9 Things to Ask Before You Hire A Business Plan Consultant
Just fill out the short form to the right to learn the key questions to ask a potential consultant that can save you a lot of money and months of valuable time!
In the Report, You’ll Learn:
The key questions to ask about a firm’s or consultant’s background, experience, knowledge, and track record that will quickly tell you if you’re dealing with someone qualified to write a fundable business plan.
What tools and resources are critical in enabling a consultant to do the research needed to validate your business model assumptions to investors.
To ask what additional services, if any, are offered or if the consultant is a “one and done” operator, who will drop a plan in your lap, never to be heard from again.
Taking the few minutes to investigate your potential consultant by asking these critical questions, can save a lot of headaches and aggravation. You want to get your business up and running as soon as possible, and hiring a qualified consultant can accelerate you forward towards your business goals. Fill out the short form to the right, and download this valuable report today!
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So what’s in a professionally crafted business plan? A lot, in fact. What most people don’t realize is that a lot of time, research, skill, knowledge, experience, and ability goes into writing a good business plan.
First, the writer must be intimately familiar with finance. The financial model is the backbone of any good business plan. Understanding how assumptions drive the model and how to validate those assumptions with research and sound logic is the key to attracting investors. And the assumptions feed a full set of financial statements – income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statements, a funding analysis, a valuation, graphics, and monthly, quarterly, and annual detail on everything. This alone is a fairly large undertaking and sadly, its where most people drop the ball in their pursuit of a good business plan. Trying to raise capital without an understanding of financine is like trying to fish without using bait. If you don’t, you need to partner with someone who does.
Next, the writer must be good at doing research – finding information about the market in which they will operate: market size, history, growth, trends, and factors that might impact the market in the future. Then there’s research on the customer – who they are, how many there are, and their demographic and psychographic profile. And last, but certainly not least is a thorough understanding of the competition, whether it be direct competitors or competitors that might serve as a substitute for what you plan to offer. This can be the most time consuming portion of writing a business plan. Doing so effectively require not only a need to find all of this information, but to synthesize it and to distill it into the most pertinent facts that will drive the financial model and validate the assumption.
After research and finance, a keen understanding of business is essential: marketing, operations, human resources, etc. It’s easy to use boilerplate language in these section, but that type of approach is quickly dismissed by investors – if they’ve even taken the time to read this far. Details on your exact marketing plan, your short term and long term milestones, how you will operate the company, and who is or will be on your team are all crucial elements of a good plan.
And lastly, lest we forget, is the ability to actually write, an often overlooked skill for business plan consultants. Writing in an engaging way, in a language that investors appreciate and understand is critical. Many business plans fail because the writers are overly concerned with writing the plan as a sales piece and not to the ultimate intended audience: investors. Remember, you’re not trying to sell your company’s products or services in the plan, you’re trying to sell investors on why they should invest in your business!
So, one of the fundamental questions to ask yourself is: “Do I possess all of these skill sets?” A lot of people attempt to write their own business plans. And the statistics prove out that very few of them (less than one half of one percent) ever get any kind of funding.
The reality is, you’d likely be better served focusing all of your attention on running your business, marketing, dealing with customers, forming joint ventures and alliance, and letting a professional handle your business plan development.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be intimately involved in the process, however. At the end of the day, you have to take “ownership” of your plan and be able to talk the talk in front of investors. But, a professional business plan writer can research, build your model, and write your plan far more effectively that you can in a fraction of the time – freeing you up to run and build your business.
So, now you understand a bit better exactly what goes into a business plan. Perhaps you’re convinced of the need to hire a professional to help you. Just as I wouldn’t recommend trying to build your own home without an intimate knowledge of contracting, I wouldn’t recommend trying to build a plan for much the same reasons – it’s likely to have a lot of leaks and/or fall apart on you!
But the decision to hire a professional business plan consultant is not the end of the road. You have to hire the right consultant. Sadly, there are a lot of people out there in the marketplace masquerading as business plan consultants. In reality, very few are uniquely qualified to prepare a fundable business plan for you.
Here at Blue Horizon Venture Consulting, a large percentage of our clients have come to us after having a bad experience with an unqualified consultant. They’ve spent money and wasted a lot of time dealing with a poor consultant, and we have to help them right the ship.
Doing it right the first time is a wise move indeed. True, you will pay more for a qualified consultant (as you might expect), but in the end, the speed to market, to funding, and success will be rapidly accelerated and your investment well spent.
So scroll back up to the top of the page, and fill in the short form to the right, and we’ll get out your copy of “9 Things to Ask Before You Hire A Business Plan Consultant” right away. We promise not to share your information with anyone, for any reason.