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Monday, June 26, 2017

Professionally Written Business Plan versus Self-written Business Plan

If you read my previous article on various business plan options available to Nigerian entrepreneurs, you’ll understand why I’m writing this piece. I made a promise that I will expatiate on this topic with a review on why you should choose either a professionally written business plan or self-written business plan and I even went further to discourage my readers from ever patronizing any business plan writer who specializes in selling ready-made/already written business plans.

Today we are here to find out what makes professionally written business plans and self-written business plans the best two options for people seeking funding for their startups or expansion of their existing businesses here in Nigeria. If you didn’t read that article you can follow this link best business plan options in Nigeria to find out more about the article.

Kindly note that in this article I am assuming that anyone who wants to write his/her own business plan has exceptional research and writing skills and can present a standard business plan at least to a reasonable extent for it to be called a bankable business plan.

What makes professionally written and self-written business plans the best options?
These two options from my experience are the best for Nigerian entrepreneurs and I will give you 7 reasons why they stand taller than the other available options;  

1. They are both current with market/economic realities

The market situations in all economies change slightly over 5 to 10 years and drastically over 10 to 20 year periods such that certain trends, marketing approaches, market situations and buying factors which were relevant in the past suddenly start losing their relevance and influence on how the market will respond to a new product, market opportunity or strategy. Other business plan options don’t do much especially in researching the current and emerging market situation and economy to arrive at their assumptions.  

2. They contain the most accurate assumptions and forecasts.     Compared to all the other business plan options, these two options tend present more accurate assumptions and forecasts. This is very invaluable when preparing sales forecasts, financial projections and personnel planning. 

3. They tend to contain more thorough analysis.                                Professionally written business plans and self-written business plans also have a meeting point in that they tend to be more thorough with analysis. Usually there are visits and revisits of ideas already penned down as the research begins to unearth new ideas, findings and data 

4. Most precise research available.                                                These two business plan options also tend to ask the most pensive research questions that will give the writer a solid direction and flow when carrying out market research especially in determining market size, consumer behaviours, competitive analysis and cost effective marketing strategies.  

5. Offer plenty of room for corrections and improvements
Due to the dynamic and open approach in clarifying facts, there are many opportunities to change, improve and even alter aspects of the business plan that don’t seem to measure up with realities on ground. Other business plan options are less flexible. 

6.  Achieve greater funding results. 
From my experience, the business plans which achieve the best results in terms of receiving bank loans, attracting investors or achieve very concrete financial and marketing results are those written in person by either the entrepreneur or a professional business plan writer.  

7. They are both tailored to your specific business need. 

Unlike other business plan options which don’t consider your specific business needs, a custom made or self-written business plan looks at your specific business needs – the opportunity, your company setup requirements, corporate goals, growth strategies and personnel plan. The other business plan options fail to be customized satisfactorily in this way.

What to expect from Professionally Written Business Plans.
A Professionally written business plan usually involves the hired professional business plan writer asking you background questions about your business to serve as an initial guide in preparing your business plan. The procedure is for him/her to use this information in preparing you a business plan which is suited to your very business needs and with excellent research skills present it a very persuasive way to command respect and action from the intended target. The deadline for submitting a professionally written business plan varies but should be anything from 5 to 20 working days.

What to Self-written Business Plans  
The self-written business plan on the other hand is a straight forward thing since you already know your business, have industry information/data and experience in organizing resources to achieve results for your business, the only real challenge may be in terms of lacking analytical tools, finding the right business plan format to work with, access to market research findings and opinion of other consultants when criticism and review is needed to present a final document. But an excellent research work can cover all lapses so that in 20-40% of the time self-written business plan is just as good as a professionally written business plan – it all boils down to the research skills of the entrepreneur.

Professional or self-written Business Plans: Which Option?

I honestly cannot answer this question for anyone because if as an entrepreneur you are really good at research and have excellent writing skills the only thing stopping you is your busy schedule. If you have the time to write it my advice is go ahead with it.  If you lack the research or business writing skills then it’s better to outsource your business plan writing to a professional – with proven track records.

You can hire such a business plan writer to prepare your custom made, bankable business plans by simply calling: 0803 206 4106 or email: paulonwueme@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Best 6 Business Plan Options for Nigerian Entrepreneurs

There are many business plan options Nigerian entrepreneurs seeking to start and/or expand their businesses should know about. These 6 business plan options have very specific benefits and implications which must not be overlooked and they also serve as options for which every entrepreneur should use in his/her funding application.

The best two options out of these 6 business plans are; the self-written business plan and the professionally written business plan. If you ask me I would suggest you write your business plan yourself if you have the time, the skills and the required knowledge to put ideas into a persuasive report. This is usually the best business plan option available - I will delve more into them to show why they are the best options when preparing business plans in my next article when I will be reviewing both of them.

