Turning Business Savvy into Freelance Profits: Writing Business Plans
Today, you’re a website writer specializing in marketing, articles, or product descriptions. If you’re like many writers for hire, before plunging with a terrified cry into the freelance waters, you did something else for a living.
The army of freelancers across the Internet have resumes that include attorney, doctor, corporate manager, and other experience. Writers with a background in successful entrepreneurial actions, business management, or analytics can turn their experience into additional profits by offering business plan writing services.
Business Plan Writing Requires Certain Skills
Business plan expert and entrepreneur Tim Berry provides fifteen reasons for writing a business plan; half of the top six reasons involve selling the business or idea to a buyer, investor, or financial organization. In that regard, a business plan is similar to web content — the writer must tell a compelling story about the business to engage and persuade the reader to take action.
In addition to standard writing skills, business plan writers must:
- Have knowledge, experience, and understanding of general business principles
- Be familiar with the industry related to the plan
- Have strong project management and organizational skills
- Have advanced research and data analysis skills
- Be able to communication in a variety of methods with the client
Learning About Business Plans
Freelancers who have never written business plans before should educate themselves before seeking clients. Business plans often follow a template, but there isn’t a one-sized-fits-all answer to most small business or entrepreneurial needs. Clients seeking assistance with business plans are likely to want expert-level consulting regarding the creation of the plan as opposed to simple content creation. A great place to start your business plan education is SCORE.org. SCORE offers free templates and online workshops that provide information about creating business plans, identifying market and sales strategies, including financial statements in plans, and conducting market or competitive analysis.
Tips for Working with Clients
Business planning isn’t a service you want to offer if you shy away from in-depth client contact or shun conference calls and Skype. The complexity and importance of a business plan document deserves serious communication, and it’s rare that a client hiring someone to write a business plan will be able to convey in email all of the needs, information, and back story required.
Once you agree to write a business plan for a client, ask for any relevant documentation and set up a conference call a few days after receipt of the information. Attend the conference call armed with questions sparked by your review of the client’s data as well as an idea of the basic business plan outline. Try to get enough details and explanations from the client to write a draft.
As you draft the plan, use a comments feature or color-coded font to ask questions where more detail is required. Send the draft to the client for review. Depending on the nature of the questions, you may need a second or third conference call to reach a final draft. Never expect to create a final draft of a business plan the first time, and always consider the time spent drafting and speaking to the client when estimating price or determining whether you should take the job. Business plan writing can boost your profits, but only if you don’t let poor planning on your part get in the way.
Sarah S, in her pre-freelance life, was a corporate manager. She has experience leading major business projects and brings that knowledge to all types of content creation. Despite Sarah’s ability to deliver excellent business planning and analysis, she still can’t figure out how to get the laundry put away within 24 hours of folding it.