In our latest director briefing we spoke to Andrew Wilson, the founder of Horizon Business Plans. Andrew takes us through what Horizon Business Plans does, what he has learned from his experience in the finance sector and what he loves most about helping business write exceptional business plans. Read on to learn about Andrew’s story and how Horizon Business Plans can help your business get the funding it needs to grow and thrive.
Eden Exchange: Hello Andrew, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. First off, can you tell us about your professional background and experience in the sector?
Andrew Wilson: Sure can. My background is in banking with 12 years experience at ANZ, including time as a business banker. It was here when working with hundreds of small businesses that I uncovered a need to support businesses with their planning.
Many small businesses don’t write a business plan until they’re asked to by the bank. At this point, it’s hard to work out where to start and what the banks might be looking for. That’s what I wanted to help people with.
Eden Exchange: What is it that Horizon Business Plans does? How does it differ from other competitors in the market?
Andrew Wilson: Horizon Business Plans helps small businesses to write exceptional business plans to highlight the uniqueness of their business. There are three things that really set Horizon apart from the others:
1. With an extensive background in finance, we form a business plan in “bank speak” that cuts straight to what the banks are looking for in a business plan.
2. We aim to make things as simple as possible for the business owner. We start with a little kick in the right direction and then we’re off and running to do the hard work for you.
3. Our plans are exceptionally presented. We prefer a mix of visual and text elements instead of pages and pages of boring text. Why? Because no one wants to read that much anymore. They want to quickly scan the document, get a good overview of what you do and then move on. Visuals such as graphs, charts and images make this possible.
Eden Exchange: Considering your long term corporate background, what factors made you change your career path and start Horizon Business Plans?
Andrew Wilson: In a word? Purpose. I had an opportunity to sit down and think about what I wanted to do with my life… and after way too many cups of coffee, I decided that I wanted to leave the corporate world to do something with real purpose. Helping out small businesses to thoroughly plan for success is a great place to start.
Eden Exchange: Is there anything you learned while working at your previous employment that you have taken away and implemented into how you run your current business?
Andrew Wilson: In my banking career I learned what the banks are looking for in a business plan. Knowing your audience is critical when writing a business plan. They want to know who you are as the business owner, why you started the business, what your business does and how you do it. All of this needs to be demonstrated when writing a business plan for a bank and our aim is to weave this into your unique story as we document the plan.
Eden Exchange: What current services do you offer clients and how do you tailor their business plan to suit their needs?
Andrew Wilson: We offer a range of business plan options. This starts from an express 5-10 page plan which is aimed at giving a quick overview of the business, and ranges all the way up to a comprehensive 30-40 page plan which covers the business inside out and gets into more detail on things like process mapping, industry analysis and strategic planning.
Eden Exchange: What benefits can clients expect from working with Horizon Business Plans?
Andrew Wilson: My clients tell me that before working with Horizon Business Plans they were overwhelmed and unsure where to start on their planning journey.
Once they’ve gone through our process they leave with a document that is clear, captures their unique story and is visually impressive. This means they have much more clarity about what they do and where all the moving parts in their business fit. They also have far greater confidence when approaching the bank, knowing they are on solid footing.
Eden Exchange: Have you had any goals and milestones your company has achieved since starting Horizon Business Plans?
Andrew Wilson: I started this business in December 2018 while still working full time at ANZ. Having helped many happy customers throughout 2019, launching this business full time in February 2020 was a huge milestone. It’s not ideal that we landed in a pandemic though, is it? That being said; now more than ever, it is so important for businesses to plan thoroughly for what is to come. So being able to help small businesses out during this tough time has been very rewarding.
Eden Exchange: What are your plans for the future? Where do you foresee the greatest development of your business?
Andrew Wilson: With the business planning side up and running, we’ll be looking to add new services down the track. Some of these might include writing pitch decks (which we’ve already helped a number of businesses with), completing mini-business health checks and even assisting with government grants.
Our vision is to become a one-stop-shop for professionally written documents required for funding of any kind, whether that be through the banks, investors, government grants or even crowd-funding. There’s a bright future on the horizon for us, so watch this space.
Eden Exchange: Are there any other businesses like Horizon Business Plans in the market today?
Andrew Wilson: Interestingly, there aren’t stacks of us business plan writers around. Having the background in banking really helps, as it means we fit nicely into the finance ecosystem as a helper, not a competitor to the likes of finance brokers, accountants and banks.
Eden Exchange: What are the next steps in the development for your company and what are your goals as the founder?
Andrew Wilson: My goal is to help as many businesses as possible to really have a positive impact on the lives of the people that run them. I’m also especially passionate about helping businesses that also have a positive impact on the world, which is why many of my clients to date have been in the sustainability or social impact arena.
Eden Exchange: Finally, is there anything you wish to say to anyone that might be interested in pursuing further information about Horizon Business Plans?
Andrew Wilson: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Despite this, so many businesses fail to get their thoughts out of their head and onto paper. We know that writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task, but taking small steps can have a big impact. Take that first small step by getting in touch today.
Eden Exchange: Thank you Andrew, it’s been a pleasure.
About Horizon Business Plans:
Having seen many businesses struggling to write their business plans over the years, Horizon Business Plans founder Andrew Wilson decided to put his skills in finance, marketing, strategy and pricing to good use. One year later, Horizon Business Plans was launched.
Horizon Business Plans is on a mission to help small businesses to write well-researched and well-structured business plans that are specifically tailored for their intended audience.
Writing a business plan is like writing a story. And in this story, your business is the hero that solves challenging problems for its customers. We aim to capture your unique story. This helps to answer the key questions that your audience is asking:
- Who is running the business?
- Why are they running the business?
- What does the business do?
- How do they manage the business successfully?
If you can paint this picture, you’re well on the way to writing a business plan that your audience will understand and believe.