehensive document serves as a roadmap, detailing your business’s goals, strategies, and financial expectations. However, during this process, many entrepreneurs stumble into common pitfalls that can potentially jeopardize their venture’s success.

Ready to turn your business idea into a reality? Our Business Plan Builder tool simplifies the process, helping you create a solid plan and increase your chances of securing government funding in Ontario.

This article highlights these errors and provides comprehensive guidance on avoiding them.

Mistake 1: Neglecting Comprehensive Market Research

Thorough market research lays the foundation for any successful business plan. Failing to understand your target market, competitors, and industry trends can lead to a misguided strategy. Therefore, it’s essential to invest significant time and effort into analyzing market data. This will provide you with vital insights into your customer preferences, product or service demand, and any potential market gaps that your business could fill.

Mistake 2: Not Defining Clear Goals

A business plan without clear objectives is like navigating a ship without a compass. You must define specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your venture. These goals could range from increasing revenue and expanding to new markets, to improving customer satisfaction or developing a new product. Defining clear objectives offers a focused direction for your business and provides benchmarks to measure your performance.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Competitive Analysis

Ignoring the competition can lead to missed opportunities and unanticipated threats. It’s crucial to identify your direct and indirect competitors and understand their strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and customer base. By conducting a comprehensive competitor analysis, you can carve a unique niche for your business in the market and devise strategies to gain a competitive advantage.

Mistake 4: Unrealistic Financial Forecasts

Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of overly optimistic financial forecasting. Overestimating revenues and underestimating expenses can create inaccurate financial plans and set unrealistic expectations for investors. It’s essential to conduct a thorough financial analysis based on industry standards, market trends, and expert advice to craft accurate financial projections. Your financial plan should include all possible costs, such as overheads, marketing, personnel, and capital expenditure.

Mistake 5: Absence of Contingency Plans

The dynamic nature of business brings its share of risks and uncertainties. Ignoring potential challenges in your business plan can expose your venture to these risks. Entrepreneurs should identify potential risks and devise robust contingency plans to tackle unforeseen circumstances like economic downturns, supply chain disruptions, or changes in market trends.

Mistake 6: Unprofessional Structure and Formatting

The presentation of your business plan matters as much as its content. An unorganized or poorly formatted plan can undermine your credibility in the eyes of potential investors. Ensure your plan is well-structured, easy to follow, and professionally formatted. Include a table of contents, clear headings, and subheadings, and utilize charts and graphs to support your data visually.

Mistake 7: Overlooking Your Unique Value Proposition

Your business plan must articulate what sets your product or service apart from the competition. Clearly defining your unique value proposition is crucial as it identifies your venture’s unique strengths and selling points. This can prove particularly influential when attracting potential investors or customers.

Mistake 8: No Clear Marketing or Sales Strategy

Revenue is the lifeblood of any business, and your plan should detail your strategies for customer acquisition and retention. A vague or absent marketing and sales strategy can cast doubt on your revenue projections. Therefore, outline clear strategies for reaching your target market, capturing leads, converting prospects into customers, and retaining those customers for repeat business.

Mistake 9: Neglecting Legal and Regulatory Considerations

Ignoring legal and regulatory factors in your business plan can lead to significant legal troubles in the future. These can include issues related to business licensing, insurance, intellectual property protection, employment laws, tax regulations, and industry-specific regulations. Be sure to conduct thorough legal research and include it in your plan.

Mistake 10: Missing an Executive Summary

The executive summary is often the first section of your business plan that investors will read. An engaging and well-written executive summary can entice readers to explore your business plan further. Failing to include an executive summary or crafting a poorly written one can deter potential investors or lenders.

Mistake 11: Not Defining the Management Team

Investors often consider the management team as one of the most crucial elements of a startup. Your business plan should include a section detailing your team members, their roles, experiences, and how their skills contribute to your venture’s success. This will reassure investors about the competence of your team and their ability to execute the business plan effectively.

Mistake 12: Ignoring the Exit Strategy

While no entrepreneur wants to think about exiting their business at the start, investors will want to see an exit strategy. This outlines how they can get a return on their investment. Your exit strategy could include selling the business, merging with another company, or a public offering.

Creating a successful business plan involves more than simply documenting your vision. It requires comprehensive research, clear goal setting, competitive analysis, realistic financial planning, risk management, and professional presentation. By avoiding the common mistakes highlighted in this article, you will establish a solid foundation for your business, enhancing your prospects of achieving your goals and convincing investors of your venture’s potential.


