I know. I know. You are too busy to write your own business plan, but your banker is asking you to provide the bank with a copy of your business plan for your loan application.  What do you do?  Well many small business owners may decide to take the easy way out, and send their information to an online business planner like:

  • Masterplans.com
  • Growthink.com
  • Ethos360.com

Don’t get me wrong I am sure these professional business planners provide a great product and service, but you are missing out when you are not writing your own business plan.  There are 3 specific reasons I believe that you should write your own business plan.

  1. You Know Best – Professional business planners know how to write, format, build financial projections, and make your business plan look “pretty”.  What they don’t know is your business.  You built the business, you live and breathe it each and every day.  Even though you may not be able to develop a 500 page excel template with your financial projections for the next 100 years, you know your pricing model, you know where to acquire new business, you know what your customers think about your product or service.  Take what you know and build your own business plan.  Then you will actually be able to use it, even after your submit your loan application.  If you don’t think you have the writing skills to craft a strong plan, then write what you can, and bring your plan to your local SBDC counselor for a free review of your plan. SBDC Locator
  2. You will Learn Something New – I can guarantee you, no matter how long you have run your business or how much of an expert in your field you are, you will learn something new if you write your own business plan.  One area where you will almost certainly learn something new is your Competitor Overview section.  Your competition is constantly changing in this global marketplace.  Six months ago your biggest competition may have been on the other side of town, and now it may be a company based in China or India.  Franklin Adams said, “I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.”  Writing your own business plan may just give you the opportunity to stumble upon something that could completely change your business for the better.  Just give it a chance.
  3. It’s Free – I know that your time is money, and writing your own business plan will take a considerable amount of your time, but professional business planners are expensive.  For most small business owners $4,000 is a lot of money, but if you are successful enough to throw away $4,000 to have someone else write your business plan, then by all means, go for it!  Now for the rest of us, go to the Small Business Administration website and access their free business plan template that includes links with explanations of what you should include in each section. Essential Elements of a Good Business Plan for Growing Companies For most small business owners this will be sufficient.  Again remember to make use of your local SBDC counselor, who will review your business plan for free.  If you are still unsatisfied with your plan, then you can send it to a professional business planner to improve.  They will probably be able to improve the aesthetics of your plan, and maybe improve your wording to help better relate to your banker.  A professional business plan review should save you thousands of dollars, and allow you to gain the benefits of writing your own plan.

So give it a try, you might just learn something and save a lot of money too!

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