Writing a business plan? Part 1: Do it yourself

Veterans say a compelling business venture can be written on the back of a beer mat. However, VCs and bankers more often than not will need a detailed business plan before they invest in a new venture. Writing a business plan is a skill in itself. Most entrepreneurs are more adept at making their product than formulating marketing plans or forecasting cash flows. The question many entrepreneurs face is do they write the business plan themselves or pay someone to do it? Is this posting we look at some DIY options.

Many entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of paying someone to write their business plan. The good news is there is a vast amount of information available online to help write your first business plan. Websites like Inc. and Entrepreneur are packed with information on crafting a good business plan.

Those who require more indepth information should look at whats available on Amazon. Entrepreneur have published a comprehensive business plan guide, which comes with a variety of templates, guides and resources to help you on your way.

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The Secrets to Writing A Successful business plan is also excellent. This book is written by a real life entrepreneur Hal Shelton with a heavier focus on finance.

The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan

The Business Plan Quickstart guide is an excellent resource. This book is more condenced than the other books, but contains lots of useful hints and tips to get the discerning business planner up and running. This isn't a bad reference for experienced business plan writers. It contain useful methodologies for researching markets and presenting financials.

Business Plan: QuickStart Guide - The Simplified Beginner's Guide to Writing a Business Plan

For those of you who want more structure and have budget another option is business planning software. LivePlan is an online application that will take you through the process of creating a business plan step-by-step. LivePlan follows an easy to follow step-by-step process and includes numerous examples at each stage in your planning process.  LivePlan allows you to pivot and turn your business plan into a pitch for investors, which will save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to creating your first pitch deck. LivePlan has an active community, which is comprised of entrepeneurs, LivePlan experts and tenured business planners who are always willing to help you on your way.

In the next part we look at options for paying someone to write your business plan.