Each year, over 630,000 businesses open. Over 29 million small businesses are open within the United States alone. Keeping simple economics in mind comes balance, and with this balance comes thousands of business closures each year.
Creating a distinguished business plan can protect your business from failing and even help startup businesses attract investors. Unfortunately, writing a business plan is easier said than done.
Business plan writers and consultants help prevent first-time and existing business owners from making many errors within their business plan. But, should you hire one over the other?
What Is Your Business Plan For?
Your business plan does what it says on the label: it is a plan for your business.
If you are starting up a business, creating a plan for it is a great place to begin. This gives you the opportunity to get your ideas down on paper and helps you organize and strategize with moving forward in your business.
Having a business plan makes you almost three times more likely to actually start your business.
Business plans are also important if you are looking for people to invest in your business. Most, if not all, investors will want to see your thought process about the many different scenarios your business could face. This means you need a well-written and well-presented business plan.
Unfortunately, knowing where to start can sometimes feel overwhelming.
What Should Your Business Plan Contain?
Your business plan should outline the strategy and system for your business over a set period of time. Typically, this should be at least a few years. Having a plan outlined a few years out shows that you are giving your business room to grow and develop before you revisit your plan.
This outline should include your objectives for your business, which will incorporate practical strategies for how you will achieve these objectives. For example, if you are trying to make a million dollars in sales, you should include the marketing strategy to attract customers to your business and the sales process that you have in place to close them.
Your business plan should be ambitious, but it is not a place for pipe dreams. Back up your strategies using factual information. Financial forecasts can be useful for predicting where a particular market will go.
All businesses contain an element of risk, but be realistic about the risks. Business interruptions and cyber threats currently pose the biggest risks to growing businesses, accounting for 74% of all risk. These risks and threatening scenarios may change with time or depend on your specific market. Potential investors want to see that you have thought about these risks and how to combat them. A SWOT analysis is a great way to assess risk.
Where Do Business Plans Often Go Wrong?
30% of new businesses fail within their first year. Fortunately, having a solid business plan can help prevent this. So, where do business plans often go wrong?
First of all, let’s talk about the presentation. Your business plan is a reflection of you and your business, so you should strive to make it look flawless. Poor writing skills stand out to any professional reading it, while sloppy presentation can expose first-time writers. Writing templates can significantly help with this concern. Your business plan should be uniform and look professional. The formatting will help readers navigate their way through. It also goes without saying that your business plan should be clearly finished.
Then, there’s the numbers game; it’s important to strike a good balance here. You do not want to bombard potential investors with numbers and details. This could make them miss the most important bits of information. On the other hand, if your business plan is too vague, it will feel like you have not thought about it enough or done much research. No one wants to invest in a business founded on guess-work. Working alongside a business plan consultant helps you strike the right balance among these elements.
Business plan writing also goes wrong when you are not honest. Be optimistic but also realistic. All business involves risk and competition, so do not pretend that these do not exist. Engage with them directly. Ignoring risk and competition will make any reader think you are living in a dream world.
Make sure you have actually written a plan about where your business is going in the future. It should not be a resume of where you and your business have already been.
How Do You Bring This Together?
This sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? For a first-time business plan writer, bringing all of these elements together can be a real challenge. Fortunately, help is at hand. There are two types of professionals that can help you write a great business plan:
- Business plan writers
- Business plan consultants
What Does a Business Plan Writer Do?
A business plan writer dedicates their time to professional business writing. They take the information about the plans for your business and format it in a clean and concise manner. The result is a made-to-measure business plan for you and your business. This is a great option, especially if you are strapped for time when starting up a business. It is something you can mark off the to-do list right away.
If you are a first-time business owner, it might feel safer to put your plan in the hands of a professional. However, you might want to consider the pros and cons of choosing a business plan writer. While business plan writers are great for getting a quick business plan put together, services like these often use templates and will not be uniquely tailored to your business. This is why using a business plan consultant may be more powerful. You can get a business plan formulated and put together that is unique, just like your business.
What Does a Business Plan Consultant Do?
