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Start a business plan writing service by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your business plan writing service. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a business plan writing service?
The expenses associated with starting a business plan writing business are minimal. Writers need a computer, internet access, website and place to meet clients. An office can serve as a meeting place, but shared coworking spaces and coffee shops also work and are more affordable.
Completed business plans have to be printed, and but this can be done at professional printing shops if the cost of a printer is too expensive. (Business plans should be printed in color and on high-quality paper for maximum visual appeal.)
What are the ongoing expenses for a business plan writing service?
The ongoing expenses for a business plan writing business are minimal. They include the cost of equipment depreciation, internet access and printing, as well as whatever expenses are associated with an office or meeting space.
Who is the target market?
Business plan writing businesses serve business leaders. Most often these are entrepreneurs seeking investments or loans, but they also can be investors who need visas to get into the U.S. Some writers also compose plans for non-profit organizations.
Importantly, the target market is not limited to new businesses only. Established businesses also need investments and loans to take advantage of new opportunities or shifts in the market.
How does a business plan writing service make money?
A business plan writing business makes money by selling completed business plans. Because writing plans is a lot of work, most writers require a deposit up front and the remaining balance due upon completion.
How much can you charge customers?
A business plan may cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. On the low end of the range, BusinessPlans.com offers plans for $495. In contrast, Ground Floor Partners charges anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 or more. Bargain Business Plan is in between, with options ranging from $899 to $2,799.
How much profit can a business plan writing service make?
A successful business plan writing business can bring in a six-figure revenue annually. For example, Joorney Business Plans has completed an average of 250 business plans each year. If each plan costs just $1,000 (and they likely cost much more), the company has earned a minimum of $250,000 annually.
Moreover, most of this is profit because the ongoing expenses for this type of business are low.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Many writers who open business plan writing businesses eventually get into consulting. As writers learn about a particular business, this is a natural service to offer the client.
Alternatively, some writers offer PowerPoint presentations that business owners can use for live presentations. Creating a presentation is easy after writing a business plan, and presentations complement plans nicely.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your business plan writing service is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Find the right bank for you, read our review of the Top 5 Banks for Your Small Business
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a business plan writing business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A business plan writing business is generally run out of an office space. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a business plan writing business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your business plan writing business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
Business plan writing businesses should consider requiring clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and so on.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a business plan writing service
Business owners ultimately hire business plan writers for their expertise and skills, and the best way to show these attributes is by meeting business owners in person. Writers can promote their services through local small business organizations, entrepreneurship conferences and networking events. Even cold-calling in person can be effective. Once one business owner is secured as a client, their referral will frequently lead to additional work.
How to keep customers coming back
Writers can set their business plan writing business apart from others in the industry by specializing in a certain niche. They may offer a specific type of business plan (e.g. traditional plans, E-2 visa plans or franchise plans), focus on a particular industry (e.g. manufacturing or food service), or serve customers in a specific area (e.g. city or county).
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Business Plan Writing Service In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Anyone who enjoys writing and is an entrepreneur at heart may enjoy running a business plan writing business. Much of the work involves writing, and having a love for business will help writers stay motivated while working on plans. Writers should also be detail oriented, as much of the writing process includes in-depth research.
What happens during a typical day at a business plan writing service?
A typical day at a business plan writing business may involve:
- Meeting with business owners to learn more about their businesses
- Conducting research for writing business plans
- Writing business plans
- Delivering completed business plans to business owners
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful business plan writing service?
Writers who start a business plan writing business must know how to write business plans, of which there are a few different types. The Balance has guides on writing simple business plans and traditional business plans, as do many other sites. For writers who would like more formal training, The Small Business Administration, Stanford and Entrepreneur are a few of the organizations offering online courses that detail the process.
While not necessary, writers who have a master’s of business administration (MBA) can distinguish themselves from most other writers in this field. Earning an MBA require much more time and money than going through a class on writing plans, but the investment may pay off over the course of a writer’s career.
Alternatively, people who already have MBAs and are gainfully employed may opt to start writing business plans as a part-time gig. This is one way to earn significant supplemental income without leaving a day job.
What is the growth potential for a business plan writing service?
Many writers keep their business plan writing businesses small, serving only the number of clients they can personally help. A number or writers even do this work part-time when they can.
There are several larger companies in the industry, however. Some of the more established businesses in the industry are Ground Floor Partners, Bargain Business Plan and Joorney Business Plans. Journey Business Plans has written at least 2,500 business plans since opening in 2008.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a business plan writing service?
Many business owners will want to see a writer’s work before hiring them to write a business plan. Thus, writers need a portfolio of plans they’ve drawn up. To develop a portfolio, writers may want to offer family members and friends who own businesses free business plans. Having just two or three completed will help writers showcase their work.
How and when to build a team
Many writers in this line of work never hire employees, doing all the work themselves. Those that do bring on employees typically hire administrative assistance and/or writers, adding to the staff as workload requires and revenue allows. Writers are typically paid as independent contractors.