For small to medium businesses, it's possible to write your own business plan for free. For larger business or entrepreneurs with limited time, professional business plans from a consultant or business services firm can cost anywhere from several hundred to many thousands of dollars. Business plans aren't mysterious or difficult to write, but they can be complicated and time consuming depending on your operation.
Business plans are written documents containing all details of your business startup and operational objectives and strategies. Startup and operating costs, sales, marketing advertising and sales strategies, pricing and profit margins, supplier lists, insurance information and other topics are included to give you blueprint of your business.
They are also used for obtaining business loans, securing investors and for other analytical purposes, and may be modified as the business matures to better outline and guide future operations. A business plan is not mandated or required for any business unless requested by an outside entity, and there is no "set format," so you will save money by doing it yourself if time permits.
Business plan providers and business consultants are available for hire to complete your business plan. Some firms charge by the hour, with others charging a flat fee based on the complexity of the plan. Costs vary widely, and are only as good as the information you provide, with better plans including multiple stages of the plan process. The business plan process begins with an analysis and outline, for which some companies will charge hourly rate, or a flat fee of several hundred to several thousand dollars.
The analysis fee is charged for the business plan writer to analyze all of the information you've provided. The resulting outline is a written report given to you that highlights and details the information before it is transferred to the business plan document.
If you are paying an hourly fee, you may save money by providing the company with as much detailed information as possible. Research, phone calls and other information-gathering activities will add to the hourly rate. If you are using your business plan to attract investors, obtain financing, venture capital or grants, a professional business plan company can provide plans with the necessary format and information needed to suit the particular objective.
You will need to collaborate with the consultant on the project and you'll need to provide a lot of information, but the consultant can do the bulk of the writing. The consultant is also able to ask questions and guide your thinking so that you can formulate a comprehensive plan that best meets your needs.
These figures are based on their hourly rate and on any other special services they may include. Although professionals debate the value of one method over another, choosing between a traditional plan or a newer "lean" plan, called a business canvas, will also be a determining factor in your costs.
A full business plan is a longer document that ranges from 30 to pages, depending on the complexity of the project. Obviously, it will cost a great deal more -- in time and money -- to compile a document of this nature. On the other hand, a business canvas is a short snapshot of your company, typically only one page in length.
It is a visual representation of your business, in which key points are summarized and presented. Although creating a business canvas still requires thoughtful consideration, this type of document is often recommended for smaller businesses that do not need to spend their finances on creating lengthy documentation or in seeking out business investors. Templates for this type of plan are available free online.
Elisabeth Natter is a business owner and professional writer. She has done public relations work for several nonprofit organizations and currently creates content for clients of her suburban Philadelphia communications and IT solutions company.
Her writing is often focused on small business issues and best practices for organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Temple University. How to Buy a Franchise: Cost in Time The old adage that "time is money" is certainly true when putting together a business plan. Cost for Software If you choose to write the plan, a variety of software is available to make that an easy task. Business Canvas Although professionals debate the value of one method over another, choosing between a traditional plan or a newer "lean" plan, called a business canvas, will also be a determining factor in your costs.
References Small Business Administration: Write Your Business Plan Entrepreneur: Business Plan Consulting Services Thumbtack:
The cost of a business plan varies greatly depending on what type of plan you need. Some plans may be as simple as an executive summary and a one-page financial worksheet, while others can be well over 50 pages and contain several years of financial projections.
To determine exactly how much your time costs, multiply the value of one hour of your time by the number of hours you invest in developing the plan. If you hire a professional business-plan consultant, the rate will vary from person to person. Thumbtack, an online service that matches consumers with local professionals, quotes the average rate for a business plan consultant to range from $70 to $ per .
You can easily write a business plan on your own. The goal of a business plan is to help you articulate how you will monetize your business, and what steps you will take to do that. A great business plan also lists out how you will achieve each of those steps. Creating a . A professional business plan consultant will generally charge between $3, and $15, for a complete business plan (although there are cases where $50, is justified). The low end applies for “simple” businesses such as a pizza shop, a small retail store, a hairdressing salon, etc.
The cost of a business plan bears a strong relationship to the amount of work that’s necessary to produce the business plan. Many business plan writers use business planning software to help them. They basically ask you a load of questions, plug the answers that you give them into the software and voila –there’s your business plan $1, please. My approach is different. Business plan preparation fees depend on several factors including the complexity of the venture and how much research and writing has already been completed .