What traits and characteristics should you seek for in an experienced business plan consultant if you decide to employ one? What services do you think they should be able to offer? Finally, so what should you set aside for your budget?
How much committed are you to your business?
If you’re just bouncing around an idea or haven’t put much effort into research and preparation, you may not be ready to think about a business plan. If you aren’t committed to your company concept, hiring a consultant at this point is a waste of everyone’s time – and your own money.
From time and money, which one do you prefer the most?
This question may seem ridiculous, but it isn’t. Many enthusiast and skillful entrepreneurs are jobless or underemployed, having a lot of time but little money. In such case, you’ll have to be picky about the amount of consulting help you need. You may just hire a consultant to assist and advise you while you handle the bulk of the writing if you’re an experienced writer. This is a fantastic way to put your hard-earned money to work, and hiring an expert who knows your business will always be a wise investment. Keep in mind that excellent experts are in great demand, and price your services appropriately. Budget for the planning phase and only employ someone excellent when you can afford their rates, rather than hiring someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing and squandering money.
In other case if you are fully occupied and have a lot of money then you might consider of engaging a consultant to guide you through the business planning process and perhaps even draught the whole business plan for you in this situation. You must be engaged throughout the consulting process and understand every aspect of the plan, from the goal statement to the exit strategy, in order to get the most out of the consulting engagement.
Have you ever considered starting your own company?
If that’s the case, you should seriously consider hiring someone to help you develop the idea, study the market and rivals, come up with reasonable financial projections, and investigate some of the risks. In addition, any qualified business plan expert may help you establish your company, find office or retail space, and so on. Most of the time, the consultant will refer you to reputable experts in each sub-specialty (legal, real estate, accountancy, insurance, and so on) or will at the very least lead you in the right direction.
Do you need to borrow money from a bank or other sources to start your business?
You typically only have one shot with investors. If they don’t like what they see the first time, they move on to the next possibility. A knowledgeable consultant can help you increase your chances of getting money for your company as well as your chances of thriving once you have it.
What is your company concept’s market potential, and how much of it do you wish to pursue?
If the market is very large (say, billions of dollars), the risk of making a mistake significantly outweighs the cost of hiring a consultant to ensure you do it right the first time. It’s one of those few occasions when “doing it yourself” isn’t a smart idea. The goal is to find someone who will provide real value to your organization.
If you decide to seek professional help in the end, you’ll need to ask yourself few questions.
What is the expertise you should look for when hiring a professional consultant?
First and foremost, determine whether or not they are genuine professionals. Then keep the following in mind:
- Can you rely on their website?
- Do they have their own system?
- What is their basic motive behind doing this work?
- Do they have satisfied consumers who will refer you to their friends and family?
- Are they well-versed in the operations of your business?
- You may be in luck if you answered “yes” to all of the following questions.
Are you comfortable in the presence of this individual or group?
The most effective configuration is “collaborative.” You’ll have to give and take with your consultant. You should feel comfortable approaching the consultant with questions, and the consultant should be eager to answer them. It won’t function until you do.
You need to believe in this person as well (or group). If you believe they are playing games or are not paying attention, go away.
In the other way, this is also true. Withholding information from the consultant, not returning phone calls, or engaging in any other kind of game is a waste of time and money for everyone involved.
How many people you should include in your business plan?
If you answered “one,” you may not be receiving the best job available. There isn’t a single individual on the planet who succeeds in all areas. In our experience, the greatest results are achieved when one person leads the project and one or two others (with a variety of skill sets) help.
Be wary of large consulting firms that lure you in with the “A Team” just to immediately pass you over to the “B Team.”
How much budget you should set aside to pay a consultant?
A competent business plan consultant would usually charge between $5,000 and $20,000 for a comprehensive company plan (however there are rare cases when $50,000 is justified). The term “low end” refers to “basic” businesses such as a pizza parlor, a tiny retail shop, or a hair salon.
Fees on the upper end of this scale may be anticipated if your company plan involves new or challenging technology, a diverse range of income streams, or a large amount of capital. Many of our clients tell us that their approach is “simple.” When we start looking into the specifics, we find out that things are a bit more complex than we anticipated. A knowledgeable expert will be able to negotiate the difficulties and provide solutions.
What are the strategies to save money without sacrificing quality?
The key is to figure out what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. Then, to fill in the gaps, hire an expert.
Consider the following scenario: you have a strong background in sales and technology, but little marketing and financial expertise. Then you should seek the services of a marketing and financial advisor. Of course, they must be familiar with the industry, but if you can focus on what you do best and let others fill in the gaps, you will save money and have a much better business strategy than if you handled everything yourself.