How to Start a Small Business: Leveraging Government Funding for Ontario Startups

Aspiring entrepreneurs are often confronted with various challenges, with the most critical being securing adequate funding. This comprehensive guide provides invaluable insights into initiating a small business in Ontario, Canada, through strategic government funding channels.

Inspiring Examples: Businesses Built on Government Funding

Several successful businesses in Ontario owe their start to government funding. Take Clearbanc, for instance, a Toronto-based tech firm that gained an initial boost through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Their robust business plan focused on an innovative data-driven funding model resonating with the program’s objective of fostering technologically-driven solutions.

Another example is Ecobee, an IoT company specializing in smart thermostats. They received financial backing from the Ontario government through the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund, effectively catapulting their business into the mainstream market.

Government Funding Programs and Business Plans

Ontario hosts numerous funding programs emphasizing a strong business plan in its selection criteria. Programs such as the Ontario Scale-Up Vouchers Program and the Ontario Small Business Support Grant prioritize well-detailed business plans, seeing them as indicators of long-term sustainability and financial viability.

Insights from Government Officials

Government officials regularly underscore the value of a solid business plan in securing funding. A case in point is the remarks by Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, who stated, “Our priority is to support businesses with a clear, feasible plan demonstrating the potential for advancement in their industry.”

Crafting an Effective Business Plan: Do’s and Don’ts

When preparing a business plan for government funding, avoid over-optimistic financial projections and ensure your project is based on accurate market research. Experts recommend focusing on clearly defined business objectives, realistic financial projections, detailed market analysis, and a well-articulated marketing strategy. Additionally, a robust risk mitigation strategy is essential to convince funding entities of your venture’s viability.

Expert Recommendations

According to Jake Jorgovan, a renowned business consultant, “Your business plan should tell a compelling story about your business, explaining who, what, when, where, how, and why.” It’s crucial to articulate your unique value proposition, identify your target market, and provide a clear plan on how your product or service will meet the market needs.

Resources for Crafting Business Plans

Various resources can assist entrepreneurs in crafting compelling business plans. Organizations like the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs offer toolkits and free online courses on business planning. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) also provides an interactive business plan writer on its website.

Revising and Updating Your Business Plan

Once you’ve received feedback from funding entities, it’s critical to revise and update your business plan accordingly. Consider engaging a business advisor to ensure your revised plan aligns with the funder’s feedback and industry best practices.

Starting a small business in Ontario may seem daunting, but with the right resources and a well-crafted business plan, entrepreneurs can leverage government funding to bring their dreams to fruition. As we’ve seen from successful businesses like Clearbanc and Ecobee, government funding can provide the necessary boost to get your business off the ground. With diligent planning and persistence, your small business can be the next big success story.

Different Types of Business Funding in Ontario

The Different Types of Business Funding in Ontario

As a business owner in Ontario, it is important to be aware of the different types of funding that are available to you. Depending on your business needs, there may be a number of different options that can help you get the funding you need. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of some of the most common types of business funding in Ontario.

Government Grants

One option for business funding in Ontario is government grants. Government grants are typically available for businesses that are working on research and development projects, or businesses that are expanding into new markets. To be eligible for a government grant, you will need to submit a proposal that outlines your project and how it will benefit the economy. If your proposal is approved, you will be awarded a grant that can be used to cover expenses related to your project.

To determine which government grants, government loans or tax breaks your small business may be eligible for, it is a good idea to review the Funding Database. It currently has over 1,500 funding programs and options for startups to consider.

Loans and Government Loans

Another option for business funding in Ontario is loans. Loans can be obtained from financial institutions like banks or credit unions or even the government of Ontario and federal government of Canada. The interest rate on loans varies depending on the lender, but it is typically lower than the interest rate on credit cards. When applying for a loan, you will need to provide financial statements and a business plan to the lender. If you are approved for a loan, you will be required to repay the loan over a period of time, with interest.

Venture Capital 

Venture capital is another source of funding that is available to businesses in Ontario. Venture capital firms invest money in businesses that they believe have high potential for growth. If you are able to secure funding from a venture capital firm, you will typically give up a portion of ownership in your company in exchange for the investment. 

There are many different options for business funding in Ontario. The best option for your business will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of money you need, the purpose of the funds, and your ability to repay any debt incurred. Be sure to do your research and speak with a professional before making any decisions about financing your business.

