While knee-deep in the process of starting and growing a business, many entrepreneurs decide to seek outside help to develop their business plan. One should decide to bring in an expert after considering many factors including budget, skill set, and requirements, the audience of their plan, and the level of strategic inputs they need.
Business Plan Writers vs. Business Plan Consultants
When looking for outside help, the main difference an entrepreneur should consider is the difference between “business plan writers” and “business plan consultants“. The difference is the depth or degree with which the engagement can be a consultative relationship, versus essentially a documentation work.
“I needed a business plan yesterday!”
Many businesses are in a significant crowd to get their business plans written and so they are looking for a “quick solution”. And as a result of this need for speed, there are countless options for finishing very affordable documentation services from templates and software with fast turnaround.
While all of these options are quick and inexpensive, traders should be aware that there are significant risks involved in running the business plan development process. And that’s a key point: the value of a business plan is in the process – not just in documents.
Make no mistake: You will need documents to get a bank loan or to attract the attention of a partner in a venture capital firm. But unless you go through a rigorous strategic planning process, you will significantly reduce your chances of success.
A business planning plan involves analyzing your business opportunities in detail, understanding the competitive advantage of your market and your enterprise, developing a strategic marketing plan, and creating a great financial model. If you have the time (and discipline) to follow this process, you dramatically increase both your enthusiastic capital and your chances of achieving operational milestones.
“I need it now”
The job of a consultant is to guide you through the process and ultimately create a document that will impress potential investors, create realistic and achievable milestones, and position you for success. The two main advantages of hiring a consultant are experience and purposefulness.
Based on previous client engagement, an established consultant (or consulting firm) may gain relevant experience to provide helpful advice regarding entrepreneurial opportunities. In addition to simply writing the plan, a consultant provides insights that an entrepreneur would probably not be able to accept otherwise without conducting tons of competition and industry research.
What is the value of a business plan consultant?
Competitive business owners know that in order to stay at the top of their game they must plan for the future and a business plan consultant is the right solution to stay ahead. However, many do not have the time to map out the needs of their organization because they themselves are busy working within the company. Business planning consultants can help small to medium-sized business owners achieve their ambitions. A good business plan consulting firm with realistic solutions and a proven track record helps companies increase profits and create transferable value.
Often the planning process becomes exhausting. Employees are forced to watch branding and training videos, read book-like packets about the company’s mission, and test on materials. However, better business planning consultants will focus on and pursue clear strategies. They can design a short document that will only take 15 minutes to read. Once this is established, team members can simply meet and focus on things that are relevant to your business.
Also, there is a consultant to give third-party legitimacy to your opportunity. The consultant should be strictly questioned about the potential of your business opportunity and the potential that you will be able to raise capital, attract customers and achieve business success. To be sure, this is a rigorous process – but it is better to explore the legitimacy of an opportunity at the beginning than to invest time and money in an impossible planned venture.