Building Your Business Plan: Part 7 – Business Environment

9 mins read

This article is written to provide you with the tools required to assist with developing your Business Plan as it relates to understanding your business’s environment and economic projections.

In part 6 of this series, we discussed the importance of a SWOT Analysis within your Competition and Industry. In this part of the series, we are going to dig deeper to understand what your business’s economic environment and conditions are.

Please keep in mind while you are completing the downloadable form found below that you are not restricted by the size of the box that you are able to write in, each box in the template can be readjusted to fit the size you need.

Section 6.0 – Business Environment

Whether you are new to building a business plan or a veteran, one key component to increase the succession rate of your business is to understand the economic conditions and futures of the environment you are planning to operate in. New businesses or entrepreneurs often underestimate the impact that the economic environment can have on businesses, especially in the present volatile market we are living, consuming, and working in.

Perhaps the most crucial thing to remember, is to seek to understand and educate yourself. The world is not your oyster if you sit back and expect others to come to you with information. Seek information out and do not make excuses. Building a business takes dedicated time and effort. Without it, your business risks flopping because you failed to understand how everything works collectively.

Pro Tip: Source out support from external economic consultants or other professionals, and stay abreast on the latest news on market and business by tuning in to network stations tailored to business such as BNN Bloomberg. By sourcing out different methods to retrieve information on business, you will begin to understand and get the information you require, as you are seeking knowledge through external professionals or receiving information through media channels tailored to business, which in the end will set you up for success!

Below are some key questions to critically think about and answer, as it relates to your business’s environment.

A. What do your business’s future environment projections look like?

As you analyze the critical information you obtained about the future economic projections, it is vital that you remain objective and honest with yourself when reviewing the gathered data. There might be instances where you become so attached to the idea of your business that you subconsciously overlook unfavourable data, and an awareness of this might be beneficial to consider while answering previous and future questions found in this series.

Begin asking yourself questions like “What’s changed?”, “What business assumptions have become irrelevant?”, or “How could new models take advantage of the change?”. To give further context to these questions, open your mind to forward thinking expectations in 5 to 7 years, such as automation learning, new urban infrastructure, and scalable niches.1

When looking into future projections, think outside of the box and search for topics such as “Best Future Business Ideas,” and read articles to understand economic systems and business,2 Economic Environment, Supply Curves, Political Environment, Business Culture, Consumer Culture, Economic Security, Regulations & Taxations, and so on. Looking into websites like BDC, Saskatchewan Growth Plan, or Canada Economic Forecasts is a great place to start.

B. What economic conditions will affect your business or plan?

Once you have answered the preceding question, you will have a better indicator relating future business environment projections, which will support you in answering this question. However, you may want to keep digging further to ensure you have as much data as possible.

Some great places to start your research for answering this question is understanding Economic Conditions, Economic Factors, and Canada Economic Forecasts. Another great place to begin your research would be OECD, Saskatchewan Economics Reports, or TD Bank Economic Analysis.

Understanding what the economic conditions are which could affect your business is important to its successes, as you will bring awareness to what they are – so you can plan ahead or decide to change your approach. These websites provide contact information to get in touch with experts, who can support your data findings.

C. What can you expect in the future?

After gathering data and information from the previous questions, you will have a great snapshot to what you can expect in the future, which you can pull from to answer this question. Remember to remain honest with yourself, so you do not risk overlooking critical data which could impact the success of your business.

D. Are there any new developments happening which could create a business opportunity?

A successful business is always looking for new and exciting ways to diversify their products and services, gain financial growth, or other means to stand out from the rest. Using the information you have gathered thus far from this part of the series and the previous sections of the business plan; you will incorporate into answering this question.

You may also want to consider, you guessed it, digging deeper into your research by visiting websites such as Future Skills, Business 2 Community, Fincyte, or Enhance Innovations to get exposed to different trends developing in business that could create business opportunities.

E. Are any of the new developments happening going to impact your business from being a success?

When answering this question, reflect on the information and data you have sourced. You must think about how you will react and respond to different scenarios.

F. Describe the impact of technology, developments, and economic conditions on your business.

Taking everything that you have learned thus far, analyze how quickly these situations could change and impact your business. Answering this question does not necessarily have to be a negative, any of these situations could have a positive impact!

With all the questions you have answered, as they relate to your business, you will have a great indication of what your business’s environment, economic conditions and future projections are. Please stay tuned for part 8 of this series when we discuss Product Sourcing.

Download the Building Your Business Plan: Part 7 – Reference and Guide (zip).

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1 Wessel, Maxwell. “Predict the Future of Your Business.” Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/04/predict-the-future-of-your-business

2 Gitman, Lawrence J., et. al. “Trends in the Business Environment and Competition.” Introduction to Business. https://opentextbc.ca/businessopenstax/chapter/trends-in-the-business-environment-and-competition/

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