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If you decide to hire a professional business plan development consultant, what skills and qualifications should you look for? This sounds like a silly question, but it really isn’t.Many entrepreneurs are unemployed or underemployed, and have lots of time but very little money.
If the market is very large (say billions of dollars), and you want to grow the business to a sizeable percentage of this, then the risk of not getting things right from the beginning far outweighs the small cost of hiring a consultant to make sure you get it right.
This is the one case where it never makes sense to “do it yourself”.
This is a case where you need one executive chef, but too many cooks spoil the broth.
A professional business plan consultant will generally charge between $3,000 and $15,000 for a complete business plan (although there are cases where $50,000 is justified).
Often I find clients come to me claiming their plan is “simple”.
Once we start digging into the details, we find things are a little more complicated than they thought.A professional consultant can increase your chances of getting funding for your business, and your likelihood of succeeding once you get funded.The key here is to make sure the plan is based on reality, not fantasy.It is far better to budget for the planning phase and only hire someone good when you can pay their fees, rather than hire someone who doesn’t know what they are doing and waste your money.On the other hand, if you are fully employed, or have significant funds, you may be in the enviable situation of having more money than time.You’ve decided you need a business plan, but you’ve been struggling so much with it that you’re ready to drop the whole thing. If you are just toying with an idea, or have not invested much time in research and planning, you may not be ready to think about a business plan.Now may be the time to ask yourself: should I complete the plan by myself or should I hire a consultant? If you aren’t committed to your business idea, you will just be wasting everyone’s time — and your own money — by hiring a consultant at this stage.This is an area fraught with peril because you generally get only one shot when it comes to investors.If they don’t like what they see the first time, they usually move on to the next opportunity.The key, however, is to hire someone who really adds value.If you decide you need some professional help, then you need to consider a different set of questions.