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Business Plan Writing Services: You Get What You Pay For

Date: 05/19/15 By: PlanIt Business Team

Looking for a business plan writing service? Many people tell me that this can be a confusing, time intensive and frustrating task.

But it does not have to be.

Although there is a plethora of key attributes on which to evaluate business plan writing services, at the core of the decision making process should be the simple, yet definitive truth that is applicable to most things in life and very much so in business plan writing services: “You get what you pay for.”

The business plan writing service market is highly fragmented and comprised of large companies, small businesses and freelance individual writers – – it can be grouped into the following main categories:

  1. Free template and sample business plan providers
  2. Paid template and sample business plan providers
  3. Providers of business plan software
  4. Diversified writing services that include business plans among other documents such as college entrance essays, resumes, cover letters, etc.
  5. Hybrid template and customized business plan writing services
  6. Customized business plan writing services
  7. Value added customized business plan writing services

The following table benchmarks each business plan writing service category side by side:

Comparing the Various Business Plan Writing Service Categories
  Free Template Paid Template Software Diversified Hybrid Customized Value Added Customized
Timing Low Low High Med Med High High
Accountability Low Low Low Low Low Med High
Service Level Low Low Low Low Low Med High
Detail Low Low Low Med Med Med High
Specificity Low Low Low Med Med Med High
Flexibility Low Low Low Med Med Med High
Value add Low Low Low Low Low Low High
Future Support Low Low Low Low Low Low High
Price Low Low Low Med Med High High
Effectiveness Low Low Low Med Med Med High

Choosing the right business plan writing service ultimately depends upon one’s expectations with respect to quality and effectiveness as it relates to price for that business plan that you seek.

Templates / Software Business Plan Writing Services

One the cheap side of the spectrum with templates and software, you will receive a rigid, generic and copy / paste type of document – -on the plus side, these are affordable and sometimes available for free – – on the negative side, these are totally ineffective for obtaining funding.

To present a software or template generated business plan to a bank or investor is like ruining your reputation and credibility. There is no template or software in the world that can capture the specificity and nuances of your particular business! And what happens when the funding source comes back to you and asks for a specific analysis or more information? What do you then? You will have to try to do it yourself or end up paying for a customized business plan writing service, thereby spending more money and more time!

Hybrid Business Plan Writing Services

In the middle of the spectrum lies hybrid business plan writing services that market themselves as customized but actually generate the basis of their business plan by copying / pasting from other templates or utilizing software. After a few edits and changes of their own, they produce what they claim to be a 100% customized business plan.

Generally these services price their products in the sub-$1,000 range. This might be the worst option of all as you get neither an affordable option with the templates nor the quality of a truly customized product.

Customized Business Plan Writing Services

Customized business plan writing services will generally charge over $1,000 and most commonly over $2,000 per business plan but they do more work, provide more detail and specificity. They will spend more time with you in conducting due diligence and research.

Generally, customized business plan writing services will start your business plan from scratch but you need to be careful of random copy / paste, especially when it comes to market research – – many times they will drop in a standard industry “wedge” that may not even pertain to your specific business, just to increase the overall page count of the document to make it appear that they have done more work for you than in actuality.

With customized business plan writing services, you do get a live business plan writer working for you, but in this category, you really have to research the experience, credentials, education and background of your writer. Be careful of larger organizations that use a slick sales person on the phone who make promises that the actual writers cannot deliver on. Usually customized business plan writers receive an upfront deposit and then expect final payment due on delivery of the draft. This is all well and good but after they receive their final payment and you have received your document, they really have no more services to provide you with.

Most of these customized writing services are made up of English majors, former journalists, essay writers, etc – – you have to ask yourself what business, start up, entrepreneurial or capital raising experience they have? The likely answer is none! They are simply business plan “writers”, not business plan “doers.”

Value Added Customized Business Plan Writing Services

In the Value Added Customized business plan writing service category you have companies made up of MBAs, entrepreneurs, senior managers from Fortune 500, investment bankers and former venture capital and angel investors – – this leads to deep quality, detail and well-rounded perspective that gets highlighted in the business plan that you pay for.

They are value added because beyond the business plan they can provide valuable business advice, consulting and even link you to the capital funding that you ultimately seek with your business plan.  Value added customized business plan writing services are few and far in between but if you can find one they represent your best chance of getting funded.

Because a Value Added Customized Business Plan Writer has “been there and done that,” they can provide unique insight to your business model, go to market strategy, assist with valuation, advise you on how to structure your company, how to raise capital, provide information on operations, advise you on liquidity or exit strategies, etc.  They have been management consultants, marketers, capital raisers, investors, operators, financial advisors, entrepreneurs, etc – – you can benefit from their prior successes and learn from their past mistakes – you get this reflected in your business plan and through post business plan support.

While they are expensive, they generally do not “nickel and dime” you for edits and updates to your business plan. And you can think of them as your business partners for life.

Conclusion

It is really difficult to get someone to give you money. You need the best business plan that can be written. But you have to pay for it – like all things in life, quality and cost go hand in hand in an inextricably intertwined relationship.

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