“Never call in a consultant to put together your business plan for you. This is a mistake I see new companies make all the time. My advice? Do it yourself…… there is a popular misconception that a plan written by a consultant will be better than the one you write yourself. This is wrong.” stated Olwen Dawe in Sunday’s Business Post.
Millie would have loved that article if she hadn’t been away on holiday and missed it but I will keep it for her. As outlined in our book documenting our experience of writing our business plan and which we hope will help many new start-up businesses, a business plan isn’t just for the bank manager or to raise funding. It certainly is that but a good business plan shouldn’t be put into a drawer to be discovered during a clear out many years later. It should become dogeared and annotated with red pen as important points are underlined and changes are made.
As Dawe states, a good business plan should be a road map for starting and growing your business, not just in theory but also in practice and we agree with this entirely as this has always been our view. Entrepreneurs can be blinkered or biased as they are in love with their business idea, hence qualitative research is important. We devoted a chapter to it in our book and also wrote about it in a blog post as we are so passionate about talking to our customers and ensuring we researched our business properly and continue to do so as we move forward. Qualitative research does sound imposing and rather frightening but by taking it one chunk at a time, it really isn’t that difficult at all.
Writing your own business plan means that you own it, you know every word that is written, you have completed the research and you will know your business plans inside out. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get help – you can consult websites, you can use our book as a resource to help you along that journey, you can contact your local enterprise board or other agencies to see if they will assign you a mentor.
As Dawe says, businesses are organic and change constantly. A good business plan can help you to review operations, strategic goals and sales targets on an ongoing basis, ensuring you can modify your business model according.
Do you agree? Is a good business plan invaluable and something you should write yourself?