When Do I Need To Hire A Business Plan Consultant

Every new business owner knows that a business plan is critical ? it is drilled into them by potential investors and every banking officer they meet. So why is something that is so important to the launch of a new venture so difficult to write? Good question! In this article I will try to address when you should go out and hire a business plan writer versus taking on the task yourself. First time entrepreneurs often cringe when sitting down to write their business plan. Some spend 6 months agonizing over each period and comma, and even worse others spend 6 months procrastinating and do nothing. So lets break it down and see where / when a business planning company should be brought in:

Who will read your business plan and why?

First you need to really understand the purpose of your business plan and who your audience (reader) will be. This is an important point as a business plan being written for a $100,000 loan is VERY different than a document needed for a $10 million round of venture capital! Since this article is focused on first-time small business owners, I will focus on preparing business plans raising less then $1 million in capital. For this "startup" or "seed" business plan 30-35 pages are perfect. You are not expected to deliver a thick book (and no one will read it anyway!). Once you have this down, you can honestly assess which sections you are qualified / comfortable writing and which may need consulting help.

Here is what you should write on your own

It is important for you to write a basic draft / outline of your business plan. Without this direction you are probably asking too much of your consultant. Once you have your thoughts organized on paper you can see what you are comfortable completing. Here are a few suggestions:

Executive Summary: Draft the opening of your business plan ? then hire a pro to come in and re-write it. Your executive summary will be read first and first impressions are critical!

Marketing: You need to write your own definition of your target customer / audience. For the market research on industry growth and fancy charts go ahead and hire a consultant.

Competitive Analysis: You should put together the first draft of this section, as it is almost as important to understand your competitors, as it is your customers. If you find a consultant that is an expert in your field, then you can work together and add to your initial list.

The Dreaded Financials

This is the most difficult part of a startup business plan, as you are making projections and assumptions on products / services that you have not even produced or sold yet! If you are stuck on this section you can hire a business plan consultant to just assist you with completing your projections (income statement, cash flow, and balance sheet). Figuring out the cost of goods, delivery costs, and return rates can be simplified by breaking them down into a "light" spreadsheet. Next you need to understand your startup and operating costs ? items like electricity, travel, phone expenses, etc. Again just organize these and your consultant can make all the fancy charts and graphs. Just make sure you understand all of the assumptions ? for example if you are opening a retail business, you should not look towards your consultant to "guess" your rent ? go out and meet with a realtor and come back with real data. If you work closely with your consultant, the financials are a great section to bring in professional help.

Managing Expectations

Now that you know a bit more about when to hire a business plan writer you also need to manage your expectations. You can't expect a $1,000 business plan to have 20 pages of competitive analysis and a full-blown marketing strategy! If you carefully work through which sections of your business plan need outside help and then manage your consultant closely, your final document will be a success! My next two articles will focus on "How to Find / Hire a Business Plan Consultant" and more importantly "When to Fire your Business Plan Consultant!"

Howard Schwartz is a partner in several business strategy groups, including HJ Ventures International, Inc. Howard has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs worldwide with a focus on writing business plans for companies interested in raising capital from Venture Funds and Angel Investors. Howard's business plans have secured several million dollars in funding.

For more information: http://www.hjventures.com

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Chancellor Carol Christ unveils 10-year 'strategic plan,' aims to double campus housing
Daily Californian
In the face of a $77 million campus deficit, an ongoing housing crisis and burgeoning student enrollment, Chancellor Carol Christ released an email Wednesday outlining a new strategic vision to guide UC Berkeley over the course of the next decade. The ...


TAPinto.net

Library System Embarking on New Strategic Planning Process for ...
TAPinto.net
BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Library System is ready to embark on a process to improve experiences for its patrons. With the most recent strategic plan having been completed in 2017, the system is preparing to create a new one. “It's time for ...

and more »

Herald & Review

Decatur school leaders: Strategic plan offers hope in face of bleak enrollment forecast
Herald & Review
DECATUR — Despite a bleak forecast provided to the Decatur Board of Education regarding enrollment numbers Tuesday, board members are hopeful that a new strategic plan will help reverse the trend. The board received a progress update on the strategic ...


