Plan Development, Strategy, Writing, Consulting.
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Frequently asked questions about our Business Plan
we first assess the brand/service name?
Yes, it's the foundation of your business. A
brand name safety
analysis will uncover issues you may not have considered, with a
focus on avoiding trademark, copyright, and
brand name safety
analysis is not recommended even if you have applied for a
trademark and/or had a thorough trademark search.
How do we get started with the rest of a business plan? See now.
we need to meet?
No, the process
is entirely online - and is working for clients worldwide.
The proven Business Plan Worksheet
method, like a
'patient interview', eliminates the need for a meeting. If we
do meet, like a doctor's house call or a visit to the doctor's office, my normal
you ever meet your clients?
Rarely, and if so, just for lunch and not for business. I find we both get
more done, faster, when the process is carried out primarily via email (so
everything is documented), and by phone as needed. Plus we save fuel and
much should a business plan cost?
The costs for
writing a successful business plan can vary greatly depending on many factors.
All business plans are based on Rob Cummings' hourly
for business consulting that can be seen when you click BUSINESS
CONSULTING BY THE HOUR on the book time page
first cost is the initial
review of your completed Business Plan Worksheet.
you have questions other than the cost, skip to more
The answer to how much should it cost is...
How much time is needed to do just enough to accomplish all
the goals and objectives without under-doing or over-doing?
'Under-doing' may result in failure, while
'over-doing' may cost more in time.
business plan is very much like an 'argument' in a court of law combined
with a 'blueprint' in architecture:
Like a lawyer making a case in court, the more 'prepared' you are when you 'see the
judge', the more 'insurance' you will have, and the greater the chances
are that you will convince the judge and 'win the case'.
Our business plans are blueprints that assess everything, no
Like an architect, the more detail you include in the 'blueprint' and all
of the pre-construction thinking, the fewer 'surprises' i.e. chances for
failure you have when actual
business plan is like an 'argument' for your business, and like a
The 'argument' is to completely convince another (and yourself) that your
business will succeed. The 'blueprint' indicates that you know your
business and have thought it through in such detail that, by following the
'blueprint' exactly - or close - your plan will result in success.
The cost is less if you initially have a very well thought out
outline or a business plan in progress that simply requires a review and
fairly simply editing.
cost is more if your business plan outline or draft is more of an idea
or concept than a plan, and requires research and much more work to make
be sure you have a plan, we do an initial review and may save you countless $'s if we
do not see any chance for success.
review is the first step, unless you need to complete our
Worksheet. If so, ask for the worksheet and complete that first.
In the initial review, Rob Cummings will act like an investor or partner and:
give you his very
you know if he feels that you should or should not proceed
you know if he feels you need to do more homework
up questions and concerns
if Rob feels your chances of success are good, and he has enough to go on,
Rob can also give you a better idea of the
potential final costs.
Business Plan FAQs
Frequently asked questions about our Business Plans:
should a business plan include, and what should I do now?
If you have never written a business plan or seen one
How to Write a Winning Business Plan - from
How to Write a Business Plan
- from the US SBA
See the links above then ask for the Cummings Design Business Plan Worksheet.
do we get started with a business plan?
If you have a business plan in progress, or an outline, or a rough
draft, contact us and we will tell you how
and where to send it as an attachment for an initial
Otherwise, learn how to proceed and get
type of business structure is best?
you are going into business, one of the first steps (and a very important
step) is choosing the proper business structure - the legal structure for
your company. Learn
I need a partnership agreement?
We believe so, and many investors may also agree. A thorough partnership
agreement will resolve existing and future issues and greatly help insure
the ongoing success of your business. Learn
I have just an idea or concept, or do I have a business plan?
A business plan is not a business plan if
it is just an idea or a concept. The purpose of the business plan is to
prove to yourself and others that you have a realistic way to bring your
project to life with every asset and liability completely considered -
like a blueprint.
will Rob do that we cannot?
Rob helps you get organized, provides strategies, alternatives,
contingencies and options, and brings up issues and concepts you may not
have considered or may have overlooked. Then, as a writer, Rob is able to
distill the concepts and ideas to their essence, making the business plan
clear and compelling to all that read it. Statements made are concise,
poignant, and easily understood. Writing at this level takes more time,
and must be based on a solid conceptual understanding of the business,
which is why the process begins with your vision and the Business Plan
does the financials?
In the plans Rob develops, the financials are in the back, separate from
the plan. A CPA you choose does the financials. This separation of the
'story' of your business from the financials and projections separates the
two, since each is normally read and more thoroughly reviewed by a
different type of individual - the investor or the accountant.
handles the legal?
Rob has experience and a great interest in business and trademark law
concepts, though he is not an Attorney. Rob can draft agreements and
provide other conceptual elements, though these are then reviewed by a
qualified Attorney you choose, or Rob may help you choose.
Pro (or other business plan software) is asking questions that we don't
really have answers to. Can you help?
Absolutely. That's why you want Rob to help. He's a thinker and helps
you think through solutions. The best business plan is one you truly
understand and will be successful with. No software can help you with this
the way that a real thinking human being can.
created a plan in Business Plan Pro. Will this work?
