This past weekend, we started another cohort of our business planning class, Module 2: Creating a Business Roadmap. Every time I teach this class, I hear a couple of people ask “Can’t I just hire someone to write my business plan for me?”
Writing a business plan is a task that most entrepreneurs dread. It’s overwhelming to step out of your current day-to-day and think about the future of your business. It feels like there are so many unknowns, and it’s all a bunch of guesswork. To some entrepreneurs, writing a business plan brings up memories of writing papers in school and feeling like they are not a skilled writer. As a result, you may be tempted to find a professional to write your business plan.
However, I believe it’s important for you to write your own business plan. That’s not to say that you should write your plan in isolation. It is helpful to ask a mentor or consultant to review your plan and suggest changes. But, the process of putting together your business plan yourself will greatly benefit your business, and here’s why.
Nobody Knows Your Idea Like You Do
A business plan consultant will likely take hours to get to know your idea and express the details of your business. Even then, you might find the descriptions don’t adequately capture all the research and thought you have put into developing your business. In addition, you might find that the plan doesn’t reflect the passion and enthusiasm you have for your business, which is something that only you can convey.
You Learn Through the Process
The process of writing your business plan requires you to take an in-depth look at your idea and business model. You gain clarity by identifying and articulating goals, activities and resources needed to build your business. Through this process, you develop analytical and communications skills to help you run your business.
You’re the One Who Has to Answer the Questions
You need to know your business plan inside out. As the founder of your business, you will be asked the tough questions by potential investors, lenders and other stakeholders who will read your business plan. When someone else writes your plan, you will be less prepared to answer their questions. Even if you’ve thoroughly read the plan someone wrote for you, you’re likely to miss some of the details.
It’s Not a One-Time Task
Business planning is not a one-time task. At an early stage, your business is rapidly evolving, and your business plan may only last a few weeks or months. Your business plan should be a living document that you review and revise as you test your assumptions. If someone else writes your plan, it’s harder for you to update as your business evolves.
The bottom line is that it’s not about the writing and formatting of your business plan, but about the process and thought behind planning your business. If you don’t do the work to understand the business well enough to write the plan, you’ll likely be challenged in running it.