So you’re ready to start a business!! You know your idea. You have a name for your business.

Now, what the heck do you do?

Start by asking yourself the following question: Do I start my business with

A. My own money (saved or borrowed from friends, family)

B. A loan

Which one do you choose? Of course, everyone would rather use someone ELSE’S money – if it was easy.But, of course, it never is.

“If you require a loan, a detailed business plan would have to be developed,” says Robert Kitchen ofEeyou Economic Group, the Cree lending and business support group. “You’ve really got to sit downwith somebody who has knowledge in developing business plans that will be acceptable to financialinstitutions.”

$1 million for Cree businesses next year

In the coming year, Eeyou Economic Group (EEG) wants to invest $1 million in Cree small businesses.”We want to develop about 30 business plans in 1998,” says Kitchen, adding he wishes to work incollaboration with The Cree Youth Council to develop more young entrepreneurs.

Kitchen also says he will try and work closely with the CRA, (the CRA Co-operative Fund Agreement

lends up to 50% in start-up money) and Aboriginal Business Canada (which has $5 million to spendon Aboriginal businesses in Quebec this year).

“By all working together, we can get more projects on their feet,” says Kitchen.

In Chisasibi, Wiitchiiduun recently ran a workshop with eight residents, helping each of them todevelop their own business plans. “The communities could do more to help people in that way,” saysKitchen. “Most of the economic development officers have to spend a lot of time on community businessprojects, so it doesn’t leave them much time to help out small entrepreneurs.”


50% of businesses fail in their first year. And the majority of small businesses do not survive beyond five years. But, don’t dwell on the negative. Did you know that some of the biggest millionaires in the United States started and failed several businesses before they found one that worked.


The number one reason businesses fail is because of lack of proper planning. Your business has thebest chance of success if you plan out every detail before you start.


A professional business plan can be a complicated thing. Some people go to universities and get degrees in this field. Don’t worry. Start by doing your own. A simple one. Then, if you need a loan, get your local economic development group or EEG to help turn your plan into a professional one. (Don’t be Shy. This is their job).

Below we list the basic questions you should answer for any business plan. This can take a while. So do it over a few coffees. Or a few weeks. Or a few months.


1. What is your business? Write it in a few lines.

2. How will your business affect the community? What will it bring people? Why is it good for your town? Why do people need it?

3. What is your location? Are you going to rent commercial space? Buy a used trailer? Build a shack? Build your own expensive building? Do it out of your basement?

4. What equipment do you need? Get some quotes on prices.

5. Describe the product(s) and/or service(s) you will sell.

6. Do you need people to work for you? What will each of them do? Who would be good – reliable and hard working? Do you have a bookkeeper?

7. What will you pay your employees?

8. Do you need suppliers? Go and visit them or call them. Get some prices. Also, how much credit will they give you (30 days? 60days? Will you have to pay cash up front for the first delivery?).

9. What will your prices be? How much do people pay elsewhere? Can you charge a lower price and still make a profit? Or if you charge a higher price what MORE are you giving people for their money? Better service, better product, better selection, more convenient?

10. Estimate how much people buy per month? How much money will come in? Ask as many people as you can in your town. Then assume the worst. Don’t assume everyone will buy from you right away.

11. Now list all your costs? (workers, rent, utilities, supplies, loan, administrative costs etc.)

12. How will you pay for these things?

13. If you don’t have cash coming in for the first few months, what will you do?

14. Do you need or want a partner? Do you share the same views, same objectives, can you communicate well together?

10. If your costs are higher than the money you have – you’ll need a loan. Can you drop your costs? Find cheaper ways to start?

11. Sit down and talk to people who are already in business. They will give you invaluable help.

12. If you can you save and/or borrow enough money to start on your own, then finish this businessplan and JUST DO IT.