There are many companies that offer business plan documentation services for funding purposes, however they are not all equal.
Some companies offer "Cookie-Cutter" business plans, which are essentially templates with your information included. While this may look acceptable to clients; banks and venture capital firms will not pay much attention to business plans that has the same information contained in previous submissions. We highly advise against working with do it yourself templates, or companies that do not provide custom research.
You will also find other companies claiming to offer business plans written by "MBA graduates" or "Ex-Fortune 500 executives", with pricing from $1500-$15,000. Needless to say, be wary of businesses that will charge amounts this high, or claim to be something they are not.
Keep in mind the following:
- Your business plan should take no more than three business days for initial and subsequent drafts. It takes less than 30 minutes to find and purchase recent market and industrial data, and two days to compile a properly structured market and industrial analysis. A CPA can typically complete full pro-forma financials in less than a single business day. These variables alone combine for over 70% of your business plan, so why are some companies quoting weeks on their turnaround?
- You should be allowed unlimited changes, additions, or corrections to your business plan until you are satisfied that the documentation accurately reflects your company's vision and projections.
- Ask for sample business plans this will give you an idea of what your documents will look like.
- Keep an eye out for pro-forma financial data and projections which should be at least 15 pages of your business plan.
- The overall business plan should be no less than 28 pages, and no more than 40 pages. Anything smaller is missing information, anything larger is simply too voluminous and often times wordy for Venture Capital firms, Banks, and the SBA to properly read through.
The first impression of your business idea is derived solely from your documentation. It is vital that your first impression does not become your only impression.