Top Business Plan Consultants — 2020

William Avery
Apr 30, 2019 · 8 min read
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Top Business Plan Consulting Firms

Last Updated: January, 2, 2020

When hiring a business plan consulting firm, there are many things that your company needs to consider. Hiring the right person or firm is not only about developing a culture fit and emotional cadence, but also about understanding the skill-set as it applies to what you need.

In general, there’s three main classifications of service providers in this space depending on your budget and expectations, we can classify them into Freelancers, Boutique Consulting Firms, and Large Consulting Firms. Generally, you get your best quality for the price at boutique firms, but if you are prepared pay several tens of thousands, a major consulting firm may be a solid option — particularly if your assignment is complex.

Best Value Overall

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Pro Business Plans Home Page

Located In: New York City

Pro Business Plans delivers the best overall value in this space based on our analysis. Several of their team members come from Big 4 accounting or consulting firms or investment banking, which means you can get access to top talent at very competitive rates relative to their former firms. They also specialize in business plan consulting, so their team is very experienced in working on plans in several industries.

Summary

· Well credentialed team with experience at Big 4 accounting firms.

· Large amount of transactions and case studies.

· Based in New York City with offices in Toronto and Miami.

· Best for those seeking high quality without enterprise level budgets.

Recommendation: Best Overall

Price Range: $5,000 +

Highest Quality

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McKinsey Homepage

2. McKinsey & Company (mckinsey.com)

Located In: Global

The undisputed leader in this space, this is the go-to company if you have a large budget. They have best-in-class professionals, a global presence, relationships, and market research. Top firms like McKinsey typically also have a dedicated industry professional work with you, so you benefit from both someone to help with your business plan, but also with other activities.

Summary

· Well credentialed team with experience at Big 4 accounting firms.

· Large amount of transactions and case studies.

· Global offices, headquarters in New York City.

· Best for mid-size to large companies seeking best-in-class service.

Recommendation: Highest Quality

Price Range: $100,000 +

Honorable Mentions

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KPMG Home Page

3. KPMG (kpmg.com)

Located In: New York City

As an accounting firm KPMG can handle sophisticated financial transactions and advise on many aspects of the company, we believe it excels in aspects particularly related to finance & accounting and may be most relevant for complex M&A transactions, management account, and large capital raises. The team is well credentialed, but typically less so than a major consulting firm such as Bain, McKinsey, or BCG. However, it is on-par with other accounting firms and may be a comparatively lower cost.

Summary

· Accounting focused business delivering good value for financial materials.

· Global, wide spanning industry experience with cross-functional team.

· Well credentialed staff with multiple executives engaged in the process.

· Lower priced than top-tier consulting firms, quality materials.

Recommendation: Good Quality, Reliable Team

Price Range: $25,000 +

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West Monroe Home Page

4. West Monroe (westmonroepartners.com)

Located In: New York City

Catering to the needs of smaller businesses, West Monroe delivers an opportunity for companies to benefit from a large national consulting business, without the hefty budgets. They are well organized and operate in a similar fashion to their larger and more prestigious competitors, but at a more affordable price point. They are also well positioned to help technology companies or help to bring new tech enabled focused to traditional economy sectors.

Summary

· Modern, organized mid-size consulting firm catering to SME market.

· Strong research division comparable to large multinational firms.

· Well credentialed team, but not to same degree as larger firms.

· Technology focused, may be good option for tech-focused companies.

Recommendation: Affordable Consulting, Technology Focus

Price Range: $15,000 +

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Acquis Consulting Home Page

5. Acquis (acquisconsulting.com)

Located In: New York City

With offices globally, this small consulting firm has a variety of areas of focus that focus on strategy, specifically expansion and growth. The founder has extensive experience with prior experience working at Arthur Anderson and has represented many clients across digital transformation, expansion, and post-merger integration — all of which may be relevant when hiring a business plan consultant. They may be a good option for those seeking a global presence in a smaller firm with offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Summary

· Smaller firm with global reach across Europe and Asia.