The Best Business Plans for Entrepreneurs in Nigerian
Here goes the shortlist, kindly pay attention and remember them as they will go a long way in helping you achieve your funding goals;

Self-Written Business Plan

This is a business plan by you for you. The entrepreneur looking to approach a bank or raise funds from investors is the person writing the business plan himself/herself.

The good thing about the self-written business plan is that you are in full control over how it turns out, whether it turns out to be bankable (acceptable to both banks and investors) depends on if you have the right format, analytical skills and imagination to write it to achieve your aim eventually. Another good thing is it comes cheap at no cost to you apart from the time you put into writing it.

The negative side is you may have to sacrifice productive time doing the business plan yourself plus your inexperience in writing bankable business plans may count against you.

Professionally Written Business Plans

These are business plans written by experienced and skilled business oriented writers. They are professionally written because the writer is experienced and often times works with a network of other writers, researchers and officials of banks. 

One good thing about this option is that you can have bankable business plans written in record time which will save you a lot of research and analytical stress, plus offer you the convenience of doing more productive things with your time. Another good thing is they can write persuasively and present very organized, reliable and concise work that banks and investors are looking for.

The main disadvantage is that they are expensive - since they will have to forego other things to prepare your business plans. The other disadvantage is that you have limited control over how your business plan will turn out. 

Already written business Plan

This is a business plan which has already been written, all you do is purchase it then edit it to suit your requirements. There are many people who do this but I personally will not recommend or encourage you to buy an already written business plan for any reason.

First there is the issue of relevance and trends. For example, an already written business plan for sale prepared in 2010 for on the setup of a crèche is not useful in 2017 because a lot of things have changed with regard to the regulation, setup and management practice of crèche in Nigeria, therefore if you purchase it you will be wasting your money.

Secondly there is the issue of whether the business plan will be customized to your particular need. When you buy an already written business plan, the writer isn’t thinking about whether your intended business will be located in Akure, Abuja, Lagos or Jos. He will write a generic business plan which won’t also consider the company structure and capital requirements for your own business. 

The worst part is when the so called business plan writer claims you can submit that business plan to any bank, investor or financial institution.That has to be one of the worst jokes ever. The meaning of this is that you will end up paying for something that will be useless to you and will just be a waste of your time.

Software generated business Plan

This is a business plan generated by specially designed software and there are many companies that specialize in doing this. These business plans are very useful when you are under pressure to deliver a business plan in a short time. With a software generated business plan you can write one in less than 24 hours. All you have to you do is answer the questions the software asks, then it produces, arranges and structures every other thing for you.

But there are many problems with using this option. One of the problems is that software can’t reason like humans. While they may be programmed to ask you questions and you just fill in the blank to supply the finishing you still have to bother about things like how to access and analyze industry data that is something the software cannot do for you.

Online Sample Business Plan

There are business plans you can copy, download or study to prepare a standard one to submit to banks or investors. These business plans are similar to the already written business plan except that this time they are available for free. The main source of online business plan samples is bplans.com.

The first major advantage is that it will save you time when writing and researching your own business plan. The second advantage is you will have a standard format to work with. But there are problems too. The top problem is that it is usually outdated just like the ready-made business plans. Secondly, there is the danger of plagiarism if you aren’t original enough to write standard write-ups, there is a good chance you may leave somethings unchanged even when you paraphrase the business plan to make it look different. This is something which many banks and investors won’t find funny.

Business Innovation Canvass

This is an innovation which is often used for business plan competitions. Examples of business plan competitions that use this kind of business plan are YOUWIN and TEEP.

They are question based business plans which usually try to elicit short responses from applicants to get an overview of your business. These types of business plans are designed for micro and small sized businesses, not medium or large sized businesses. Mind you these are not detailed business plans and they are not suitable for submission to specialized banks and institutions.  

In my next article (should be ready on June 25th) I will be reviewing both the custom made business plan and the self-written business plan. My aim in that article will be to dig out specifics from both so that you will be better informed on the best two business plan options you can work with. 

Are you in search of a professionally written business plan prepared by an expert with proven track records? Give me a call: 0803 206 4106 or email me: paulonwueme@gmail.com to have one prepared for you.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Are you an Entrepreneur, an Investor or a Business Owner?

