We work closely with you to understand your goals and vision, research your markets and competitors, and develop your business plan. Although most clients hire us to write a business plan they often find that the process they go through developing a plan is ultimately more valuable than the documents themselves.
Our Startup Business Plan Development Process
Our startup business planning process is intense, thorough, and highly collaborative.
During our business planning process, we will help you refine your business model, identify your most profitable customers and improve your sales projections. We provide an objective view, so your final business plan is based on reality.
- We work closely with you to understand your goals and vision, and then help you develop your entire business plan, from “elevator pitch” to “exit strategy.”
- We don’t start with a “canned” business plan format — each plan is tailored to meet the unique requirements of each client.
- We understand that the first version is rarely perfect. If you are not happy with our work, we aren’t either.
- We don’t just “write a business plan.” We question assumptions, perform independent research on the market and competition, and explore and propose alternative ways to market your product or service. We are consultants, not just writers.
- Business planning is not a linear process. By the time we are done, the original business model may have been revised two or three times.
What’s Included in our Startup Business Planning Service
Our writing style is clear, direct, and simple. A typical startup business plan includes all or most of the following components, but has less detail than a more established business would require.
- Industry Overview — a general introduction to the industry
- Market Opportunity — a brief discussion of how large the business opportunity is in terms of revenue, number of customers, growth trends, etc.
- Customers — who are they, where are they, how many are there, etc.?
- Competition — understand the competitive landscape in as much detail as possible. If there are no direct competitors now, then who are your indirect competitors?
- Products & Services — What products and services will the business supply to customers?
- A description of the Business Model, including all major revenue streams. How will the business make money?
- Marketing & Sales Plan — how will you attract and retain customers, deliver your product/service to them, and earn their loyalty? How will you position your products and services relative to competitors?
- Operations — how will you get things done on a daily basis? This includes everything from research through production on to sales and billing.
- Management & Staff — probably the single most important factor in any effective business plan. Describe the management team in terms of experience, talents, connections, etc. What additional resources will you need to make the business succeed?
- Investment Opportunity and Exit Strategy for Investors — what will investors get for their money or their time? When and how will they be compensated?
- Financial Projections — focuses on cash flow projections (with major revenue sources and expenses included). We also map out the assumptions behind the financial projections.
- SWOT (Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats) Analysis
Business Plan Types
As professional business plan consultants, we see a variety of business plan types. The three most common business plan types are bank financing, internal planning, or investor financing.
Business Plan Pricing
Despite the rumors, business planning is rarely easy. Especially if this is your first time. Be sure to avoid these common mistakes when creating a business plan.
We do not offer any fixed price packages and we generally avoid templates. Before we can estimate the fee for completing your business plan, we need to understand your individual situation. This generally requires a brief conversation about your project goals, timetable, budget, scope, and other issues.
Factors That Affect Pricing
- Scale — How big do you expect the business to be in five years?
- Speed — How fast do you plan to grow?
- Competition — How tough is the competition?
- Industry Stage — Is the industry growing, flat, or shrinking?
- Market share — How much market share do you reasonably expect to attain?
- Revenue Streams — Which and how many revenue streams?
- Business Model — Is this a proven business model, or something completely new?
- Financing Sources — Do you plan to raise multiple rounds of funding, from multiple sources, or just one round from one source?
- Financing Scale — Do you plan to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, hundreds of millions, or something in between?
- Stakeholders — How many, and which, stakeholders will be involved?
- Regulations — Is the industry relatively unconstrained, strictly regulated, or somewhere in between?
- Data — How much data is available (and how much have you collected) on the industry, your competition, and market trends?
Our startup business plan services typically fall between $5,000 and $10,000. Although we are far from being the most expensive, we are also rarely the least expensive.
Every Business Needs a Plan
Of course everyone in the world knows that Ground Floor Partners is the BEST place to go if you want a consulting firm to help you develop your business plan. But if you decide to go it alone, here are a few guides and books that can help you:
SBA Guide to Writing a Business Plan – Tips and guidelines on writing a solid business plan, from executive summary to appendix.
SBA Business Plan Tool – A step by step guide to researching and writing a business plan.
SBA Business Plan Writing Course (video) – A simple 30 minute video course walks you through the main steps needed to develop and write your business plan.
Business Plans That Win $$$ — Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum – By far one of the easiest and least pretentious books ever written on business planning. You can buy it at most independent booksellers.
Some “business experts” claim a business plan isn’t necessary. We say “poppycock”. Every business needs a business plan. The level of detail required may be up for debate, but the idea of just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks is foolhardy in the extreme. A solid business plan by no means guarantees success, but it greatly increases your odds.