West Plains Daily Quill

West Plains council adopts strategic plan
West Plains Daily Quill
A five-year plan for the city of West Plains developed by a steering committee of 10 people in March was approved by the city council during its regular meeting held Tuesday. The process for the Strategic Plan for the City of West Plains focused on ...

and more »

WKU News

Strategic Planning Committee open forum May 2
WKU News
WKU's Strategic Planning Committee will host its final open forum from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 2 at the Rick and Ann Guillaume Auditorium, Grise Hall 235. More information about the Strategic Planning process can be found at https://www.wku.edu ...


UGA Small Business Development Center Offers Strategic Planning Workshop
Valdosta State University News
VALDOSTA — The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center at Valdosta State University will present a Strategic Planning Workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. Registration is $69 per person between now and Monday, April 30 ...


St. Lucia News Online

Education Strategic Planning Retreat
St. Lucia News Online
(GIS) – The Ministry of Education recently held a strategic planning retreat aimed at establishing an implementation plan that will ultimately aid in the development of students. The retreat, held at the Royalton Hotel brought together managers and ...


Ontario Argus Observer

Strategic planning
Ontario Argus Observer
ONTARIO — A strategic plan to enhance the community is one step closer after a Wednesday meeting brought groups, businesses and residents together to begin grouping together major themes for the plan. The City of Ontario is serving as facilitator for ...

and more »

Harvard Business Review

Your Strategic Plans Probably Aren't Strategic, or Even Plans
Harvard Business Review
It happens all the time: A group of managers get together at a resort for two days to hammer out a “strategic plan.” Done and dusted, they all head home. But have they produced a plan with a strategy? At the start of my public seminars on strategic ...

and more »

Accounting Today

PCAOB's new board looks for feedback on future strategy
Accounting Today
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, with a slate of five new board members, posted a public survey Tuesday asking for input on its future direction and strategic plan. The PCAOB puts together a strategic plan each year with a five-year ...

Google News

Turning On The Lights

Fun From The StartFor those with the will to start... Read More

Planning For The Slow Season Of Your Business To Increase Sales

Every business experiences slower periods. For some, they sell more... Read More

Business Plan: Planning the Operations

Writing a business plan is no easy task, sure you... Read More

Call in the SWOT Team: Produce More Opportunities to Expand Your Business

Have you ever done a SWOT analysis? No, it's not... Read More

The Accountability/Alignment Process: Three Steps to an Accountable Organization

The Accountability/Alignment Process: Three Steps to an Accountable Organization Generating... Read More

Fail to plan... or Plan to FAIL??

Running a business, whether it be an offline multi-billion dollar... Read More

The Tables Have Turned - Its Officially a Sellers Market

Private equity firms have raised so much capital over the... Read More

Resilience

I. INTRODUCTIONThe term resilience, which is of frequent use in... Read More

Content Management: Wise Investment for Business Prosperity

The time when a website was just a simple set... Read More

Innovate Today for Great Leaps Forward Tomorrow

How often does your company make a quantum leap forward?... Read More

Bounced Checks in Your Business Location Outlets

The new check cashing instant clearing will take some time... Read More

Hunters and Gatherers - Are You Serving Both Their Needs?

The University of Exeter in the United Kingdom recently published... Read More

19 Questions to Supercharge Your Business Plan

Whether you are seeking capital for your company or are... Read More

Abstract thought on Business Strategy and Nature

Here is an abstract thought on studying nature and the... Read More

Strategic Planning Consulting

Strategic planning and consulting is the strategy roadmap to manage... Read More

A Rough Cut on Feasibility

A piano tuner recently moved to Buffalo, NY, and would... Read More

Changing Strategy Without Losing Your Customers - Three Vital Steps to Refining Your Strategy

American Eagle Outfitters and Wet Seal Stores have issued statements... Read More

How To Get More Business During The Winter Months

Business seems to drop, slow or even stop during the... Read More

Will and Vision

Remember Chux? The disposable diaper that took the market by... Read More

What Every Service Provider Ought To Know About Writing A Business Plan

It's easy to lose sight of what needs to be... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Implementation: Pharmaceutical Corporation Specifics ? overview

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains serves mid-size and large clients... Read More

Invalid Excuses for Poor Business Results - Rising costs

Note to Northwest Airlines ? It's not about fuel costsFor... Read More

How Copying the HBO Schedule Can Boost Your Business

I'm not talking about posting the HBO schedule on your... Read More

How To Leverage Your Current Ideas And Products Into Multiple Revenue Streams

Diversify - to make diverse, give variety, to balance, to... Read More

ERP Role in Selling Your Mid-size Business ? Microsoft Great Plains and CRM Example

If you own the mid-size business and actively work in... Read More