I’ve generally been a believer in writing your own business plan, no matter who you are or how much business background you have, because your plan needs to be specific to your business and your reality anyway, so using somebody else to write it just gets between you and the content.
Still, I also recognize that some people want help. You might be one of those. You know your business or you know what you want to do, but you also want to have somebody else with more experience or more background in business skills and planning create the plan itself. I get that: I don’t like to do my own graphics or my own programming, for example, so I hire somebody else.
The problem is that the outside business plan writer concept runs dangerously close to thinking of the plan as if it were a document, a one-time hurdle; in theory, you get over that hurdle and then you’re fine. That might be true with developing a logo, choosing a location, or releasing a product, but it just isn’t true with your planning.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: the plan is useless, but planning is essential. Having a plan does you very little business good unless you use it, review it, revise it, and manage with it. Sure, maybe it gets you over a specific hurdle (your banker wants it, for example), but it doesn’t help you start, run, or grow your business.
So I’ve come to really like the idea of business plan coaching as a workable compromise, perhaps even an ideal compromise, between the lure of having somebody else provide the knowledge and experience, and the real value of doing the plan yourself. That’s the right kind of business plan coaching, where you do that plan yourself, AND you have somebody to help you along the way.
I’m happy to say (maybe I should use the word “announce”) that I’m now working with a team of professional business plan coaches to help people with developing their business plans. The site for that is bplanscoaching.com; they’re using my approach to it, and I’ve had a chance to develop the methodology, and train the people. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, so I’m happy to have it now a reality.