When I spoke to researchers at Columbia university, there were a number of questions for our editors:
In answer to the question: "Is there a benefit in thinking about selecting a journal at the start of a project - for example when developing a research question - as opposed to at the completion of the work?"
It is unlikely that selecting a journal for potential publication at the start of a project would guide the development of a research question, or the achievement of better results. Normally, it is only once the results have been gathered and interpreted that it makes sense to start thinking about a venue for publication. Selecting a journal before starting a draft of the paper can however be useful, as it can inform the writing style of the paper.
In answer to the question: "Are there any templates available for specific journals so I can prepare my manuscript in advance and make sure it is in an appropriate format?"
For Nature journals, there are no templates as such, as they will consider a paper submitted in any format at the stage of first submission. If the paper is then accepted for publication, the editors will provide guidance to ensure that the format complies with the journal standards. However, prior to submission, it is useful to become familiar with the main format requirements – such as word and figure limits – of the journal you intend to submit to. These requirements are available in the guide to authors of each journal.
And regarding the question about getting feedback prior to submitting a paper, submission, there is a video titled 'Presubmission enquiries at scientific journals' that covers this. Here is a link to that video: https://masterclasses.nature.com/courses/28/videos/520
You might find the module 'Submitting Your Paper' particularly useful for answering further questions in this area.