Writing a plan for your business is often a challenging experience, and finding business plan help isn’t very easy either. There are many more employees than there are entrepreneurs in the market place, and very few people with the skill and experience to write entrepreneurial plans which produce results. It’s no wonder people looking to start or grow a business have a tough time finding help in this area.
Don’t fret though – help does exist – you just need to do a little digging to find it. Of course everything depends on your needs and budget, so with those in mind, let’s look at the choices you have…
Enroll in a Entrepreneurial Planning Course
Now some of you may be rolling your eyes at this suggestion because you’d rather have someone else write the plan for you. In my opinion though – and it is a strong opinion – no other option can compare with creating your own plan. Even if you do end up hiring someone else to help you write your plan, consider taking a course in company planning so that you understand and can follow what that person is doing. More importantly, you can challenge them.
Several community colleges offer such courses, and you can find some online as well. I would stick to the college programs though, as they are typically taught by people with real-life experience in planning a business. Plus, you get the benefit of studying the process with classmates, and by taking an accredited course, are “forced” to complete assignments which get reviewed by your instructor. I’m not saying that the online courses aren’t great – some of them are. But if you lack knowledge and experience in company planning, you’ll be much more motivated in a class environment.
Visit your Local SBA Office
If you’re in the USA, you have a great resource in Small Business Administration (SBA). This is a non-profit agency with the aim of providing assistance and guidance to entrepreneurs seeking to start new business. Aside from having useful guides and resources on writing an entrepreneurial plan on the SBA site (sba.gov), you can also seek business plan help from a mentor or counselor through your local SBA office. You’ll find detailed instructions on how to find a mentor or counselor, and if you belong to a minority group or are a female entrepreneur, SBA has several programs specifically designed for minorities.
Beyond the help you’ll get for planning your business, know that SBA is also a great resource for learning about various government loan programs available to small businesses.
If you’re not in the USA (e.g., UK, Canada or Australia), there are similar government agencies and programs designed to encourage small business owners. A little bit of research into these will take you a long way to getting smart about planning your business.
Buy Books on How to Write an Entrepreneurs Plan
OK. This is easy to do, but not as easy as it sounds. Thing is, there are so many books available on the subject, but so many of them give “template” sounding advice. One book I will recommend buying and reading is Bankable Business Plans by Edward G. Rogoff. This is one book I can confidently endorse because the author is no-nonsense about the realities of planning for a company and the truth about getting a small business funded. I’m sure there are other fantastic books out there. If you trust me, I would suggest starting with this one. You’ll get smart real fast.
Hire a Consultant or Writer
If you are clear about your business goals, or at least you are sure you will take charge in establishing them, then hiring a consultant or writer is an option to consider. This option is really recommended if what you need is someone who has the talent to put your thoughts onto paper more elegantly than you could, or someone who can challenge your ideas to get you thinking outside the box.
Having said that, it is a more expensive option, and can be really expensive down the road, not merely because of the fees you pay this person. Many individuals would prefer to “buy” a company plan that someone has written for them. Truth is, no one can really understand your business as intimately as you do, unless they are a part of your organization and play a key role in it.ad
So consider this option only if you have the knowledge to create a plan for your company but actually need business plan help to get your plan organized and written persuasively. And only consider it if you can afford it.
A search on the web for writers or consultants specialized in entrepreneurial plan writing will find you some options. You can also find help on freelance sites like elance.com. Make sure you do your research and selection carefully.