Planning is a critical aspect of any business. Without a plan, it’s difficult to know where you’re going or how you’ll get there. The level of detail in the plan determines how successful it will be (especially with a business plan consultant on your side) and what type of impact the company can have on its industry and community. A good plan should include an executive summary that highlights major goals, strategies for achieving them, and measurable benchmarks for success. In addition to these key components, smaller details such as marketing plans are crucial because they provide direction on what needs to happen in order for the business to grow revenue over time. When developing this type of document, it’s important not only to think about what steps need to be taken today but also at least one year into the future.

Many business owners choose to hire a business plan consultant to help with the planning process. This can be an effective way to get professional help and avoid some of the pitfalls that come with trying to do everything yourself.  However, it’s important to choose the right consultant for your needs.

Here are nine things you should consider before making a decision:

1. Industry Experience

You want to make sure the consultant you’re working with has experience in your industry.  They should understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with operating in your space.  Otherwise, they may not be able to provide the level of guidance you need to reach your goals.

2. Plan Development Process

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a business plan, so it’s important to make sure the consultant you choose has a process that works for you.  They should be able to provide customized support and feedback throughout the entire planning process.

3. Communication Style

It’s important to find a consultant with a communication style that you’re comfortable with.  You’ll be working closely with this person, so it’s important to have a good rapport.  Ask them how they prefer to communicate – in person, over the phone, or online?  And be sure to set expectations early on about how often you will be in touch and what kind of updates you would like.

4. Cost

A Business plan consultant can vary significantly in terms of cost.  Make sure you have a realistic idea of what you can afford, and be upfront about your budget with any potential consultants.  There’s no need to sacrifice quality for affordability – there are plenty of great consultants out there who can work within your budget.

5. References

It’s always a good idea to check references before hiring anyone, especially for a service-based business like a consultant.  Ask the consultant for a list of past clients and reach out to them to get feedback on the consultant’s work.  Be sure to ask about the quality of the final product, how well the consultant communicated, and if they would recommend working with them again.

6. Experience with Your Size of Business

Not all consultants have experience working with businesses of all sizes.  If you’re a small business, you may want to find someone who specializes in working with businesses like yours.  They’ll be more familiar with the challenges and opportunities that come with running a small business and can offer more tailored advice.

7. Location

This may not be a concern for everyone, but it’s worth considering if you have a preference for working with a local consultant or someone who is based elsewhere.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so think about what would work better for you and your business.

8. Chemistry

Last but not least, it’s important to make sure you click with the consultant you choose.  After all, you’ll be working closely with this person for the foreseeable future, so it’s important that you get along.  Take some time to chat with any potential consultants and see if you have a good rapport.

9. Expertise in Your Field

While it’s not necessary for a business plan consultant to have expertise in your specific field, it can be helpful. If the consultant does have experience in your industry, they’ll be better equipped to understand your business and offer relevant advice.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a business consultant, it’s important to do your research and ask the right questions. By taking the time to find an experienced consultant who understands your industry and has a process that works well for you, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls associated with business planning.