Business Plan Vancouver-style. Looking for help with your business plan? Follow these tips.


Ask about the business plan consultant’s background. How long have they been writing business plans? Do they only work with small and micro businesses? In what industries have they worked? Is most of their work simply with entrepreneurs looking to get a small line of credit at the bank or can they help you work through real business problems too?


Find out about the consultant’s abilities. Even if they have an MBA, they may not have been great with numbers and they may not have much experience in business and strategic planning. And someone who has a background as a writer may not have the knowledge to do more than polish your spelling and grammar.


Dig into the consultant’s business background. What did this person do before they got into consulting? Is it relevant to business planning? Have they worked in a variety of industries or just one? As a consultant, have they done more than write business plans? Do they really have the depth of knowledge and experience to understand how to help you make business decisions?


Get information about the consultant’s competency in business planning. What experience does this consultant have with business planning? Do they just try to make your words sound good? Can they help you put in details to help with the approval of investors, bankers, business partners, franchisees, self-employment program advisors and friends and family? Have they worked in business – and with a variety of businesses – giving them the insight to create a plan that will help your business succeed? Even someone with an accounting designation or MBA may not have the experience to create a winning plan.


Learn how the plan will be put together. Will the business plan writer use more than just writing to tell your story? As decision makers pour over business plans, they sometimes get overwhelmed. Charts, tables and graphics can sometimes help draw attention to key details in the plan.


See how you’ll be involved in the process. Will the business consultant work with you to write the plan or will they go away and create a plan in isolation, allowing their “experts” to tell you how your business should work?


Ask about confidentiality. Will the consultant keep your details private? Do they freely show you the business plans of their past clients, without mentioning permission to disclose these plans? Do they give examples from past clients’ projects without managing privacy and non-disclosure? Are they willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement? Do you feel like you can trust them?


Listen. Is the consultant more interested in talking than asking questions or listening to what you have to say? Are they full of industry jargon and likely to create a plan full of puff and buzzwords? Can they explain things in language you can understand and apply in your work? Do they talk about involving you in their process and providing you with opportunities to shape your own plan? Do they seem to care about your business idea? Do they seem excited and optimistic about where you can go with your idea?


Trust your gut. If you feel unsure about the consultant now, things are less likely to work well when you have to take their advice later. Go with a consultant who feels like a great fit for you. Someone who seems a bit mismatched at the beginning will leave you feeling like you’re on shaky ground later when you need to trust in their financial and strategic recommendations, even if their advice is good. You want to be able to trust your consultant, not spend time second guessing the advice for which you’re paying. Go with someone who feels right from Day One.

Looking for a Vancouver business plan writer? Shift into Trustmode –  email to get started.