Business Plan1 of 1 people found this helpful
There are many companies that will answer you that write business plans and charge.
SCORE will help you write a Business Plan FREE.
There is also software and the library has lots of info.
Good luck, LUCKIEST
I would highly recommend that you do NOT hire someone to write your business plan! The reason is simple: the best business plan is for YOU, not for a bank, lender, friends, family or anyone else. The plan is your way of articulating your vision of your business. Is that something you want to farm out? This is precisely what a business owner needs to do for himself. If you can't articulate your vision, your ideas, or how you expect to make money, you will find yourself working against yourself. As a business owner, I re-write my business plan regularly; because it helps me react to the changes in the industry.
If you hire someone else, your lack of ownership becomes obvious. What you need is a good outline, and then feed to that outline, perhaps. This will give you the idea of what you need, without giving you the words or numbers from someone else.
Be in charge of your business. Write your own business plan. I'd recommend you display it in this order, but write it nearly backwards. Figure out the money first, and the summary of what you said last:
1. Executive Summary
2. The Market
3. The Competitors
4. How I'll do better than them.
5. What I need to succeed.
6. How I expect to get what I need.
7. The worse case scenario
8. My final objective.
9. How I will meet my objectives.
10. Cash flow statements
11. Balance Sheets
12. "What if" scenerios.
My recommendation is that you adjust the above to your situation, but use a similiar format, but write it yourself.
Some good advice David, writing for oneself is great, but sometimes entrepreneurs are experts at something other than business/marketing and need some external support, or have other limitations (e.g., time constraints) that prevent them from developing a good plan. Also while the primary user is the entrepreneur, the vision does need articulation beyond just the business owner and key elements sought after by investors, banks, prospective partners, etc. can easily be omitted.
I like your outline - the outline I use is on HowStuffWorks.com under "marketing plan outline" and The Economist Guide to Business Planning (Friend and Zehle) is the best planning resource I have picked up in over 10 years.
DavidEyerly is correct to some extent. There is a danger of losing creativity and of having your business morph in to something other than originally intended, but that isn't always a bad thing. I always get ideas from others on how my vision might improve, and often someone with more market knowledge is quite valuable in the planning process. I am out of the business planning business, but helped a lot of clients define a lot of the things that David is mentioning (brand associations, competitive positions, SWOT and PEST, financing requirements, etc) that would have been poorly developed if not for an experienced marketer behind the planning process. I recommend a team in southern California that works with companies of all sizes, nationally, called OCCAMTeam (OCCAMTEAM.com). My business is a member of this group, but our role is limited to marketing research functions, not the strategic planning. There are some good strategists in the group with diverse business backgrounds, including the former VP of Stores for UPS (KlearStrat.com).
There is software packages out there that can help you (walk you through the process) of writing a business loan. As stated, you should do this on your own - that way you understand what it will take to make your business a success and that you will know the plan inside and out.
For your research and help - use SCORE or SBDC - they are free to use and can help you get this done.
Business Money Today
I agree with David and others about the need to participate in the creation of the plan. After all, whether you write a business plan to attract investment and/or bring on partners or supporters, you need to be completely conversant about the direction, content and implementation steps neccessary to getting the outcome you want.
My recommendation is to find a professional who can guide you through the process so the quality and content are exactly what you want. Formats and templates are widely available but the design and direction need to come from you. Having someone who has written and executed a sucessful business plan came mean the difference between ending up with a 'plan' vs ending up with a 'successful plan' that you can work with.
Software packages are no more helpful than the plan outlines freely available on the web and answering the host of questions on products/services, management, operations, inventory, marketing, revenue projections, and finances is overwhelming for those foraying into business for the first time. The questions end up having half-developed answers and incomplete or downright underdeveloped business logic.
While SCORE and SBDC and SBA business centers are great for some purposes, the quality of the business plan typically has little to do with the involvement of these awesome resources as they leave most of the heavy lifting, brand/concept development, etc up to the "client." Very few SCORE/SBDC consultants have broad enough experience to handle all the aspects of a solid plan. They tend to have a lot of experience in certain aspects of business for sure, but they don't cover all the bases. As OneCoachSBV says, using these resources is good, the biz owner should be heavily involved, but professional guidance is also key.
This obsession with free free free resources is nauseating. Consultants add substantial value to clients' businesses and that value should be justly compensated, just as the business expert would compensate a restaurant owner for preparing a meal, a mechanic/shop for repairing a vehicle, a developer for a license to use software, and so forth.