Question: I'm starting a business, but the bank needs a business plan before I can get a loan. Is there a service that can write one for me?
Gabriel Aviles Gomez
Answer: Absolutely. You can hire a professional business plan writer. In fact, your bank loan officer may be able to recommend one to you or you can find one online. Many business plan writers have Web sites, or you can find a business planning consultant at http://www.brs-inc.com, the site for Business Resource Software Inc.
While searching for a writer, look for someone who has a general business background and is familiar with such areas as accounting, bookkeeping and marketing. He or she should also be acquainted with financial statements, business jargon and your local business community. Ask for work samples, and, if possible, have your bank loan officer review them to be sure they're acceptable in terms of type and quality.
Professionals can prepare a business plan in two to four weeks. Fees range from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the time it takes to do the research to obtain the necessary financial data, analyze the competition, develop sample marketing plans and so on.
Although you aren't writing your own plan, you can learn more about what goes into one. Several books can help: Business Plans for Dummies (IDG Books), The One Page Business Plan (One Page Business Plan Company), The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies (Oasis Press), and Business Plans Made Easy (Entrepreneur Media Inc.).
If you have a question regarding a start-up business issue, contact Paul and Sarah Edwards at http://www.paulandsarah.com or send it to "What's Your Problem?," Entrepreneur, 2445 McCabe Wy., Irvine, CA 92614.