Never Written a Business Plan Before? Read This.
Roughly half of the people that come to me have never hired a business plan writer before – in fact, in many cases never even seen a business plan before. Therefore, I understand how it can be daunting.
Here are the stages of getting the money for your start-up (or growing) business:
STAGE 1: Realize You Need a Business Plan
This is the part where you go to the bank with your business idea and they tell you they need a business plan. Which makes sense - they need to be able to properly judge and understand your business. This is true even for investors who know you know personally.
You brainstorm how to go about it.
STAGE 2: Research Stage
You type e.g. “Toronto business plan writer” into Google and start investigating your best options. You come across various writers and “do it yourself” templates – you also consider writing it all yourself.
(Any of this sound familiar?)
STAGE 3: Decide Whether To Write it Yourself or Not
Know that some people DO write their own plan and successfully get funding. After all, you’ve probably seen plenty of business templates out there which are a fraction of the cost of a professional writer. But self-written plans rarely happen for several reasons:
Lack of time – Most business owners are strapped for time so hire a business plan writer in order to get a quality plan completed with a quick turnaround. This allows them to focus on pertinent areas of their business.
Competition – In recent years it’s become more and more competitive to land small business loans. This means that poorly written plans fall to the bottom of the pile and are often rejected (or ignored). What used to work 20 years ago likely wouldn’t work today.
Lack of skill – Let’s face it, not everyone is a naturally good writer. Even fewer people know how to go about creating professional financial projections, competitive analyses, market research, etc. Business plans require a lot of skill, which most business owners struggle with.
STAGE 4: Select a Writer
If you decide to hire a professional writer, you start reviewing writers and their website. What to look for in a good writer?
A track record of success – this all comes down to competence. How successful have they been in getting funding for clients? Do they have proof/testimonials? Find out how much money they typically write plans for (I recently came across a writer on a freelancing website who said “I even got one client funding!). Don’t assume.
Professionalism – There’s nothing worse than missed deadlines, lack of communication or just plain lazy work. Interview your writer and evaluate their level of professionalism.
Pricing – It’s a red flag when pricing is either too high OR too low. The loan amount size will typically affect the price, where more you ask for the more detailed the plan (and thus higher the cost) you’ll require. On the flipside, if you buy a bargain plan don't be surprised if you end up with a poorly written plan.
STAGE 5: Write and Deliver
If you chose wisely in the previous stage, you’ll have a writer who guides you smoothly through the business plan writing process. A good business plan writer will obtain all the necessary information, but also provide consulting and advice around areas you are unclear about.
We draw from a long history of similar businesses that have been successfully funded, so we can offer advice on cost estimates, competitive advantage, marketing strategies and other key information. This helps not only have a better plan, but also better footing as you launch and grow your business.
The key is that you are an active participant in the business writing process. Your business plan writer isn’t a mind reader, and the more details you can provide the better your plan will be.