Every business owner, at some point or another, will require the services of a Business Plan Consultant. They range from fly-by-nights that want to make a quick Rand to reputable entities that write Business Plans for a living.
Everyone knows the saying that there are only two things of which we are certain in life: “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
History tells us that this saying originated more than 220 years ago. American-born Benjamin Franklin was a statesman, scientist, and writer who frequently corresponded with the prominent international figures of his time. In 1789, at 83, Franklin was still corresponding with Jean Baptiste Leroy, a French physicist and writer. Many of Franklin’s personal letters contained simple maxims – the kind found in his Poor Richard’s Almanac – and they prove that his wit and wisdom were not impaired by age.
The Business Plan Consultant and the Advent of the Business Plan
Now, long after his death, I believe it is sensible to add a third aspect of which we can be certain in life… business plans. Whether you are starting a new business and require funding for your business venture or whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur that is seeking capital to grow your business, one thing is certain, any potential investor will require a business plan from you. So, with this realisation that you can’t cheat death, taxes or business plans, the question beckons, “How do you choose a business plan consultant/writer in South Africa?”
When it comes to finding the right business plan consultant, it’s important to do your research. Here are 10 tips to help you choose the right one.
You may need to interview several business plan consultants before deciding who to work with. In Gauteng alone, a handful of reputable business plan consultancies and a considerable number of other firms merely offer a generic/template/software-generated business plan service with no guidance, support, strategic advice or consultation. It is more important to ensure you have positive answers to the following questions at this stage. Deciding on the cheapest business plan consultant may cost you much more in the long run.
Why Do I Need a Business Plan Consultant?
A good business plan consultant has experience working in and working with a broad range of businesses. The accumulated business experience and knowledge of a business plan consultant make the consultant valuable. A good business plan consultant is experienced in several different types of businesses and industries while also having very specific experience in running companies, financing a company and most importantly, in the marketing and sales of a company.
Will the Business Plan Consultant I choose also Write the Plan for Me?
Be wary of companies that promise that they will just “write a business plan for you.” A reputable business plan company will develop a business plan in close consultation with you. Numerous so-called business plan “experts” in South Africa will ask you to provide them with very little information, and then they write the entire business plan for you without meeting or even speaking with you.
This type of process will produce a poor-quality business plan. As a client, you are the expert in your business and should walk side-by-side with the business plan consultant throughout the entire business plan writing process. This consultative process will ensure that they produce a business plan that will be effective and improve your chances of success.
I have Limited Cash Available! How can I Afford the Services of a Business Planning Consultant?
How can you not? Even though sufficient cash may not be available before the start of your company, you cannot make many mistakes before you find yourself quickly out of business. Spending money on the services of a business plan writing company shouldn’t be seen as an expense but rather as a time to invest in your company’s strategic direction and market positioning.
Should I Take a Cautious Approach when Choosing a Business Plan Consultant?
Like any supplier you evaluate, you should ask yourself: “What is important to me”?
The business plan consultant should be with you at the beginning, middle and end of the business plan writing process. While this personal approach may take a bit longer, the extra time spent on your project will make a noticeable difference in your confidence and the quality of your business plan.
And, when you sit down face to face with a potential investor, you will be fully conversant with all aspects of your business plan. When someone tells you, they can complete your business plan in a few days or merely gives you a business plan template suggesting that all you have to do is insert your data where noted, what you are looking at is the proverbial money down the drain.
Be very careful! Some companies operate this way as it is easy to make quick money. Be extremely cautious of “generic” or “template” business plans, whether you find these generic templates in your Google search, in a bookstore, in cheap business plan software or from a business plan consultant. Numerous so-called business plan writers take this approach and charge you next to nothing for such a service. There is no such thing as a generic or template Business Plan.
Make sure that you partner with a reputable business plan company that takes an approach that will ensure that the final product is “your” plan and not a “generic” plan produced by a business plan software program or inexperienced business plan writer.
Will the Business Plan that a Business Plan Consultant Write for me also Guarantee Investment Funding?
In other words, a good business plan consultant has broad and specific business experience and, typically, 15 years or more of accumulated business experience. Having an MBA or CA qualification isn’t enough. The business plan specialist must have solid real-world experience with many types of companies and within various industries to be an effective consultant.