· More affordable than larger National consulting firms.

· Headquartered in New York City with local team.

· Good senior partner experience that may work directly on engagements.

Recommendation: Best Overall

Price Point: $5,000 +

Freelancer Options

If you are limited on resources or a bootstrapping startup, typically for those $1,000 or under, there are several good freelancer websites where you can work remotely or locally with a business plan consultant.

We can’t speak to the quality of individuals on the platform, many times quality is relatively inconsistent, but it can be a good option to find someone qualified and hire them directly.

It’s not advisable as a complete alternative, however, as many of the firms listed above have quality control procedures, market research subscriptions, and project managers that deliver a higher level of quality.

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Bark Home Page

Bark (bark.com)

Bark is a relatively new company in the freelancer space and focuses on local freelancers. It is a one-stop-shop for anything freelance from residential housework to business requirements. It’s a good option if you prefer a more limited selection and to work with local freelancers in New York City that can travel to your office.

Recommendation: Local Freelancers

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UpWork Home Page

Upwork (upwork.com)

Upwork is a global freelancer platform that is the undisputed leader in the online freelancer space. It is very large and has freelancers for strictly business purposes. If you don’t mind working with someone remotely and want a larger network of consultants to choose from, it may be a good choice.

Recommendation: Most Freelancers

Helpful Tips When Hiring a Business Plan Consultant

Tips Hiring a Business Plan Consultant

When it comes to hiring a business plan consultant, there’s a few questions, or research areas, that would help you to better find the best firm for your needs.

Upon reviewing potential proposals and candidates, we encourage you to weigh the options based on these factors. Remember that every company is different and some of these may be more relevant than others, but these are listed in order of importance.

1. Ask about the credentials of their team members

Ultimately, you are hiring a group of people based on their credentials, which includes their education background and vocational experience. Ideally you want someone with a top undergraduate degree and/or MBA, with experience working for a large accounting, banking, or other finance firm.

Ideally, in investment banking or management consulting specifically, as this means they have likely prepared plans for institutional and high-profile clients in the past.

2. Ask about their relevant experience in your industry

It’s not often enough to have someone well credentialed, they also need to understand the intricacies of your specific industry. There are often specific Financial Ratios for each industry, similar companies, case studies, and market trends occurring, and it takes too long to get ‘up-to-speed’ with these things quickly.

Therefore, you really need to make sure that they have not only relevant industry experience, but also specific experience working on similar transactions. Make sure to ask, as not all companies will display their experience directly on the website or in sales materials.

3. Review their work samples and analyze their quality

Work quality itself is important. Upon conducting our review, we analyzed samples from fifty companies and found critical mistakes in 4% of them, and smaller but important errors or omissions in 12%.

After reviewing all of them, we also were able to quickly classify and categorize them by quality and map out which ones delivered the best work product. However, note that you cannot always rely solely on this, as some consultants may only show their best work which does not necessarily mean you will receive it.

4. Review their access and methods of gathering market research

Hiring a consultant also usually means that you get access to a large amount of market research that the firm typically subscribes to, has internally, or has specific methods of gathering it. This may be market trends, demographics research, competitive analysis, and more.

The best research is usually done in-house, as its more granular and helps you to make decisions more effectively. The broader and more abstract it is, the less relevant it is. Hence, it is important that the business plan consultants have access to both in-house market research, but also have methods to gather additional research as part of your engagement.

5. Understand their work flow and engagement terms

When you have short listed some companies, take some time to understand their typical process and engagement terms. Some business plan consulting firms have more ‘client focused’ approaches than others.

Whereas some are designed to get your project finished and move on, others spend more time to understand the details of your requirements and carefully implement what it is you need, while maintaining a relationship with your company and continuing to be a resource for you. While this isn’t the most important thing, it is helpful to understand where they stand up-front.

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