You need a business plan, but… DON’T BUY A BUSINESS PLAN ONLINE... you're just wasting your money.

 

Here's why:

You need funding for your new idea or expanding your business. The first thing you learn on the Internet is that you need a business plan. Investors and banks will ask for a detailed business plan before even considering giving you money.

However... needing a business plan usually means that you’re in a transition phase. It's a super exciting time. It's also a very busy time. Your brain is in overdrive trying to keep up with the things you need to do… you devote what little time you have to researching ‘how to write a business plan’, ‘business plan sample’, and perhaps ‘business plan template’… and then… you find out that writing a business plan takes a lot of time.

Business Plans Take Time

There are so many questions that need to be answered in order to create a polished business plan. You need to do in-depth research on your industry, competitors, target market and financials.

What are your competitors doing well, and where is there room to capitalize on the market?
Is their price point better or worse than yours?
How will you gain market share? Who is your target customer?
What is the market size for your target customer?
How many products do you need to sell in Year 1 just to break even?
What does your realistic 3 to 5-year forecast look like?
…and on, and on.

The business plan writing process helps you uncover a lot of things that you may not have thought about yet. Download my FREE Business Plan Questions for a full list of questions you need to answer when writing your business plan.


2 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy A Business Plan Online

Reason 1: Writing a Business Plan Helps You Learn About Your Business and Competition.

The process will help you uncover a lot of things that you may not have thought about yet. I touched on this just above... writing your business plan is a process. You need to answer a lot of serious questions about your company. Researching and finding those answers brings many new things to light.

An experienced business plan consultant will walk you through the process. A business plan consultant's job is to do all the time-consuming 'heavy lifting', yet also make sure that you understand your business model as well as your completed business plan. This enables you to focus all your energy on your business during the business plan writing process, yet understand every detail of the business plan once it's finished.

Reason 2: You Only Get One Shot with Investors.

An investor is investing in YOU just as much as your business.The ideas in your head (your branding, your processes, etc.) are what make your business unique. If you are serious about getting funding for your new or growing business, you cannot simply buy a business plan template online because...

“You Make Your Business Unique”

I seem to say this a lot to prospective clients… but I really need you to get it, or you'll waste a lot of time and money. You can’t simply buy a business plan. A client of mine decided to buy a ‘business plan’ online before coming to me. Here is a section that I cut and pasted from the ‘business plan’ they bought online.  I keep putting ‘business plan’ in quotes here just to be sarcastic… this was not a business plan at all.

Why not to buy a business plan online.

A client of mine decided to buy a business plan online before coming to me. This is the business plan they received.

1.1 Executive Summary

With such economic outlook and strong business model, coupled with lifestyle change, the business over collaborative and communication platform are going to be the future in global social arena. In this scenario, a young group of young entrepreneurs have decided to ride over this opportunity. This business plan is prepared to conceptualise the whole idea into a structured document for initiating well-defined business. The business plan is developed to showcase a business opportunity. At the moment, [INSERT BUSINESS NAME] is highly poised to move forward to create big business opportunity with complete visibility in the near to medium term horizon. With the understanding of macro and micro economic environment, the business is to set the mission for its plan which is nothing but a concise version of group’s vision and its philosophy of doing business to create stakeholders value. Once mission is defined, the business plan would set the financial objectives with a clear timeline. The idea is to ensure that business returns are adequate and meets all stakeholders’ expectations in the course of business evolution over time.

Again, this was cut and pasted directly from the ‘business plan’ that my client purchased online before coming to me. The only thing I changed was the [INSERT BUSINESS NAME] in order to really highlight my point.

Disregard the typos and poor grammar…
in 176 words, this ‘Executive Summary’ describes absolutely nothing.

This is boilerplate text (fluff) that allows the 'business plan' seller to simply insert a new business name and send it out the door. There is no mention of the type of business, or even the industry for that matter! They simply changed the business name. AND, they charged for it. AND, the entire ‘business plan’ (16 pages) was equally as vague and fluffy.

Would You Invest Your Money After Reading This?

Does this get you excited to pull out your checkbook and invest?

I don’t want you to learn the hard way like my client did. Simply don’t buy a business plan online. If you present an investor or bank with a vague, wordy business plan template that you purchased online, they will simply show you to the door.

New Idea or a Growing Business?

