If you are just starting a company and looking for funding, or looking for additional funding for growth, you will need to develop a traditional business plan. Creating a business plan is a business hurdle that entrepreneurs seem to dread. Do you do it yourself? Do you hire someone to do it? How do you get it done quickly, but without spending too much money on it? Will what you do yourself be adequate to get funding?
In this article I will discuss the pros and cons of do-it-yourself business planning versus having a business planning consultant do it for you or with you.
The Do It Yourself Business Plan
Particularly if you are seeking capital of less than $200,000, consider creating the plan yourself after taking a class or reading some books or getting some coaching for someone who has written successful business plans.
Consider taking a three-hour business planning class through SCORE or the local Small Business Development Center. Even if you decide afterwards not to write your own plan, you will have a much better idea of what you want out of the process and what to expect.
There are some good reasons for an entrepreneur to do the business plan:
- First of all, because you can. If you've read sample business plans and find their accounting jargon intimidating, you are not alone. But as long as you can clearly get your message across and have other people such as you accountant look at the plan before it goes to lenders or others, you can do this work yourself.
- It is in learning the business planning process that you develop analytical thinking skills necessary to run your business with an intimate understanding of your own business model. Going through the planning process is an invaluable business experience.
- You need to know the plan inside and out and really understand the variables involved. You are the one who will be asked the tough questions by potential investors or lenders, such as "What will you do if only half your expected revenue comes in?" or "What will you do if you find out that direct mail is not working for you as your primary marketing tool?"