Preferred Financial Consulting
Supporting your needs for business advice and management consulting
Does it matter what format I use for my business plan?
No, it does not. Your format should be clear and easy to read. Substance is the clear focus for business plans.
Franchises tend to develop formats that they want used. Typically they deal with certain questions that their operations require. It is fine to use these formats. Keep in mind the purpose of the business plan -- to communicate.
Can I use business plan software?
Many software companies publish business plan software. These plans are good starting points; however the plans tend to require editing. Clients that use business plan software tend to produce plans that look like they were completed by filling in the blanks. Plans that look this way fail to capture the confidence needed to meet your objectives.
Can I just copy someone else’s plan?
In all fairness the answer is yes/no. Feel free to copy anything that fully applies from non-copyrighted plans. The problem/issue with copying a plan is that one might skip important thought processes in describing or justifying a particular segment of you business. We suggest outlining your plan noting key decision points, justification and risk disclosures. Then copy/edit someone else's text as applicable. One source of example plans is in the libraries of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).
How long should they be?
It depends on the audience for the plan. Some situations require a concise 1 page synopsis. Or perhaps a 2-3 page executive summary. Many plans fit the 8-12 page size, while others are books. If financials are included they tend to be at least 10-20 pages. My recommendation is that even though a plan may be for an outside audience, it should always be the actual plan or an excerpt of the actual company plan.
Should I pay a consultant to write a plan for me?
Typically not. You may engage a consultant to interview you and take copious notes. They may play scribe and write the plan with you acting as editor. I suggest this course, only when your plan is significantly developed, but not put in writing. Usually the act of completing a business plan requires you to pre-think through a variety of situations and make decisions in advance. For this reason we suggest you retain significant involvement.
Where should I start?
We suggest that you purchase Business Plan Pro. Use it as an outline. Skip areas that are confusing. Use you staff to write text such as the business history. Compile as much as you can without struggling. Then let us edit it for you, making suggestions and guiding you through tougher areas.
© 2005 Preferred Financial Consulting
FAQ — Business Plans
To contact us:
Preferred Financial Consulting or
Preferred SBA Packaging
8863 Greenback Lane #210
Orangevale, CA 95662