You have a new business idea, or you want to grow your existing business. Awesome! This is exciting. However, you need funding to launch your idea or expand…

The Internet tells you that you need a business plan to present to investors and banks. TRUE.

One Hat One Hand Business Plan

One Hat One Hand, LLC Business Plan for Business Growth

Now You Need Help Writing a Business Plan.

First things, first…

Business plans take time. Your business plan needs to be as detailed as possible. Investors and banks need to understand your current status and your vision for the future... but it can't be filled with 'hope to' and 'change the world' statements. Everything has to be backed by solid market research, as well as in-depth descriptions of how you plan to make your company a success. This leads me to my next point.

 

You Have to be Part of the Business Plan Process

You cannot present investors and banks with a business plan template that you purchased online. More on that in my article “2 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Business Plan Online”.

You are the driving force behind your business. Thus, you should be an integral part of the business plan writing process. Even if you seek help writing your business plan (from someone like me), you are an integral part of the process because you make your business unique. There will be many questions that only you can answer.

 

Answer All the Relevant Business Plan Questions

Certain questions have to be answered within every business plan. A lot of those answers will come from you.

Answers relating to…

• Your management team
• Ownership structure
• Key features of your products and services

…will have to come from you. These are the straightforward and easy questions to answer, but you hold the answers.

 

Unique Business Aspects Come from You

You will also have to answer questions about:

• The pricing model for your products and services
• Your competitive advantages within your target market
• Sales and marketing strategies

A business plan template cannot answers these types of questions for you. These questions need to be answered thoroughly and honestly. Really try to focus on you and your business. What makes your business unique? The whole point of an investor-ready business plan is to convince an investor or bank that you are worth the risk… ‘risk’ meaning 'giving you their money'.

Download my FREE Business Plan Questions for a full list of questions you need to answer when writing your business plan.

 

Get Feedback and Revise

Angel investors and Venture Capital firms are hard to get a meeting with. AND, you only get one shot!

Once you have answered all the necessary business plan questions, and written a detailed business plan, take your business plan to a local bank or your local SBA office. Get feedback from them. Pay close attention to what the banks and the SBA are looking for. Make revisions to your business plan based directly on their feedback.

If you have the time, help writing a business plan can come from many sources.

 

Hire a Business Plan Consultant If Needed

Not everyone is a writer. You also have many other things occupying your time while you are developing and growing your business. You can hire a business plan writer to compile a neatly formatted and pretty document. BUT, it takes a business plan consultant for real help writing a business plan. A consultant will help you strategize the future of your business and really plan out the right business plan direction to help you secure funding. Here is a Business Plan Consulting - Case Study that I wrote to highlight how a business plan (and an entire business direction) can change during the business plan writing process. Check it out here: Business Plan Consulting - Case Study

 

P.S. Learn More About Developing Your Business Plan

I’ve written a few articles and developed some FREE materials to help you write a business plan that is unique and attractive to investors and banks.

FREE Business Plan Questions
2 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Business Plan Online

Business Plan Questions document

Click to download your free Business Plan Questions document.

So, You Need a Business Plan

You are starting a new business or expanding your existing business. Now you need a business plan so you can get the funding you need to launch and expand.

Answer These Business Plan Questions

Whether you are starting a new business, or writing a business plan for your existing business, this list of Business Plan Questions includes all the questions you will need to answer.

I have been writing business plans for over 10 years, and this list of questions is the first thing I send to all of my new business plan clients. I absolutely promise that if you answer all of these questions, you will have all the content necessary for your business plan. AND, you will be one step closer to getting investor funding or a bank loan.

Be Thorough and Answer Honestly

Answer the questions thoroughly and honestly. If you don’t have answers for some of the questions, it’s completely fine. Use this time for in-depth research and planning. Plan out your business model and hone your business strategy as you answer these questions. It’s better to be honest and say that you are in the ‘idea phase’ or ‘development phase’, rather than talk big without research to back it up… if you’re serious about getting funding, investors will always ask the right questions to find out the truth.

"You only get one chance to make a first impression with investors."

Now Dive into These Business Plan Questions

I hope this document provides you great value on your journey towards business development and growth.

Now, dive into these Business Plan Questions! Good luck, and have fun with it!

These are exciting times!

(more…)

Feasibility Study Cover

Feasibility Study Cover for Ramblin' Adventure Club

Ramblin’ Adventure Club (RAC) Feasibility Study

RAC came to me for my small business consulting services. Their passion was unmatched, but their current business model wasn't profitable at the time.

