Tag Archives: Business Plan Consultants

The Structures of Social Enterprise

The Structures of Social Enterprise from The Startup Garage

The Structures of Social Enterprise

We are beginning to see more and more companies begin to blend their traditional corporate structures with a more modern obligation to philanthropy and social awareness. Social Entrepreneurism is on the rise and suddenly profit isn’t the only driving force behind big business. Across the nation, various legislations have passed to establish new corporate structures that aid the social entrepreneur in improving environmental, educational, social, and economic conditions.

 

The Benefit Corporation

Legal state entities that mandate corporations focus on public benefits alongside their for-profit enterprise. Shifts mainstream thought away from maximizing shareholder value towards maximizing stakeholder value by placing an emphasis on social issues. Required annual reports provide transparency to the public and accountability toward the company. These reports are not required to be assessed by third-parties; however, this will change under California law in January 2012. (Read more about the difference between Benefit and B-Corporations in the blog below)

Available in: Maryland, Vermont, Virginia, New Jersey, Hawaii, California

The L3C

Formally known as a Low Profit Limited Liability Company, L3Cs are legal forms of business corporations that blend non-profit and for-profit investment efforts with a socially beneficial structure. With reduced regulations granted from the IRS, an L3C is classified organization that sets to attain social goals first, with profit second.

Available in: Vermont, Michigan, Wyoming, Utah, Illinois, North Carolina, Louisiana, Maine, Rhode Island

Flexible-Purpose Corporation

A Flexible-Purpose Corporation is a socially conscious enterprise that allows for extreme flexibility in their structure and processes. These corporations specify a “special purpose”, either with a social cause or charitable activity, in addition to their pursuit of seeking profit. While most business corporations focus mostly on maximizing shareholder value, the goal of Flexible-Purpose Corps is to have a structured legal organization where profit is pursued alongside social aims.

Available in: California

Main Differences:

  • Company profit is still an expressed purpose of a Flexible-Purpose and Benefit Corporation, with neither profit nor social issue outweighing the other. With an L3C, the public benefit comes first, profit second.
  • Flexible-Purpose and Benefit Corporations both produce annual reports on their purposes and objectives. Only in California, do Benefit Corporations require third-party assessment on the reports.
  • On a scale from a fully functioning Business Corporation to a Non-Profit, Flexible-Purpose Corps would tilt towards Business Corporations, while Benefit Corporations tilted towards Non-Profits. L3Cs would be the mark directly before a full Non-Profit.

 

Whether you have a question about Starting a Social Enterprise or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

How to Choose a Business Plan Writer

How to Choose a Business Plan Writer from The Startup Garage

How to Choose a Business Plan Writer

Regardless of whether you are a first time entrepreneur starting a new business or a seasoned entrepreneur seeking capital to leverage your existing business, any investor will require a business plan. Writing a business plan is incredibly daunting for most business owners, whether because of difficulty, lack of time or lack of expertise. As a result, many entrepreneurs turn to professional business plan writers and/or consulting firms to write their business plan for them.

When searching for a business plan writer or consulting firm, you will find there is a large variety in the types of services offered, the approach taken and the price quoted. Below are a few tips to consider when evaluating your options:

Collaboration

First and foremost, be cautious of any company that promises to write a business plan for you in less than week and only requires a limited amount of information from you. You should enter this process knowing that you, as the client, are the expert in your business and that you will be required to work side-by-side with your business plan service provider to ensure that your plan reflects your business and your goals. The service provider should have a sense of what type of collaborative or consultative process works best, but nonetheless, your involvement in the process is paramount.

Writing Quality and Previous Success

Before hiring a writer, you should request samples of previous business plans. Upon reviewing the sample, ensure that the writing is succinct and to the point (as this is what investors prefer) and that the document is free of any typos or major mistakes. Be sure to critically evaluate the executive summary and financial model as this is where investors will spend the majority of their time.

Furthermore, you should try to gauge your service provider’s track record. While the service provider likely will not have an exact percentage of success, they may be able to provide the amount of funding they have helped their clients secure or the number of businesses successfully launched. At minimum, they should be able to point to a few success stories that you can verify later on. You should also ask if the service provider has any testimonials available and potentially even references.

Price is Not Everything

As is the case with most service based businesses, you often get what you pay for. Nonetheless, you should certainly shop around your business plan to gain an understanding of the pricing options available, do not make the mistake of evaluating a business plan writer simply on the price they give. While you can likely assume that the cheapest option available will result in a lower quality product and service, the inverse is not necessarily true in that the most expensive option will result in the best product and service.

In any case, no matter how cash-strapped your company is in its pre-funding stage, you should not cut any corners on your business plan. A proper business plan will greatly increase your chances of raising capital and operating a successful business. Similarly, an inadequate business plan will stop you dead in your tracks. As a result, spending money on a business plan should not be seen as an expense, but rather an investment that you are making in your company’s future success.

 

Whether you have a question about Choosing a Business Plan Writer or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!