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Planning in precarious times: majority of surveyed entrepreneurs recognize the importance of business planning in an increasingly competitive market

A survey of Canadian small business owners by Ownr - an RBCx venture - uncovers key business planning benefits and pitfalls experienced by entrepreneurs

TORONTO, May 15, 2024 /CNW/ - While creating a business plan may seem like an obvious asset to have when operating a business, it has not always been a top priority for many entrepreneurs, until now. A recent study by Ownr, a premier small business legal management platform, unveils shifting sentiments around the value of business plans to support entrepreneurs' success, key barriers to starting or finishing their plans and differing approaches to their business planning process.


With changing market conditions and competition intensifying for businesses in the past three years, 58.7 per cent of surveyed entrepreneurs in Canada have recognized the role and increased importance of having a business plan. But when it comes time to put pen to paper, 67 per cent of entrepreneurs admit that sections around financial planning and cash flow forecasting are challenging areas to tackle. As a result of this planning roadblock, only 26.8 per cent of surveyed respondents were able to leverage their business plans as an effective tool for financing and funding opportunities. Challenges like these in the business planning process - whether it stems from a lack of knowledge, experience, or resources - often prevent entrepreneurs from completing, or even starting a business plan altogether.


To bridge the gap, Ownr has launched Ownr Blueprint, a free, step-by-step digital business planning tool that is tailored to help aspiring and existing entrepreneurs create a comprehensive business plan that includes sections around financial planning, customer insights, competitive and market analysis, brand and marketing, and operational strategy.

"Our mission has always been to make business ownership both accessible and achievable. Having a solid business plan is a critical factor to entrepreneurial success," says Shane Murphy, CEO of Ownr. "But we also know that the business planning process can feel daunting and tedious, especially for those who have never done it before. Ownr Blueprint was specifically designed in a way that is simple, digitally accessible and educational to help aspiring and existing entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into an actionable business strategy."

Entrepreneurs prefer to 'hit the pavement' before putting 'pen to paper'

The survey revealed a divide in the number of entrepreneurs who had, or felt the need to have, a business plan to get their business off the ground. According to respondents, 54.3 per cent of entrepreneurs started their business without a formal plan, while 45.7 per cent had one in place. For entrepreneurs who launched their venture without a business plan, the most common reasons included not knowing where to start (34.1%), believing their business idea was straightforward enough to execute on (33.5%) and not seeing the need for it as a solopreneur (30.1%).

There are also varying approaches to business planning when it comes to putting pen to paper. Among surveyed entrepreneurs with a business plan, 28.7 per cent used traditional spreadsheets to capture their business plan, while 19.5 per cent relied on intuition and informal methods and only a small number (6.8%) used a planning template

"While every business and preferred planning style is unique, there's a foundational framework to building a clear and compelling business plan, and there are important components that potential investors, partners and financial institutions will look for," says Murphy. "Ownr Blueprint's step-by-step business plan generator helps entrepreneurs think through and capture that information so they can create a business plan that is comprehensive and clearly focused on achieving their objectives."

The business case for a business plan
While creating a business plan requires proactive and dedicated effort on the part of time-strapped entrepreneurs, 77.7 per cent of surveyed entrepreneurs who indicated they had a business plan said it offered them a clearer sense of direction and helped them stay focused on their business priorities. Nearly half of respondents (45.4%) also stated that it gave them more confidence to make informed business decisions.

Among respondents who were more focused on business planning in recent years, 65.6 per cent were motivated by a strong aspiration to attain sustainable, long-term growth and competitiveness in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

As entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of business ownership, Ownr remains committed to empowering them with simple, digitally enabled and effective tools and resources they need to succeed.

For more information about Ownr Blueprint, visit

Survey Methodology
The survey, conducted between April 2, 2024, to April 12, 2024, captures the responses of 922 participants based in Canada via an online questionnaire provided to Ownr's customer database. Every participant identified that they have started their business. The results of this report have an estimated three per cent margin of error.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 94,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada's biggest bank and one of the largest in the world, based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our more than 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 27 other countries. Learn more at

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at

About Ownr
 is on a mission to help make Canadian small business a big deal. With our all-in-one digital platform, everyday entrepreneurs can streamline registration and incorporation, automate paperwork, and maintain ongoing compliance—all without the high legal fees and confusing jargon. Join over 160,000 Canadians who launched their dream business with Ownr.

Ownr is a venture of RBCx, a division of Royal Bank of Canada. For more information, visit

About RBCx
RBCx powers bold ideas, founders, and technology companies. We know building great businesses takes more than just finance, which is why our four pillars – Banking, Capital, Platform, and Ventures – combine to make us the go-to backer of Canadian innovation. We use our deep expertise to support businesses of all sizes and stages, and leverage RBC's extensive experience, networks, and capital to solve tomorrow's big problems.



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