Small-business owners can improve the long-term success of their ventures by preparing a detailed, and thoroughly researched, business plan, but for many owners, the process can prove daunting.
However, with the help of a new online service, entrepreneurs can take the guesswork out of creating a sound business plan, a document that can help them solicit personnel and secure financing.
At BudgetBusinessPlans.com, entrepreneurs can read reviews of business-plan-software and -writing services, view samples of completed business plans, and read articles offering advice for entrepreneurs who want to write their own business plans. The Web site, says Jason Kay, both owner and founder, initially started as a review site for business-plan software and services.
“I soon found that a lot of the site’s visitors were do-it-yourselfers looking for more information, so I added the articles and sample business-plans sections,” he says.
The articles range in topics from why business plans are important and business-plan mistakes to how to prepare a business plan that guarantees big profits. A good business plan includes 10 basic sections: executive summary; product or service; market; marketing strategy; competition; operations; management team; personnel; financials; and supporting documentation.
Small-business owners can use the samples as a foundation for writing their own business plans. The samples give examples of how a business plan should look and the level of detail that should be included.
The site also lists the names of six top-rated business-plan-writing services, along with their lowest cost, a review of each firm and average customer ratings. A separate page is dedicated solely to reviews of business-plan-writing software.
Because the business plan will help determine the success of your company, it’s imperative, Kay says, to be discriminating when selecting a writing-service firm. He warns potential clients to be wary of success rates a firm claims. The number can be misleading, he explains. What’s more important, he stresses, is reviewing a list of former clients and contacting references to help you decide whether a particular firm is right for you.
Kay suggests that clients think twice before working with a firm that charges the same flat rate to every customer. “Then you can expect that they give everyone the same amount of attention, which isn’t always a good thing. Since writing a business plan requires some legwork on their end,” he says on the Web site, the firm’s price should reflect “variables like market size, concept complexity, financial-model complexity, and much more.”
Kay also says that there should be constant communication between the client and the firm, so if a business-plan-writing service talks to you only once before beginning work on your document, walk away. “Take the success rate for what it really is; don’t settle for cookie-cutter business plans; and make sure that you can stay involved during the writing process,” Kay recommends, “if only as a source of information and idea refinement.”
Whether you’re paying someone to do it or are tackling the task on your own, no serious entrepreneur should go forward without this document, he says.
“Many companies fail because the owner didn’t think things through before opening their doors,” Kay says. “I can’t help but wonder how many people fail to write a business plan simply because it seems so scary.”
For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.BudgetBusinessPlans.com.