They wanted me to write a business plan for the company to use as an internal document to guide their direction and growth.

The first action was to assess the company’s status and then do a full-scale feasibility study to determine whether the company should ‘preserve or pivot’ from their current business model.

What is a Feasibility Study?

In business, a feasibility study is an assessment of the practicality of a proposed business direction or revenue stream. This is used to guide a company through the decision making process for the launch of a new business model, or the expansion of an existing business model.

Feasibility Study vs. Business Plan

A feasibility study is meant to determine whether or not a single business model is viable within the market. Whereas a business plan details the company as a whole and its future direction.

When compared side-by-side, an in-depth feasibility study contains most of the same sections that are included within a business plan. However, a feasibility study usually just details one business model or product. The business plan will detail every business model, product and service that the company offers. Thus, a business plan will have more detailed financials because the financial section will encompass the entire business.

Feasibility Study Table of Contents

Feasibility Study Table of Contents

CREATING A FEASIBILITY STUDY -

Step 1: Assess the Current Status

The first step in developing a feasibility study is to assess the current status of the business.

IN this case study RAC had hired me because the company received funding and grew their staff, but the company was not profitable because of their premature growth.

Together we took a look at the current revenue streams and operating expenses… this may seem very basic, but when you’re running the day-to-day operations of a business, simple things like this often get overlooked.

 

Step 2: Decide to Preserve or Pivot? …or Both?

The problem was that RAC had hired multiple new staff members to ‘grow’ the company, but had overlooked the fact that in their current business model the service they offered had a maximum capacity for daily participants…meaning there was a clear ceiling for revenue potential.

Before deciding to preserve or pivot we went through their ‘Best-day Analysis’ and ‘Break-even Analysis’, and we found out that they needed to be operating at capacity every single day just to realize minimal profits.

Best-day Analysis:

Maximum Potential Revenue - Operating Expenses = Maximum Potential Profit
For obvious reasons, you want the Maximum Potential Profit number to be as large as possible.

Break-even Analysis:

Minimum Customers Needed – Operating Expenses = 0
When doing a Break-even analysis, a lower minimum customers/services/products needed is better. This means that you only need X number of customers to break even on your operating expenses… every customer above X will equal profit.

 

In their current business model, RAC’s daily Maximum Potential Profit was just above their daily operating expenses…

We needed to pivot!!!

 

Step 3: Reassess the Company Vision and Brainstorm New Revenue Models

Goals… Hopes… Dreams… What is the Company Vision?

In most cases you can’t simply change a lemonade stand into a fine dining restaurant simply because you would make more money.

RAC was born from the idea that the nature of childhood has changed dramatically for the current generation of kids. American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades. This has taken a mental and physical toll on today’s kids. The ultimate goal of the company was to provide a safe and supportive environment that offered kids a chance to connect with nature, while promoting academic, personal, social and recreational development.

Keeping this in mind, we started to formulate a list of business models and revenue streams that would follow the company’s vision, yet produce more profit. The goal wasn’t to assess the ideas yet, just to get them down on paper.

 

Step 4: Lowest Hanging Fruit… Pick it First

This is the ‘feasibility’ part of the feasibility study.

After formulating a list of possible directions to take the business, it was now time to assess the feasibility of each possibility.

I needed to ask the questions…

What is easiest to execute?
What costs the least money to realize the most profit?

These questions can only be answered through market research, demographics studies, and analysis of the competitive environment. This research will determine the feasibility of each new business model that is proposed.

 

Step 5: Develop a Strategic Plan

In this particular case study, after researching each new business model, we decided to preserve AND pivot. RAC’s original business model was not the problem. The cost of the new staff was the problem. The launch of a new revenue stream using the existing staff was the answer. This allowed the company to preserve the core business model that the company was founded on, and grow the business at the same time.

This feasibility study led me to write a business plan for the company that detailed preserving the current business model, and launching a new business model the would provide the company with exponential growth within their target market.

Pete Kremer Business Plan Writer Logo
This site is not a part of the Facebook website or Facebook Inc. Additionally, This site is NOT endorsed by Facebook in any way. FACEBOOK is a trademark of FACEBOOK, Inc.

©2011 - 2020 Pete Kremer Consulting. All rights reserved.