We see many that don't. The software makes it easy to gloss up the presentation,
but the bottom line is the content, the 'blueprint', and the 'case' you
make for your business. Impressive charts and graphs are only impressive
if they support a very fully conceived plan.
do we know a business plan is complete?
Your business plan is complete when the most critical of investors (and/or
partners, and/or you yourself) can feel assured that you have thought
everything through, have a sound basis for your business, have addressed
every detail with contingencies built in, and have a complete 'blueprint'
You may take over
the refinement of your business plan at any time, or have us continue to help you
to get your business plan to a point where everything is completely
does an investor or partner look for in a business plan?
There are many answers depending on the investors or partner - yet, the
primary element investors look for in a business plan is risk - or lack of
it. If a reader of your business plan sees 'holes' or omissions, or can
find one or many reasons why your plan may fail, the 'risk' involved may be
too great and your presentation may fail.
In nearly all cases, a good
deal is a good deal, and bankers, lenders, investors, partners,
associates, and others want to lend money or become involved with a
business and business plan that is very solid with minimal risk.
experience in the type of business can reduce risk (as well as that of
partners and advisors), as does a completely
thought out plan, and any other factors that support your 'case' for your
business. The more questions you fail to address, the greater the chances
your business may not succeed once up and running, and the greater the
chance that investors will not be willing to take any initial risk.
you help us get the funding for our plan?
Yes, in certain cases, however, the plan must be very complete or we waste
the investor's time.
How many business plans have you written
that were funded?
plans that are funded are those that entirely make business sense, are
very complete, and involve the least 'risk' to the lenders and investors.
Rob Cummings will help you determine how to
make your plan less risky by being very critical and asking many questions
- very much like an investor or partner. The bottom line is that, if you
have a solid plan, it will likely get funded - and the more solid the
better the funding arrangement may be. It all goes back to risk - the
greater the risk, the less chances of funding - the less the risk, the
greater the chances of success, and funding.
ever written a business plan for my type of business?
We have likely never written a plan for your type of business, though the same process applies to all, making this a non-issue.
If we need expert advice in any area, we get it. However, we are not
writing 'fairy tales' or novels when writing business plans. If you do not
know your business inside and out, no business plan writer will be able to
help you, and you need to do more homework.
When will the plan be completed, and how many drafts should I expect to see and have the
opportunity to comment on?
The plan will be completed as soon as it can - somewhere between two weeks and
perhaps three months. I would hope to nail it down in three drafts. We discuss everything step by
step and it proceeds as quickly as it can. Much is based on how much you
already know about the business and/or can help make decisions on as it
Will you (Rob Cummings) be writing the plan yourself or do you have associates who do the work with you?
Yes, the plan will be written entirely by me (working directly with you).
Will there be an opportunity for you to present the plan or for me to present the plan to my other
advisors before the final draft is done?
Yes, positively. We will need to work with advisors at various stages all the way through - and the more who are qualified the better.
Typically these include Attorneys and Accountants, though other
specialists may be required as well.
We also need estimates for the various elements as required.
Do you do the market research and the financial spreadsheets, or are those things done separately
(and charged for separately)?
Yes, I do the research. No, I do not do the financials. I write the plan and you contract the accountant who puts the financials together.
The plan supports the financials and vice versa.
Does your price include revisions or customization for certain types of funding (to include
different information needed by investors versus lenders)?
My fees are based on an hourly rate. This hourly rate can include anything you need me to do
including versions tailored to different investor types - though there is
not a total and complete cost with unlimited revisions. The cost may range
from $950 to $7500 - and more. Most plans are finished at about $5000 -
though it all depends on the
quality of your concept and how much you already know about making it
viable as a business. In certain cases, where I simply write the plan
based on a very complete outline, the cost can be $950.
Does your price include coaching to prepare me to talk with lenders or make financing
Yes, you can have me help coach and do anything else required based on my hourly
Will I have an electronic version as well as a hard copy version of the final plan (so I can make
changes later if I need to)?
The Business Plan is delivered as a Microsoft Word document - so you can
change it, print it, etc.
Is there a flat fee for the initial review of the work sheet and consultation?
Yes, the flat fee for review is found at pricing
and payment in the Business Plans category. I'll be glad to do a review,
however, you should know my review will be candid (the best reason to hire me for this).
If all I see is an 'idea'
without the basis for a viable business, I will let you know. You'll understand
why when I do the review, then we'll decide how to proceed from there.
After the initial review and consultation is complete, is there going to be a flat fee to write
the business plan?
No, there is no 'flat fee' or package price for a complete plan. I will
almost always ask that you buy 10 hours to start based on my hourly
The reason that I cannot accurately estimate the complete and total cost
is that, like a doctor, all I now know is that you have a problem
- to create the Business Plan for your business. The 'cure' is impossible
Though I may have some
initial thoughts regarding solutions, until I get into it, I am not sure (without getting far more
involved) of what the final solution will be, or how much time it will take.
I try my best to work within budgets while remaining honest about how
complete (and smart) a plan needs to be.
if you have any further questions or concerns.
all about how
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