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Creating a unique business plan: Setting your business up for success

Northern Credit Union provides essential support for entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario
Kevin Rusnell, President of Peace Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie and Jesse Teresinski, Business Relationship Manager at Northern Credit Union

A solid business plan is something we all know is key to building a growing business.

But what sets some entrepreneurs apart? Jesse Teresinski, Business Relationship Manager at Northern Credit Union and Kevin Rusnell, President of Peace Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie explain how a unique business plan can help your business thrive through the ups and downs of the marketplace.

Characteristics of a Strong Business Plan

Understanding what makes a business plan unique and strong is one of the foundational cornerstones of a thriving business.

As Teresinki explains, a unique business plan encompasses everything from the standard items including local market information, price points, and target demographics to the more thoughtful aspects that sets a business apart.

“Where we find more value within the information is the management pieces that are included. What experience do you have, what training have you done to prepare for the opportunity, how will these things impact the output of the business? This train of thought gives that extra information to put context behind the plan or the numbers that are being projected, it helps paint the picture of how you will get to the end point that you are basing your entire plan on,” he says.

For Rusnell at Peace Restaurant, the uniqueness of his business plan lies in the specific goals of his endeavor: an upscale, Toronto-like atmosphere with a unique menu in Sault Ste. Marie.

“Sault Ste. Marie has so many amazing restaurants that feature different cuisines; some of my favourites include Georgies Shawarma, Ernies, Burger Don, and even some of our traditional Italian places, that are such staples in our community,” says Rusnell. “Considering that many restaurants in Sault Ste. Marie have amazing food and service, what really sets us apart is our focus on creating upscale craft cocktails and shareable dishes. Our menu encourages patrons of Peace to order several dishes and share them together, similar to tapa style dishes. This creates a communal dining experience and allows guests to try several different flavours, rather than filling up on just one entree.”

Utilizing a Business Plan in Day-to-Day Operations

One aspect that sets Peace Restaurant and other successful businesses apart is that they go beyond the basics when preparing and enacting their business plans. While a good plan is essential for securing funding and support, it is also a useful tool that successful entrepreneurs often refer back to often.

“Typically, members that are fully prepared with a business plan that includes more than just projections based on market factors are set up appropriately for success moving forward. There is never a straight line to the success that we put on paper, there are twists and turns along the way,” says Teresinski.

He continues, “Business owners that put the forethought into contingency plans, marketing, training, onboarding employees, scaling the business effectively, etc. have a distinct advantage as they are planning for more than just the success of their venture. Having an understanding of who is making what decisions, what the vision of success is, how to overcome the inevitable bumps in the road, etc. will be a major asset to any business owner looking into a new venture, or who is improving an existing one.”

Forming Strong Partnerships

Working closely with a trusted partner like one of the Business Relationship Managers at Northern Credit Union can really help to strengthen a business at any stage. The collaboration between Teresinki and Rusnell is a perfect example of just that.

“Working with Kevin and the entrepreneurs that he surrounds himself with is great. They work hard to first identify the opportunities and then plan on how they can make an impact with their diverse skillsets. The opportunities that are being presented comes with a financial plan, a contingency plan, and a breakdown of what experience will lead to the desired outcome. For a commercial lender this makes opportunities like working on Peace Restaurant much easier. It paints the picture of what success will look like to him and how he intends to get there,” says Teresinki.

From Rusnell’s perspective, the partnership with Northern Credit Union has been invaluable.

“Northern has been an amazing partner in an industry that is very difficult to get proper financing in. They take the time to approach transactions with a human touch and deal with them in a logical sense rather than just running the numbers through an automated computer system. The business manager met with me personally and continues working with me to launch more businesses,” says Rusnell.

“Currently, we are working with Northern on the launch of another business (Outspoken Brewing), and we are excited that they have come to the table to help us continue to make the downtown a better place.”

“No” Isn’t Always the End

While the partnership between Northern Credit Union and Peace Restaurant may read as a smooth liftoff, not every business experiences success right out of the gate. Teresinki reminds us that learning from rejections along the way may be your path to success.

He says, “There are many factors that go into becoming a successful entrepreneur. For every success story we see, there are so many more attempts and opportunities that just didn’t work for many different reasons. There are often times where you will hear no from many different people involved in the process such as investors, financial institutions for lending, employees, the market, etc. and using that as an opportunity to adjust plans, become more focused, and work through will be a huge asset in the long run. The road to success is never a straight line and is often the opposite of what was expected.”

To learn more about how Northern Credit Union can support your entrepreneurial goals, visit them online, find a branch near you, or call 1-866-413-7071.