Many people find writing a business plan hard work, which is understandable as it’s not something most people do very often. It is often very time-consuming, stressful, and because you are so close to the business, it’s hard to step back and see what is (and isn’t) important.

For a first-timer, it usually isn’t long before you are sitting in front of a blank piece of paper wishing for help. So is hiring a professional the answer to this problem? A professional can save you hours, and hours, and hours of work. They bring deep expertise and knowledge and deliver a professionally-written document in a fraction of the time it would take you to do it yourself.

They also provide a sounding board for your ideas; an independent third-party that can assess your strategies objectively and provide feedback. One of the most time-consuming tasks in preparing your document is researching your market and finding accurate and current quantitative and qualitative information. Hiring a professional helps you overcome this issue as they usually have access to the very latest industry trends and market data.

If a well-written plan is important to you, you need to select carefully. Remember that your plan document may not only be used for your own personal guidance, but for attracting financing, business partners, or other critical purposes. This is why it must look professional, logical, and appropriately detailed and informative. Professionals in the field have usually written hundreds of plans across a very wide range of industries. They will be well versed in the art of quickly understanding your business and translating this into a professional document.

Make sure you get value for money when hiring a professional: Ask for a clear description of exactly what you will get so your expectations are met. Request an overview of their experience. How many plans have they written? Do they have customer testimonials that are readily available?

Check if there are fixed price options to ensure that the work isn’t limited by hours, or that you end up paying extra in the long run. Ensure they have access to current and relevant market and industry trends and information. This will help you set appropriate strategies.

Request a sample table of contents. Given that the information contained in your document is confidential, it usually isn’t possible for professionals to provide full examples of previous work (you wouldn’t want your document sent out as a ‘sample’ would you?) Ask if there is a money-back satisfaction guarantee. This is usually a good sign that you can expect a quality document that meets your expectations, and if it doesn’t you can simply ask for your money back.