Business plans are an important tool in an entrepreneur's arsenal. A good plan can mean the difference between impressing investors and securing the funding you need or walking away empty-handed. If you need to draft a business plan   whether it's to raise capital or just ensure that you and your partners are on the same page   there are several online business plan software programs available, with LivePlan being our top pick.

However, creating a business plan from scratch can be daunting. Besides software applications that can help you draft and fine-tune your plan, there are also several companies that specialize in writing a business plan for you. While having a business plan service create your plan for you will cost you more than a do-it-yourself solution, there is also a lot of peace of mind knowing that industry experts and successful entrepreneurs are writing a plan that can be exactly what you need.

Here are our top picks of the best companies that can help you produce a professional, custom business plan:

MasterPlans
The consultants as MasterPlans are so good that, according to the company, at least, other online business plan services contract with them to write plans for their customers, including BusinessPlan.com. Even LivePlan uses MasterPlans' consultants as part of its mentor and professional services. It has a team of experts with knowledge in a broad range of industries and experience writing multiple business plan types, so you can feel confident that your business proposal will be impressive.

MasterPlans tailors each business plan based on your industry and services. However, you can also refine your business plan depending on the type of growth your company is experiencing, the funding you are seeking and the marketing goals you have set. MasterPlans has professionals with experience writing several kinds of plans, including strategic marketing plans, venture feasibility plans and business start-up plans. MasterPlans is one of a handful of services that have experts on hand that can create immigration plans for international workers.

The most important step in creating an effective business plan is research. Gathering crucial information can take hundreds of hours if you do it yourself. MasterPlans has professionals who can evaluate the market, funding options, legalities, financial gains and losses, and much more. You can get accurate growth projections, demonstrate the potential success of a comprehensive marketing strategy and outline what your competition is up to with the help of MasterPlans' advisors and research resources.

As part of the consulting process, MasterPlans experts can provide guidance and tips for start-up businesses or ideas on how to improve your existing company goals, including loopholes in ventures. MasterPlans has experts that can answer any legal questions as it pertains to your business. It has also partnered with several investors that either advise you on how to approach an investment presentation or identify possible investors for your company.

Capital West Advisors
Capital West Advisors, or CWA, is a California-based business plan-writing service that has satellite offices in Chicago and New York. However, you don't have to meet face to face with these professionals in order to take advantage of their services. CWA offers several ways for you to keep connected with your team throughout the entire business plan-creation process. Email and telephone contact are both available, and your writing team is quick to answer any questions you have.

CWA has experience writing a variety of business plans, including start-up plans, funding and investment plans, and strategic marketing plans. It also has knowledge in several industries, so you can get a plan tailored to retail, healthcare, internet or even alternative energy/green services.

Before drafting your business plan, you can see some of CWA's work by browsing through samples of business plan outlines on its website. These examples provide good insight into the depth CWA goes into preparing a top-notch business plan. CWA is able to write your business plan and deliver it within 21 business days. If you need your plan sooner, CWA provides rush services for an additional fee.

Besides drafting business plans, CWA offers several consulting services as part of its services. For example, CWA offers tips on starting a new business, acquiring financing for a new venture and how to best pitch your idea to potential investors. CWA can also help identify investors that may be a good fit for your particular business venture.

Wise Business Plans
Wise Business Plans uses a five-step planning process to help prepare the best written plan for your business venture. This includes writers who hold a master's degree in business administration that have experience in your particular industry who can research current market trends and develop the required financials. Design experts can add colorful graphics and other elements to your plan to make it stand out and add another dimension of professionalism.

Wise Business Plans has an impressive selection of sample online business plans on its website it has created for other businesses. You can browse through them for ideas and get a feel for their quality of work. In addition to start-up and SBA-compliant funding plans, Wise Business Plans has expertise in writing strategic marketing plans, investment plans, feasibility plans and immigration plans.

You can have your business plan ready quickly, too; the average turnaround time is 10 days. Wise Business Plans will provide you with two professionally printed and bound copies of your plan ready to hand to an investor or lender. You will also receive a CD with a digital version in case you need to print out more copies or email an electronic copy to partners and potential stakeholders.

After you have your business plan ready, Wise Business Plans can also help you identify potential investors. This includes private investors, angel networks, venture capital companies or other funding possibilities if you're a small business. Wise Business Plans helps you identify which potential funding sources best fit your needs, and it can steer you in the right direction of where to find them.

Writing a business plan is stressful, not to mention it takes a lot of effort and time. It's not uncommon to spend 100 or more hours creating a plan. Business plan companies make creating a business plan from scratch their sole focus and priority. These experts know the various industries very well and can help you gather the most current and accurate information, such as financials, successful marketing strategies and future growth possibilities, leaving you with less to worry about and more time to devote to growing your business.

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