Taking on the services of a business plan writer isn’t as straightforward an outsourcing approach as, say, learning how to hire a copywriter. Often, the product of a business writer ends up being used as the guiding plan for a new business or the documentation to support a financing request, either from a small business loan provider or an investor. So quality, skill, background, and technical knowledge of the writer matters greatly.
Do I Need a Business Plan Writer or an Editor?
A business plan provides the road map for a company and how it will perform over the next five or ten years. The document defines the current status as well as the goals the business will try to achieve, both operationally and financially. As a result, for the business owner, the document is a very personal matter. A business plan writer can easily provide an objective look at the company, highlighting areas someone close to the company may miss, but the writer won’t be able to read the business owner’s mind. The owner needs to decide first what he wants more, a writer to create a plan or an editor to refine the business plan once the owner has written a draft.
Hire Depth and Experience, Not Cost
A good business plan writer is also an experienced analyst in a given industry, not the cheapest one. He understands what the industry demands of players, big and small, and can ask the right, objective questions in the plan drafting that the business needs to answer. Simply writing how nice the business is doesn’t create a plan; that’s a marketing brochure. A business plan with detail will map out where the business is now, both in strengths and weaknesses, and will define what’s needed to get to the future. This includes operational changes as well as detailed financial changes. The “nuts and bolts” level of writing is what a business owner should look for in a writer, both with prior samples of work and clear knowledge of the industry.
Anticipate Updates and Revisions
Business plans often involve a snapshot of time and expectations. As a result, their basis can change over time or new versions are needed for different audiences. For example, an internal business plan can be very different from a plan to deliver to a loan officer or investor. Hiring a writer should include an understanding that revisions and updates will be needed down the road. This may cost a bit more, or it can be charged as needed, but the agreement should be in place ahead of time so there’s no confusion later on.
Hiring the right business plan writer means hiring someone who can write well but also understands what needs to be included in strategic planning for a company, big or small. General writing won’t be able to serve this need. The writer needs to have a firm grip on basic business principles as well as the company’s data and expectations for its own growth. An owner can alternatively use a writer instead as an editor, but that writer should still be asking the hard questions to complete an objective plan.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.