This is a very important question to ask and answer especially if you are about to start a business in Nigeria. People often use these three terms interchangeably even when they actually mean different things but can also overlap in meaning such that an entrepreneur can be an investor and a business owner at the same time but it’s important for me to say this that every investor is a business owner but not every business owner is an investor and even more importantly every entrepreneur is an investor but not all investors are entrepreneurs.
This play of words could be very confusing indeed but let me lay it bare like this – an entrepreneur who is about to start a business and needs funding will often need an investor and when he succeeds in raising the required funding both he and the investor become business owners even though they are quite different at the onset. In this article we are going to be looking at 3 entrepreneurs and 3 investors and comparing them to make us understand better how they differ from each other. Enough of this boring explanation already let’s set the ball rolling.

Who is an Entrepreneur and how can we identify one?

An entrepreneur is anyone who identifies a business idea and assumes the risks involved in setting up a business to exploit that business opportunity. The risks involved in setting up a business are; potential loss of invested capital, bankruptcy, fall out with creditors and investors, damage to one’s reputation, law suits etc. An entrepreneur organizes the resources needed to setup the business e.g raising funds, finding a suitable location to take off the business, purchase of equipment and machines, hiring workers, marketing etc he must also be prepared to face the potential losses that could come, but his reward is the profit from the business which he can keep to himself or share with his partners if he succeeds. 

An entrepreneur is a brave person, innovative, unique and often independent minded person, willing to dip his leg in untested waters to prove that his burning desire to exploit a business opportunity is very rewarding. So if you find a person who wants to be his own boss, has a unique touch to serving people, isn’t afraid to risk his life savings into a business idea he just can’t stop thinking and talking about even when everybody around him keeps warning him about the danger of losing his savings, you are looking at an entrepreneur. Examples of entrepreneurs are Aliko Dangote, Bill Gates and Jack Ma.

Who is an Investor and how can we identify one?

An investor on the other hand is someone who wants to commit his capital into any business opportunity that will not only guarantee the preservation of his capital but will also offer him returns from his capital in the form of interest, dividend, rent, commission or royalty. Kindly note capital here means any asset that can generate income passively such as cash, houses, machines etc. – without the investor actually putting effort beyond his capital investment. Investors usually don’t care which business they are putting their investment into provided it is legitimate and profitable they are good to go. Examples of Investors are Warren Buffet, Tony Elumelu and George Soros.

What do entrepreneurs and investors have in common?

While entrepreneurs and investors may be different in the way they function they have a few things in common which is why they can often work together to achieve their aims. Here are two things entrepreneurs have in common with investors;

They are both willing to take risks. 
Both entrepreneurs and investors know that nothing in life is guaranteed so there is a chance that they will both lose money in their business venture because of business risks and they accept this from the onset. Entrepreneurs sometimes are willing to risk all but investors almost never risk all to make an investment.

They both want profit. 
The only difference is in how important that profit is. For the Investor it is the main thing and making the highest possible profit within a certain period, but for entrepreneurs it could be becoming number 1 in the industry which doesn't necessarily translate to highest possible profit and the entrepreneur may not mind waiting for years to realize this.

How are entrepreneurs and investors different from each other?

They differ in the following ways;
Entrepreneurs view their business as a mission. 
They are not just in it for the money but also for the fulfilment that comes with exploiting the opportunity. For Dangote he only cares about selling the most affordable product to the highest number of people, Bill Gates wants to make every home and office in the world using a computer or smartphone that makes their world better, Jack Ma wants every Chinese company to sell their products globally. Whereas for investors it’s about making resources count e.g Buffet wants a company’s fundamentals to be above industry average, Tony Elemelu likes impressive growth potentials in small businesses and George Soros likes to trade currencies and takes positions against overvalued currencies

Entrepreneurs tend to be specialists in a particular field, industry or sector. 
Dangote is into manufacturing, Bill Gates is into software development and Jack Ma is into internet marketing. Warren Buffet has his hands in many pies. He has invested in real estate, forex, banking, hospitality etc without being involved in running any of these businesses. He only analyzes their financial ratios then takes positions. George Soros uses hedge funds to acquire shares in different companies while Tony Elumelu uses his Heirs Holdings to buy into companies in different sectors.  

Investors use financial planning and analytical tools to decide what and where to invest in.  
They are good at analyzing the growth potentials, entry and exit positions and the profitability of a company even without being involved in running it and this tells them where to invest and vice versa. Entrepreneurs on the other hand simply follow their interests, passions, skills and experience to decide what and where to invest.

Investors come and go as far as a business opportunity is concerned. 
Dangote has been with his company from the very beginning whereas Warren Buffet usually buys a stake in a company long after it was founded and he has also sold off his stake in many companies.  
I honestly wish I could go on but I must stop here. But I believe you now know where you fall into and if you are an entrepreneur keep in mind though that as an entrepreneur you’ll need investors to commit funds to your business.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to attract investors to fund your business idea, I’m available to write you a compelling business plan they will understand and relate to. Give me a call: 0803 206 4106 or email me: paulonwueme@gmail.com