Should you have your business plan analyzed by professionals?
Let’s define who the professionals are. Professional business plan writers, investment bankers, angel investors, serial entrepreneurs and fellow business owners are all good candidates to review your plan. Before you put your precious business plan out there, remember that you can’t really take it back. The first impression has already been made, and it can’t be changed. A professional can tell you if your plan is what an investor is looking for. Does it have enough facts on the industry and the market you are in? Does it show the competitive advantage of your product or service? Does it give hope for an investor to achieve his investment goal?
Let’s define who the professionals are. Professional business plan writers, investment bankers, angel investors, serial entrepreneurs and fellow business owners are all good candidates to review your plan.
USE SIMPLE TERMS AND PLAIN ENGLISH. Have you ever heard two professionals talk about their job using terms that you’ve never heard before? They keep going on about whatchamajiggers or whose-a-ma-whatsits. It can sound like a foreign language, but somehow it makes sense to them. The same goes for your business plan. You need to connect with investors. Get your vision across effectively. Communicate in common terms. We’re not saying that you have to dumb down your business plan, but you need to keep it clean and simple, without the need for translation. A professional can let you know whether your plan is too technical.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS ARE IMPORTANT, TOO. A popular plan section is the sales and marketing strategy. There’s a tendency for new business owners, like you, to write all about who wants to buy your product or service and how you’re going to get through to the customers. It’s wonderful for an investor to learn that you’ve researched brand positioning, created an ad campaign and spent money on developing your image. Investors also want to know that you understand how to build the proper infrastructure needed for a successful company. Investors want to feel comfortable that you’ll be able to deliver product on time when you get the major customers that you’re looking for.
FOCUS ON GROWTH STRATEGY, NOT JUST YOUR PRODUCT. Many plans spend far too much time discussing the product. Your product or service is important – you’ve got to have something creative and exciting or at least a new twist on something that’s already out there. However, your plan is supposed to be about the whole business. Make sure that your plan is well-rounded. The major components of a business plan are the following: product, customers, market, industry, sales and marketing strategy, growth strategy, competition, operations, financials, and, of course, the people – everyone from staff to management team to key advisors. A professional can provide you feedback on addressing each of the various components.
TALK TO A LIKE-MINDED BUSINESS OWNER. If you are considering a professional in your field that has successfully launched their own business, it might be helpful to get their input, but this might not be your best bet. If they are honest about what worked for them and what didn’t, then their advice might be really helpful. You’ll need to keep in mind that times may have changed with the latest economic downturn and that every business is different. A clothing designer that sells to Macy’s and other large department stores operates very differently from a clothing designer that sells exclusive high-fashion designs in a showroom in LA’s Fashion District.
GET INPUT FROM AN INVESTMENT BANKER. If you’re raising funds to start or grow your business, then it’s best to get feedback from an investment banker or seasoned industry expert with experience in acquiring funding.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS PLAN WRITER. If you are floundering with your business plan, consider using the expertise of professional business consultants to make it happen for you. Don’t waste any more time. Someone else may come up with the same innovative product or unique service idea before too long. You may lose out simply because you didn’t get in the race on time. Choose your business planner wisely. Make sure they know how to effectively get your point across. Take a look at their work. Check into their successes. You might even call some angel investor groups to see who they recommend.
Above all, remember that your business plan’s success will ride on its presentation and its merit, to be a success. This is not the time for mediocrity. It’s the time for your company to shine. Give your business plan the best possible chances.