Most company owners know that a business plan is a necessity for all firms, large or small. However, questions begin filtering in on how to complete the task. If you write the plan yourself, you need to make sure you have the time set aside to cover all aspects of your business. However, if you choose to hire a consultant to assist, where do you start? The best option will depend on your needs, including finances and qualifications.
How Serious is the Business Venture?
Before you immediately jump into starting a business, you need to evaluate how serious you are about the time involved. Many people have great ideas or a drive to create their own income. However, you need to do your research. Once you have created an idea and a strategy to bring it to fruition, you are ready to look at drafting a business plan.
Time or Money: Which is Top Priority?
The biggest battle you will have with your business is fighting between saving money or saving your time. With creating a business plan, it is very time consuming and a lot of information is required. If you are just beginning, you might have a lot of time to spare to put effort into this. However, you must also consider other aspects of your company that need your time. This may be marketing or developing your service/good. Therefore, if you want to divide your time among multiple facets, hiring a consultant to help you demonstrate the strategy of your firm is a better idea.
Benefits of Drafting a Plan Yourself:
- Conserve finances
- You know your business best
Benefits of Hiring a Consultant:
- Professional writer
- Conserve your time
- Understand what plans require
- Remain focused
Business Venture Knowledge
If you have never owned and operated a company before, hiring a business consultant adds massive benefits to your success. They assist in developing your concept tailored to the current market needs and help you discover unknown risks. While developing your plan, professionals can create more realistic financial goals and guide you through setting up your firm. They have access to resources, such as trusted experts in business development, that factor into your success.
Two other times when professionals are better are:
- When looking to seek funds from investors
- When determining the market potential for your company
Investors demand just the facts, and they scrutinize every aspect of the business they are looking to support. You generally have one shot at impressing them. As far as the market potential, consultants will make sure that you set up your business correctly from the beginning to ensure making it in your target goal.
Hiring a Professional
Once you have decided to hire a professional business plan writer, the task becomes finding the perfect candidate for your needs. The hiring process should be done in the same manner as employing any person with your company. They still represent who you are, but they can also determine the overall success of your firm. Ask the following questions to all applicants:
- What experience do you have?
- What certifications do you have?
- Do you have a website with reviews?
- Is this only a hobby or a full-time business?
- Do you understand my industry?
- Can I speak to previous clients?
After you have received the answers to those questions, you want to make sure you feel comfortable with them. They will be handling personal details regarding your company. A good consultant will present an environment where no question is a dumb question. For a relationship to work, both parties need to be good at communicating and trustworthy. A consultant needs to have honest information to work with, as you need them to give you more realistic data to work with. The worst thing is to get weeks into a business plan and discover it has been a waste of time.
When it comes to creating complex business plans, you will want to have multiple people working on the project. The best strategies are constructed using cloud software and two or three people using different skill sets. You want someone who knows the legal aspect, someone who is financially oriented, and finally, a professional writer to pull it all together. Therefore, the cost expectations should be set high. Expect to spend anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 for a traditional plan for a small business. Large corporations need to budget up to $50,000.
You can save on costs by using your skill sets to lessen the need for a professional. If you have employees experienced in finances or marketing, they can do a part of the job. This will allow a consultant to fill in the gaps or simply oversee the project. They should be able to identify problems and offer solutions to help you along the way, but your firm does much of the work. This is the best of both worlds.
Thankfully, there is now software on the market to assist owners in sorting through information. Analytics play a large part in creating your company’s strategy for success, and consultants can only help with the information given to them. Using the software, you can create a good view of the market you are in and graph your financial projections. Some programs are designed to help you write the business plan yourself, so your business plan advisor only needs to read over your strategy before it is finalized.
Whether you want someone to perform the business plan writing or oversee your project, it is better to allow a professional to assist in some manner. You should be allowed as much control over strategic planning as you want. However, it is important to remember that you should view spending money on a solid foundation as an investment that has the potential to create great rewards.