10 ways to qualify for Ontario small business funding

10 ways to qualify for Ontario small business funding

Small businesses are the backbone of the Ontario economy, and qualifying for government funding can give them the boost they need to get started or expand. Here are 10 ways to qualify for Ontario small business funding.

1. Get a business license or permit: You need to have a business license or permit to operate in the province of Ontario. Check with your local city or town hall to see what’s required.

2. Meet health and safety requirements: Your business must meet all provincial health and safety standards. Visit the Ministry of Labour website for more information.

3. Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident: You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to qualify for most government funding programs.

4. Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN): You need a SIN to apply for any government funding program.

5. Register your business: You must register your business with the Ontario Government before you can apply for any funding. You can do this online or in person at a ServiceOntario centre.

6. Have a business plan: Most government funding programs require you to have a business plan. This document will outline your business goals, strategies and financial projections.

Tools such as the Business Plan Builder can be of real help when creating a professional business plan that funding agencies across Ontario and Canada want to see.

7. Be in good standing with the government: Your business must be in good standing with all levels of government to qualify for funding. This includes having no outstanding taxes or debts owed to any level of government.

8. Meet sector-specific requirements: Some funding programs are specific to certain sectors, such as agriculture or tech. Make sure you meet any sector-specific requirements before applying.

9. Have a minimum level of activity: Most government funding programs require you to have a minimum level of activity, such as sales or employees. This helps ensure that the funding is going to businesses that are actively growing and creating jobs.

10. Meet any other eligibility requirements: Each government funding program has its own unique eligibility requirements. Make sure you understand all the requirements before applying.

Applying for government funding can be a complex process, but it’s worth it if you’re able to get the funding your business needs. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to qualifying for Ontario small business funding.

There are hundreds of available government grants, government loans and tax breaks in Ontario and across Canada that your small business may be eligible for. Be sure to review the Funding Database to access all available Ontario funding options.

Government funding is a valuable resource for small businesses in Ontario. In order to qualify, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, which can be daunting. However, by following the tips we’ve provided, you’ll increase your chances of securing the government funding your business needs.

Ontario Government Funding For Franchise

Ontario Government Funding To Buy a Small Business or Franchise

Ontario is a top province in Canada with 15 million residents – no wonder it’s the business capital of Canada.

The Ontario government funnels money into the economy to help boost entrepreneurship and to ensure that Ontario remains the business hub.

With that in mind, the Ontario government has a number of funding programs that help individuals purchase a small business or a franchise.

These funding programs, often categorizing this type of transaction as business acquisition exist to help Ontario residents; and those coming into Ontario with the purchase of a proven business model such as a franchise; or an existing business that already has traction.

Why, you ask?

Well, the Ontario government provides funding back into the province. Having additional businesses helps stimulate the economy by creating jobs. These jobs, result in additional paid taxes, creating a cycle that helps Ontario thrive.

Ontario funding programs to help with business acquisition

The various Ontario government funding programs that can help with the business acquisition will often come in the form of a government loan. While certain government grants exist, for business or franchise purchases, you are mainly looking at a government loan.

These loans can often be far greater than any business loans via banks or private lenders and can have better conditions and terms – to help you as a new potential business owner to succeed.

So, if you are considering buying a franchise, a Mr. Lube Oil Change Franchise let’s say; you may utilize the government options to help you take over this type of business.

If you are considering buying Joe’s Pizza Shop down the street; you may be in luck and potentially be eligible for a government loan to help with the acquisition.

While not everyone is eligible for a government loan, the more you know about the different types of government funding options in Ontario, the better.

The different types of government loans

When applying for a government loan to purchase a business or a franchise in Ontario, the different options may include; standard government loans that come with low interest or no interest. In addition to that, you may be able to take on a guaranteed government loan, or a conditionally repayable loan.

Each of these government loans comes with different advantages.

Low Interest or No Interest Government Loans

When considering buying a new business or if you want to purchase a franchise in Ontario, a government low interest or no interest loan may be the right option for you.

It is there to help simplify the process of acquiring the business by giving you the needed capital. Unlike a traditional bank loan, these Ontario government loans may be more favorable in terms of interest and repayment options.

Guaranteed Government Loans

The guaranteed government loans are a great way to get the needed capital to buy a business in Ontario. No matter if the business is a proven system such as a franchise, or an already operational small business; a guaranteed loan from the Ontario government may have our back.

The Ontario government or the agency that you are approved for would be the co-signer on your loan. This gives you an extra layer of security and protection with the borrowed funds as it means that the agency may be on the hook for a percentage of the loan if things don’t go as planned.

