A solid, well-crafted business plan is essential to the success of every small business. You’ll be asked to provide a copy of your business plan when meeting with investors, asking for a bank loan or forging partnerships with other businesses in your industry. Unless you’re a skilled writer, you may be tempted to hire someone to create a literary masterpiece that you can pass around proudly.
However, writing your own business plan is the best idea. While there’s nothing wrong with asking a consultant to review it and make suggestions for changes, the process of putting the first draft together yourself is especially beneficial to your new business. Here are a four reasons you shouldn’t pay an expert to create your business plan.
1. Nobody knows your business as you do.
A consultant will probably takes hours to adequately express all of the details of your business. Even then, you may find the descriptions don’t cover everything. By attempting the first draft yourself, you’ll have plenty of time to build it and refine it as you learn more about the challenges you’ll face.
When you create your business plan, your passion for your endeavor will show. This enthusiasm is more likely to capture the attention of investors and partners than a perfectly-worded but objective plan. An expert can correct your grammar and spelling but you should first get the essence of your plan on paper.
2. You will have better command when asked questions.
In one way, someone else writing your business plan is similar to paying someone to write your term paper when you were in school. While it isn’t considered "cheating" like it was when you were a student, you are less prepared to answer in-depth questions about the plan itself. Even if you thoroughly read the plan someone else created for your business, you’ll likely miss fine points that may come up in a meeting.
Just as people who train others retain the information they're teaching more, by taking a personal involvement in creating your business plan you will give yourself a better, more thorough working knowledge of it. When you discuss it, others will have no doubt that you created the plan and stand behind it 100 percent.
3. You’ll think through the process.
The process of creating a business plan requires you to detail your plans, your goals, and the resources you’ll use to build your business. During the process, you’ll take an in-depth look at your idea, outlining each phase of development.
While developing your business plan, there’s a small chance you’ll actually realize your concept can’t work at all as you’ve conceptualized it. Hopefully, if that happens, you’ll be able to work through the things that won’t work and find a way to reach your goals anyway. But even if you can’t, you’ll save yourself a great deal of time and money by making these realizations at the outset.
4. Outsiders can spill secrets.
Your business plan will detail every aspect of your operations. Do you really want to turn all of that information over to a third party? Are you sure you can find a provider you can completely trust? You can require contractors sign a non-disclosure agreement but that’s still no guarantee your idea won’t leak out somehow.
In addition to these risks, you’ll also be responsible for working with a contractor. This means clearly defining deliverables up front and making sure your contractor meets timelines and stays within budget. Be sure you’re prepared to take these challenges on before you choose to hire an expert to help.
Even if you prefer to work with an expert, consider putting in the labor on your first draft yourself. You may ask a business consultant to advise you on the best approach to your particular business plan or have a consultant edit it afterward, but the work behind the first draft should be yours and yours alone. This will give you a hands-on approach to your business plan that will help you and your business in the long run.