Why is it Important to Use a Business Planning Consultant?
The business plan specialist utilises many different outlooks to develop a business plan focused on your company. The business plan consultant gets the opinions of your colleagues, co-shareholders and management team and uses the experience gained across various markets and industries to write a unique business plan that will address your exact requirements.
Most new entrepreneurs have very specific technical knowledge about their intended business venture, product and/or service. Unfortunately, these entrepreneurs aren’t always fully conversant with aspects about a company’s management, business planning principles, market research, financial projections, sales, marketing, etc.
This is where a business plan company can be of extremely good value as they will be able to partner with you and guide you on these aspects, providing you with useful information and an opportunity to learn new skills and obtain new knowledge.
An Integral Part of Choosing which Business Plan Consultant to Partner with is to Review past Client Testimonials, Professional Recommendations on LinkedIn, and the number of 4- and 5-Star Reviews on Google.
Is it Important to you that the Business Planning Consultant be Local?
With video conferencing (Zoom and MS Teams), and e-mail widely available, there is no reason to limit your search to local business plan consultants. If you have no fear of throwing a wider net in search of the best business plan consultant for you, you can use this technology to connect with individuals you may never meet in person during the process. For example, why not put a Gauteng-based business plan consultant in competition with a Cape Town-based business plan consultant, as long as you are comfortable with virtual collaboration methods (Zoom, telephone, email, etc.)?
Some Extra Insights…
All South African investors and financiers require a sound and feasible business plan for funding approval, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee funding. Every investor will evaluate several criteria when making a business loan or investment decision. They typically consider the validity/viability of the business- and financial model, the entrepreneur’s experience, market potential, solid market research, use of funding, ability to repay the business loan, the entrepreneur’s personal credit history and the collateral available to secure the loan. And needless to say, just like in an interview for a new job, the responsibility remains that of the client to “sell” the business plan and business venture/concept to potential investors.
Many small business owners struggle with the daunting task of planning their business operations. Planning can be a complex and time-consuming process, often requiring input from many departments within a company. That’s where business planning consultants come in!
What is a Business Planning Consultant?
Business planning consultants can help you with various tasks related to starting, growing, and running your own business. These experts can provide invaluable assistance, from creating a business plan to helping you navigate the complex tax system. Consulting Services is a great place to start if you’re looking for help getting started in business or want to make your existing venture more successful. Our team of experienced professionals can help you create a strategy for success, identify potential challenges and opportunities, and recommend the best course of action. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your business.
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The Benefits of Working with a Business Planning Consultant
There are many benefits to working with a business planning consultant. First, a consultant can help you identify and prioritise your business goals. This can help you make smart decisions about where to invest your time and resources. Second, a consultant can provide expert advice on how to grow and manage your business. They can also help you create realistic financial projections and develop effective marketing strategies. Finally, a consultant can support the entire growth process from start to finish. By working with a qualified professional, you can ensure your business is optimised for success.
The Consultation Process
When starting your own business, there are many facets to consider. From the initial planning stages to scaling and expanding your business, a consultation process can help you make the right decisions for your business. Business planning consultants can provide you with insights and advice on a wide range of topics, including taxation, marketing, staff training and development, financial planning and analysis, and much more.
A consultation from a professional can help you avoid common errors and ensure that your business is structured in a way best suited to your goals. If you’re interested in consulting with a business planning consultant, talk to several providers before choosing one. There are many qualified professionals out there who are eager to help you achieve success in your business venture.
Following Up After Your Consultation
When you work with a business planning consultant, you can be confident that they have the experience and expertise to help your business succeed. A business planning consultant can guide all aspects of your business, from strategy to finance. They can also help you create a plan for growth and development and can offer advice on making key decisions.
If you’re interested in working with a business planning consultant, ask about their credentials and experience. You can also look for reviews online to get an idea of what other businesses have experienced. Finally, don’t hesitate to contact the consultant if you have any questions or concerns. A consultation with a business planning consultant can make a big difference in your business’ success.
A business planning consultant can be valuable when starting or growing your business. They can help you create a plan for the long term, identify potential risks and pitfalls, and develop strategies to mitigate them. In addition, they can offer guidance on financial planning, taxation issues, branding and marketing campaigns, and much more. If you are looking for advice on how to grow your business, contact a business planning consultant today!