Writing a business plan might seem a bit daunting, or something outside your skill level. For a lot of small business owners, a business plan will be something you never even thought about. So it could be a good idea to spend some cash and get a professional to help you out.
The cost of a business can vary depending on what type of plan you need, and the size of your business. Basic plans could include something as simple as an executive summary and one-page financial plan, whereas others can be well over 30 pages and contain years of financial projections and innovative contingency plans.
You can write a business plan yourself and save some cash, but if you are looking to apply for any loans or investments such as SEIS/EIS schemes it might be worth hiring an expert to help you. Business plan writers can charge from £500 all the way up to £5,000, depending on the depth of financial analysis and detail needed, and the level of engagement your consultant offers.
Business plan costs in the UK are slightly higher than services found in the U.S. with companies charging 15-30% more. This is possibly down to the extra qualifications needed in the UK to become a qualified business or financial advisor. No matter where you are in the world, it would be best to seek out a dedicated professional business plan writer who has a long-standing reputation for great service.
Factors that Determine the Cost of your Business Plan
We’ve already mentioned that where you are in the world will affect how much it will cost you to get a professional to write your business plan. But it can be a bit more complicated than that. The breakdown of services that increase the price of a business plan writer are down below:
- Business Objectives: How many business objectives do you want to achieve/include in your plan? More business objective means more detail and analysis.
- Scope & Scale: How are going to grow your business, and how fast. Determining the growth of your business will take financial planning. Defining the scope of your business and how long it will take to achieve that level of growth can be difficult.
- The Industry of your Business: Unfortunately, some business sectors are more complicated than others. For instance, it will be easier to define the scope of a small cafe that is looking to open a second location. It is much more difficult to define the scope of a manufacturing company looking for funding to buy machinery.
- Complexity of your Strategy: Marketing strategies need to be outlined to inform the reader how you plan to earn income. Again, this depends on what your objectives are. If it is clear how you will earn income from customers, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about here.
- Financial Projections: If you don’t have experience producing financial statements, you will need to consult a professional, even if it is only for this section. Going back in time to describe the prior growth of your business is easy. Going into the future, outlining how you will use future income/funding to grow the business further is where it gets expensive. This is because you need to provide extensive information about the use of funds, as well as multiple options and outcomes taking into account unforeseen circumstances.
- The Bid for Funding: You need to provide evidence of needing funds, your plan to use it, and your plan to pay it back. It is very hard for you as the business owner to be objective when asking for money, so you will need to get a third party opinion to review your proposal. Just to make sure your business can afford to take the loans.
The above sections of a business plan are not the only things you’ll need. Most of the time, firms will offer a flat fee to produce an outline for a business plan, then an hourly charge will be applied for any extra work that needs to be completed. For example, my time at the firm I work for is billed out at £100+VAT per hour for this type of work.
When Should you Bring in a Professional?
If you’re just toying around with the idea of a business plan or are not sure how it will improve your company’s activity, then it’s probably not a good idea to pour loads of time and money into it. A business plan is a big commitment, and if you aren’t ready to stick to a strict program or strategy, this isn’t the best time for you to create a formal business plan.
You might be better off just compiling a simple business plan you can do yourself.
It is usually clear when to bring in a professional with this sort of task. Either your knowledge will run out, or your time will. You can’t just waffle in a business plan, because people will hold you accountable for your statements, and if you don’t have the time to properly research how to complete a business plan, it could be worth spending the money upfront.
My recommendation is to produce a rough outline of what your business plan should look like, you can check here for a template. Then it’s time to gather a few quotes from local firms to find out what it will cost you to get your template completed.
If you are applying for any sort of credit or investment, I would recommend getting a reputable firm on-board before you even put pen to paper. Again, you don’t want to waste time writing something that won’t get used, and the pro’s will know exactly what to include for your specific credit needs.
Getting a Business Plan from Brainhive
I’ve got some prices from our friends over at Brainhive and we will look at what you can get for your money, and if it’s worth it.
Along with this price list for full business plans, Brainhive also has an assistance package. Where you can pay £337/US$397 to have one of their experts check and review your business plan to make it fits all the compliance requirements, and it suits the level of detail you need for your proposal.
Brainhive is an online service, so you might not get the engagement you hope for. However, because they are an online service they are able to offer the cheapest prices for business plan services. If you want a personal touch and require more communication to produce your business plan, it might be best to find a local vendor.
Please be aware, these prices may be subject to change if level of work is misquoted. The prices are also available in GBP and Euros.
Our company Business Minded is a premium service and our prices vary depending on the client. Prices such as Brainhive are generally only available for online services. You can get a free quote from Business Minded by filling in the contact sheet, just outline what your business does, if you have a business plan in place, and what you need a business plan for.
What to Look Out for when Hiring a Business Plan Writer
The market for business plan writing is large, there are a lot of good companies out there that can offer this service for a good price. But you might be hesitant when trying to get a deal. The price might seem too good to be true, or you might think the service will be poor.
There are a few telltale signs that can be used to determine if a service is good or bad, and whether it is priced accordingly.
Professional Business Plan Consultants should have these things:
- Do they have a credible website?
- Are they a corporate body rather than a sole proprietorship?
- Do they have satisfied customers that they refer to?
- Do they understand your business?
- Do you feel comfortable with your consultant?
If the answer to these questions are yes, you might be in luck!
You should also make sure you can pay on completion of the business plan, never pay upfront for services such as this. The last thing you want to be stung by is a scammer that takes your money and doesn’t produce the goods. That’s why we only require a deposit from our customers, then the full amount is payable when you are satisfied with the work. You can email us through the contact page if you are interested in getting a quote.
Please note, we run at full capacity and business plan requests can have a 6 week waiting period.
How can you Save Money but still get High Quality?
The best way to save money when producing a business plan is to complete as much as you can by yourself. The more you can do the less time the consultant will need to spend filling in the gaps.
However, if you don’t know what you are capable of doing, there are hundreds of solid services offered online. Brainhive as mentioned above are only one of them. We wouldn’t be mentioning them if they didn’t offer a quality service. By seeking online help, rather than the traditional firm of advisors you could save thousands of dollars.
As I said, at Business Minded, our service is client specific which can be billed anywhere between £1,000 and £10,000 ($1,200 and $11,000). The package style service offered by Brainhive allows you to organise a price before you start.