But not everybody is playing it straight. A few weeks ago, I received an “Invite Only” request from somebody who was looking for help to complete “a nearly finished” business plan. In 7 out of 10 cases, this rhetoric is a dead giveaway that a professional bailed from working on the assignment and the project derailed. There are many good reasons for why I don’t meddle with another professional’s work and thus, decline such requests. In this case though the guy seemed in a real pickle; so, I agreed to take a look. The document he received was a mess. It was one of these bloated brochure-like business plans with an intricate layout, lots of images and generic, page-filling language. While the guy on the receiving end knew that his business plan wasn’t up to par, he had no idea he was facing a do-over. According to him, this was the product of a premier business plan consultancy, which claimed to have raised $4 billion and served more than 2,400 clients. Suspecting that neither was likely to be a true statement, I made contact with the firm. After eventually getting through to the consultant “in charge” and confronting him with the severe shortfalls in his document, he admitted to being only the project manager and that, due to the client’s limited budget, it was, in fact, a junior associate, who created this business plan. Of course, there was no junior associate. Following another verbal fistfight with the project manager, he gave up a Gmail address that led to a young guy in Nepal, who confirmed to have won the project on one of the platforms based on a bid of $300. He said that this was his fifth project with this buyer and that the buyer sometimes helps to “make good document for their client”. So, the premier business plan consultancy turned out to be a business plan mill. In case you are not familiar with the term, a business plan mill is nothing but a broker. They secure business planning projects only to outsource them to third-party providers often based on no other criteria than who submits the lowest bid.