Certain government-guaranteed loans can cover as much as 85% of the borrowed money.

Conditionally Repayable Loans

Another great funding option to consider when buying a business in Ontario. The conditionally repayable loans will help you as a small business borrow the needed money to startup and launch your business – to start collecting the needed cash flow, allowing you time to pay back the needed loan.

The conditions of these loans are often negotiated based on your needs but can range from long terms loans to no repayment until profitable..etc

No matter the type of funding you decide to apply to remember that the key to any successful funding application is to have a solid business plan in place.

If you are buying a franchise, the funding agencies may be more lenient towards your application as they know that the chances of success with a franchise will be greater. Contacting your franchise to obtain a business plan, projected financials may be helpful so you don’t have to do it all.

If however, they don’t provide this to you, using a tool such as the Business Plan Builder may be of help to get the perfect business plan in place to help you apply for funding.

On the other hand, if you are buying an existing business in Ontario, the process may be the same. Obtain the business plan from the seller; or at the very least the financials to help you do your due diligence, but also use it to apply for any government-related funds to help with the acquisition.

Tips to remember:

To help you obtain the needed funds to assist with the business or franchise acquisition, follow the below tips for improved chances of success with the funding but also with your business takeover:

  1. Ensure you are not asking for 100% of the funds.
  2. Don’t assume that the funding agency knows the business or franchise. Have a plan ready.
  3. Remember that many funding agencies can help you after you take over the business as well; with various expenses that are part of operating the business.

If you need assistance in locating funding options via the Ontario government, speak to an Ontario Startups expert to see how much you may be eligible for to help you take over a business or franchise.

Small Business Government Funding Uses

20+ Small Business Funding Uses that the Ontario Government Funds

20+ Small Business Funding Uses that the Ontario Government Funds

If you have ever wanted to start your own small business in Ontario, it is crucial to know that various government funding programs exist that help fund small business owners across Ontario.

These funds, government-provided, come via the various levels of government, including local government offices; the Ontario provincial government, and the federal government of Canada. They all funnel money towards small businesses and entrepreneurship in the province.

Knowing how to take advantage will give you a step up towards success by securing the needed funds for your business.

So; what does the Ontario government cover in terms of small business funding?

While the funding needs vary from business to business, the various agencies that fund Ontario small businesses focus on a number of activities, as they categorize them into 20+ different sections of “acceptable funds use”.

These 20+ different funding uses are not the only ones, but most others will fall into one of the mentioned categories.

20 Small Business Funding Uses that the Ontario Government Funds

Before you can apply for any funding in Ontario; be sure that you have a solid business plan completed. Your business plan should clearly explain your business model, show your business potential, list out the projected financial statements as well, breakdown your funding needs into the below-listed options:

  • Acquisition
  • Business Development
  • Training
  • Consulting Services
  • Financing Services
  • Product Development
  • Job Creation
  • Equipment
  • Trade Shows
  • Exploration
  • Evaluation
  • Business Planning
  • Operating Capital
  • Renovations
  • Expansion Capital
  • Marketing
  • Business Startup
  • Productivity
  • Research
  • Wage Support

Most funding needs that you as a small business owner may have, will fit into one of the above-mentioned funding uses.

Funding Tip:

When you are asking for funding from a government agency, it is always a good idea to break down your funding needs into the specific funding uses that are listed above. The more you can break down your needs, rather than ask for a lump sum, the more options you may be considered for.

As you apply for government funding, the various uses that the Ontario government may fund is crucial to know and understand; not only in your search for funding but in the application process as well.

It is also a good idea to avoid falling for the most common funding mistakes.

Common Government Funding Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Simple mistakes are often the cause of many failed funding applications.

The Ontario government has a number of funding options available to help small business owners. In fact, there are hundreds of funding programs available and they constantly change as well.

The # 1 mistake business owners make when searching for funding is searching for a “too specific”, or “not specific enough” funding need.


I need $10,000 to start my business.

  • While this seems to be a very simple and easy-to-understand approach, a funding agency may look at it and say “no”. Why? Well, since there are many different funding agencies, not all fund the “startup process”. Some fund marketing costs, some equipment purchase, some cover wages of staff and potential employees..etc”; but not all do the same thing.

A better way to approach this type of scenario is to breakdown your funding needs:

I need $10,000 in funding to start my business. With that, the following breakdown will help me accomplish my goals. I need $2,500 to cover training costs; $5,000 to purchase equipment and another $2,500 to pay for some marketing expenses.

