I am not a proponent of hiring someone to write a business plan to obtain financing for your business. I used to write business plans for clients and made money doing it. Today, I no longer provide services of a business plan writer. Why? Because it is most often not in the business owners best interest, for example:
Do not delegate your leadership role. It is your business and if you cannot explain your business, goals and strengths to the person writing your plan they will have to use their imagination and then suddenly your business plan becomes a work of fiction.
Listen via the Podcast:
To subscribe click:
You know the business best. No matter how much experience the person helping you has with your business or industry they do not have your knowledge, experience, and your vision.
Ability to answer questions. When it comes time to sit in front of your banker or investor you will be peppered with questions. A lot of weight will be given to your ability to answer their questions because it demonstrates your knowledge of the business and ability to manage it to meet the goals outlined in your business plan.
Being able to articulate, explain, and sell your business plan. You can read and study the business plan written by someone else but you do not have an intimate understanding of inter-relationship between your goals, marketing, and financial statements. There is nothing quite as powerful to absorbing the intricacies of a business plan as writing it personally. If your schedule dictates that you outsource your business plan make sure you are the project manager and the 'senior editor' responsible for the final document that is simply drafted by the business plan writer or professional you hire.
Writing a Business Plan is Requires Effort
Hiring someone to write your business plan should not be viewed as an opportunity to delegate or download a difficult job. As I have said, you need to view your role as a project manager, senior editor, and sales manager. A business plan is a highly structured document designed to sell the financial institution or investor to accept your 'financing proposal'. It is structured to provide them with information in a familiar format so they information they need to make a decision to loan you the money you need to start or expand your business.
Selecting & Screening a Business Plan Writer or Professional (checking qualifications & experience)
Here is a list of questions you can use to screen a business plan writer:
- What qualifies them to write a business plan for your business?
- Do they have direct experience in your industry?
- How many business plans have they written?
- What is their background? Do they consider themselves a business plan writer or a professional?
- Ask for the names and phone numbers of the last three customers.
- How long have they been in business? How long have they been writing business plans?
Types of Business Planning Advisers
Business plan professional is someone who has either the training (CPA etc.), practical experience (retired entrepreneur or other professional), has the financial expertise to create good pro forma financial projections. Their weakness will likely be in the area of marketing and sales. If that is your strength you are in good shape. If not, you will need to find a marketing professional to provide support and expertise to round out your plan.
When you the phrase 'Business Plan Writer' in search engine you will get search results that can range from software, to people selling their writing services. For my money Business Plan Pro is the best software package on the market to help you accelerate the process of transferring your thoughts to paper. Whereas, someone who markets himself or herself as a 'business plan writer' is likely a 'technical writer' that should have a business background. They have strong writing and organizational skills. If they have a weakness it will likely be on the preparation of financial statements. They can do a good job of helping you to extract your knowledge, plans and goals down on paper.
Business Planning Books: consider the author. Is he/she an academic, professional or business owner? What qualifies them to write a book on writing a business plan? Is the book practical? Does it provide you with the background and information you need to understand the importance of each section of the plan or is it filled with generalizations?
Coach or Consultants: this is what I think is the best option because an experienced business plan coach will have the experience, expertise, and coaching skills to help you write your business plan. Use the questions above to screen a coach as you would any other business plan professional.
If you follow these guidelines and work hard you can write a business plan yourself. You will be rewarded with a in-depth knowledge of your business, plan, and the ability to speak of it with confidence.