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Writing a Business Plan – Fundamental Principles – When to Use Professional Advice – Lesson 2

Writing a Business Plan – Fundamental Principles – When to Use Professional Advice – Lesson 2


This is Video 2 of the “MasterClass for
Corporate Advisers and Entrepreneurs” on Persuasive and Effective Business Plans”
in which I’m going to discuss when to use professional advice … in helping you to
write your business plan. If you intend to use your core internal business plan
for an external audience … you should ask your professional advisers to comment on
it … and professionalise the content. The reason for this … is that you … as the
primary or single owner … or the management team of a larger company …
should be wholly responsible for deciding the strategy of your company …
whereas the role of your advisers should be to assess the viability of your
strategy … and comment on areas which appear to be loosely considered … so that
they can be tightened up appropriately. It’s usually obvious to experienced
investors … or lenders … when a business plan has been written by professional
advisers … and merely signed off by the management team. The impression that’s
given is an inevitable extremely negative. Tens of thousands of pounds …
euros … or dollars … can be wasted on paying advisers to write a business plan … if
it’s spirit clearly doesn’t match the nature of the group of people … looking
for the money it intends to attract. That’s not to say a management team
should be encouraged to ‘say it in their own words’ … which … unless they themselves
are very experienced in writing such documents … will often sound rather naive …
and will therefore undermine the credibility … of what might be a very
solid business. The input from several independent parties … is required to check
the design … the content … and the style of the document … to achieve a well-rounded
and effective result. This is because … although professional advisors will
ensure that the content of the business plan is true and accurate … they may not
have the marketing skill … to tell the story with infectious enthusiasm. Likewise, the directors of a company may understand their own
business in considerable detail … but they may not have the necessary detachment to
view their business plan from a potential investor’s perspective.
Similarly, successful entrepreneurs will possess the requisite marketing skills …
financial literacy … and enthusiasm … but may not possess the expertise to
summarise their objectives effectively in writing … for a
sceptical commercial audience. With the help of your professional advisers,
therefore … you’ll be able to fill the gaps and achieve seamless result. An
efficient approach for a professional adviser … is to give the management team the required paragraph headings … explain what information should be included
under each heading … and ask them to write as much as they feel is relevant under
each heading. You can then identify what you consider to be omissions and
inconsistencies from the perspective of a potential investor … purchaser … or lender …
obtain further information from the management team … to fill the gaps exposed
in the initial draft … severely prune and professionalise the result … and then add
in all the standard information and boilerplate paragraphs … to produce the
finished article. This approach should retain the essence of what the
management team wishes to say … yet with a professional presentation. That was video
2 which explained when to use professional advice for writing a business plan. The
next video will concentrate on raising equity capital … and in particular to
ensure that you understand your target audience.

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