The same idea; but broken down, utilizing the funding uses mentioned. This can allow you as a small business owner to apply for 3 potential program options. Options that cover marketing; training costs and equipment purchase.

Another example of a common mistake is asking for funding and being too specific.

I need $5,000 in funding to pay for the ladder on my work van.

If you are to contact any funding agency in Ontario and ask for funding to pay for a ladder on your work van; you will most likely be denied – or explained that there is no funding for that.

They are not wrong. There is no funding for a ladder on a work van – but there is funding for equipment purchase.

The key to a successful funding application and funding search is patience and a choice of words.

Don’t be too specific and don’t be too broad in your request.

If you need help and guidance, asking an expert at Ontario Startups what you may be eligible for is a good idea.

Ontario Small Business Funding

Ontario government funding for small businesses

If you’re planning on starting a small business in Ontario, you are in luck.

The Ontario government provides government funding for small businesses across the province.

These funds considered government-provided are available and are there to help you start up, expand, and to grow your business while boosting the Ontario economy.

The goal of the government funding provided by the provincial-level government and the federal-level government is to create a stronger economy while boosting entrepreneurship and creating jobs.

In other words, you get the government money, use it for your business, succeed and hire staff, and then pay taxes.

It is a circle that keeps the Ontario government working to support all entrepreneurs.

Types of Ontario government funding for small businesses

The Ontario government provides funding to small business owners across the province in various forms of funding.

The most common include government grants, government loans, tax breaks and credits, and other contributions.

While there are other types of government funding available these are the most common and the most approved options for small businesses.

Ontario government funding

A government grant, for example,  is considered one of the best types of government funding that you’re a small business can get.

The different funding programs all have their own benefits to a small business owner.

In most cases, a government grant is free money. Money that you don’t have to repay back after you’ve received it and you can use it towards your various start-up costs and expenses.

A government Grant is also one of the most competitive types of programs to get into.

On the other hand, you have government loans which also vary but are far better than any bank loan.

These government loans can often come with no interest, low interest or have terms that are negotiable.

As a small business starting up obtaining a government loan from the government can help secure your business.

Certain government loans are also guaranteed loans. This means that the government of Ontario acts like a cosigner for your business.

If things were to go south, the government-guaranteed loan can have your back by paying as much as 85% of it for you.

Lastly the tax breaks in the credits.

These are excellent programs, despite often not being considered so due to the fact that you need to spend the money before you apply for a tax credit, but technically they are grants as well.

Tax breaks or tax credits, just like the ones when you do your taxes, can be applied to at the end of the year and you may be refunded an amount to cover certain expenses you had.

Applying for government funding in Ontario can ensure your success. If you need guidance and assistance on finding the most available government funding options consider using the funding database Provided by Ontario Startups.

Who is eligible for government funding in Ontario

All Ontario residents as long as they are starting a business or are looking to expand their business may be eligible to apply to government funding.

Certain factors may cause an issue, so speaking with the business expert or a funding expert and Ontario Startups we’ll ensure that you’re on the right track.

The certain expenses that you may be eligible to have covered by the various government funding programs in Ontario include the below:

  • The initial start up costs
  •  Your marketing budget
  •  Your stuff wages
  •  Training costs
  •  Your inventory and supplies
  •  Your equipment costs
  •  Certain renovation expenses
  •  And much more

If you are unsure which expenses the Ontario government options can fund , contact an Ontario Startups expert. They are there to assist you and to help you find available government funding programs in Ontario.

What is needed to qualify for a government funding program in Ontario

The requirements of applying to government funding in Ontario depend on the program.

Each government funding program in Ontario has its own criteria that you must follow in order to qualify.

Some of the most common criteria include having a strong business plan, being in the right province or location, having a business in the right industry, providing a detailed breakdown of exactly what you need funding for.

By following these few criteria’s you will be setting yourself apart from the rest and will remain on par with what is expected for most government funding agencies.

How much can you get in government funding in Ontario

As a small business starting up in Ontario the costs that you need to have covered will vary. Depending on how you break down your expenses based on what you need funding for you may be eligible for certain amounts from a number of programs.

Some business owners ask for a few $1,000, while others ask for a few $100,000. So, it all depends on the type of business, financials and funding requirements.

The Ontario Government has a number of great programs to help small business owners is succeeding. Take advantage of what is available and work with the funding expert to maximize your potential and to achieve success with your Ontario small business.

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google
Consent to display content from - Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from - Sound