A business plan consultant offers you support when writing your business plan. However, you are the one who writes it.
With a business plan consultant, you have someone who can discuss and examine your business plan on a deeper level. Business plan consultants are professionals with extensive experience in writing business plans unique to your business and experience. They provide you with tips and advice on how to approach your business plan and tailor it to your needs. They can also advise you on how to best achieve your business goals.
Your Business Plan Needs to Suit You
The best business plans reflect your exact vision and passion for your business. So, who better to do that than you?
If someone else writes your business plan, you may end up with a much more generic plan. Business plan writers often use the same templates repeatedly, not tailoring to your business. This is not conducive to a business plan that will stand out and impress investors.
Additionally, a lot of people starting their own business have often worked in their chosen industry for a long time, providing great insight into the specifics of why their business will succeed. Again, wouldn’t you rather pour this experience into your business plan yourself?
Someone who has not worked in the industry is never going to be able to understand and communicate your business plan objectives as well as you. Therefore, you are the person who can best judge what should go into it. Make it as engaging, exciting, and relevant as you would like. Don’t risk letting someone else do a mediocre job!
You Need to Think Critically
Creating your business plan is an important step in personally understanding and examining your business, but you can only reap the rewards if you do it yourself. While writing your business plan, you can analyze what it is you are hoping to achieve. Your goals and objectives may change over the course of writing your business plan.
Writing your own business plan can expose flaws in your thinking, or it might enhance brilliant ideas! Either of these will be valuable to your business. Startup strategies are constantly evolving to fit the business landscape, offering exciting opportunities for anyone establishing their own business. If someone else writes your business plan, you could miss out.
Detail Is Key
Any effective business plan needs figures to back it up, which can help you make certain projections about where your business could lead and tell investors where you have been already.
For a business plan writer to do a good job, they will need you to provide them with a significant amount of information. This could result in a back-and-forth dialogue, not saving you that much time. In fact, it would be quicker to write it yourself, instead. You can then have a productive discussion about what you have written with a business plan consultant, rather than producing long email chains of date and figure checking.
Business Plan Consultants Offer Different Services
Business plan consultants help clients create an individualized plan that works for them. Within this, there are different options for consulting to suit different clients.
For example, one might want to focus on the drafting process, where the client will write the first draft of their business plan, then a business plan consultant will review it and send feedback. You will have a certain number of opportunities to edit or revise your business plan, although most business plan consultants will let you reserve more feedback sessions, if you choose to do so. This simple style of service helps if you already have an idea of where you would like to go in your business plan.
Another service might focus on creating a new business plan from scratch. This service might offer templates or sample business plans to read. This is particularly helpful if you are new to business plan writing, or if you are looking to create a totally new and unique business plan. In this approach, business plan consultants work with you along the way. This may mean it takes slightly longer to write your business plan, but you will have fewer revisions to incorporate once it is written.
You can consult an expert while thinking critically about your business. A professional ear can help, when deciding the direction you want your business to take.
Working With a Business Plan Consultant Now Might Help You in the Future
Your business plan should cover several years of objectives and strategies. When this business plan has expired and those years have passed, you will need to revise it or create a new one.
You may also need to adapt your business plan before the business plan expires. The business landscape changes regularly, thus a business needs to be flexible to survive. Having a helping hand along the way might also help you when flexibility is needed. Working with a business plan consultant will give you great tips for any future business plans that you want to work on and can also be used to revise your current business plan.
Creating your business plan with a business plan consultant means you can discuss potential hurdles and use them to help you find resolutions, saving you money in the long run! You do not want to pay someone to write your business plan only to find out it fails after one year. Then, you will be back at square one without a business plan, and you won’t be any the wiser about how to write one yourself.
The Bottom Line
Your business plan gives you a clear direction of your business, which is key to your business’s success. If you are doing this for the first time, you might want help with your business plan writing. Rather than outsourcing the job, consider working with a business plan consultant, instead. This can help you create a business plan that is personally tailored to your business’s needs.
For performance-based business consulting, contact The Business Turnaround Group.