Do you have a business plan? You might be surprised just how many businesses do not. They may have had one in the past but chances are that the business owners have been so busy that they have not written down much of anything. So if you answered “no” quietly and privately to yourself, understand that you are not alone.
Frequently, a business plan is a necessary evil that rears its head only when the business owner is told that they need one because they are trying to get money through something like an SBA guaranteed bank loan or a private investor. The problem is that the business owner is not in the business of writing such documentation. So what does an owner do?
There is the Internet.
There is software.
There is the hired gun.
There are professional business consultants.
The purpose of hiring a professional consultant is to facilitate the writing process, not to knock out a binder full of paper and a PowerPoint presentation. A consultant is going to insist on the participation of everyone involved in the decision making process from owners to managers throughout an organization. A consultant’s job is to help owners think through and understand the concepts and assumptions that underlie a business venture.
A consultant’s role in the production of a business plan also is to teach owners and managers the significance of the business numbers and how those numbers affect profitability of the company, not how to build a spreadsheet. Do not forget that the objective of a business plan is to have a metaphoric owner’s manual that accurately reflects what the business is about. This should be addressed not only to a company’s stakeholders, but to people outside of the company in language that they understand, such as told by Profit and Loss statements and Balance Sheets.
The knowledge an owner derives from the process of building a business plan is empowering. It also reduces the cost of borrowed or invested funds.