Do the Numbers Ultimately, a business plan shows how your company will make money. Even the simplest plan needs to include financial reports such as charts for profit-and-loss, balance sheets, and month-by-month and yearly projections.
You might claim that the Jewish deli you propose to open in Asheville, North Carolina will turn a profit in three years, but the market data suggests five years is typical. This data helps you back up your assertions before a banker can raise an eyebrow. This is a "nice-to-have" feature for some businesses but an irrelevant one for others. Report Depth and Presentation The result of all of this work is a business plan, a document for others to read.
So, you need to highlight the parts to come back to after your accountant responds, for example. Or, the software should at least save data in some kind of draft status. However, across all of these apps, some forms insist you must enter something in a field before it will save everything on the page, which is irksome.
Worse, it could lead to errors because you might not remember to go back and fix the temporary guess. You Still Need a Spreadsheet In general, these business plan software solutions will act as though you are reasonably organized before you log into their websites wherein you will paste summary information.
However, based on my hands-on experience, I advise you to still expect to do background math yourself. For instance, if you need to fill in the projected head count for marketing for the next five years and you keep adjusting the number of people to hire based on your spreadsheet guesswork , expect to keep manually updating the total in the software rather than having the data automatically sync. In other words, these business plan software solutions are helpers, not "I will do the thinking for you" kind of apps.
These are all SaaS apps, some of which have a free version with the basics as well as a paid version with more feature depth. If your needs are incredibly simple and you just need "fill-in-the-blanks" forms to give to a banker, then you may find several completely free options that do the trick. A Plan for All Businesses These business plan software solutions must be relevant for everyone, from a solo entrepreneur trying to open a small to midsize accounting firm to an established manufacturing company aiming to fund a new factory.
To judge suitability to task, I used data from two real business plans: I also measured the software against the business plan I once wrote with the help of professional advisors back when I sought significant VC. All of these business plan software solutions are good apps; none of them gravely disappoint. However, each of the 10 business plan software solutions reviewed has strengths that may make one a better choice over another for your business.
So, look at all of the options to see which one is the best fit for you. Featured Business Plan Software Reviews: An impressive range of customizable features.
Lots of online learning help. Loads of customizable features necessitates a learning curve. Highly configurable and detailed business plan. Advice from business experts. Able to generate financial statements and projections without outside spreadsheet software. Links to third-party services. Few sample business plans.
Offers unique services that match entrepreneurs with investors, with business plan features to enable that process. If you simply need a plan to sell your local Angel investor on your process, EquityNet probably is overkill.
Still, its bundled business planning tool is solid and can help speed startups toward getting funded. Strong budgeting and forecasting features. Links to analytics add-on. Requires some financial sophistication to use. Lacks sample business plan templates. Still, rank beginners or those less focused on financial calculations might need to look elsewhere. Adds project management tools to business planning. The price is unbeatable. Expect to do more work on your own.
High degree of manual input and spreadsheet work needed. Unfortunately, that process is marred by the need for extensive manual data entry and spreadsheet work.
Plenty of customization options. Excellent automation of variable data. Not much help text provided for how to create missions and operations statements. While its help resources leave something to be desired, Enloop is a good choice for those with relatively simple planning needs. Variety of currencies and templates.
Rudimentary set of options. NET from NetEkspert is a fairly easy way to build a quick business plan, but the company seems more focused on helping consultants build plans for clients rather than on folks building business plans for their own use. Team-based collaborative approach to business planning. Ability to bring in outside parties through the portal.
Fire up your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Write a regular blog gulp. Go to conferences and workshops. Even introverts can excel at networking. Most importantly, use word of mouth marketing to your advantage. Similarly, writing a cheap business plan is possible too. Check out my earlier blog listing sources of sample business plans. Use your networking contacts to find someone who runs a similar business, in your town or somewhere else.
They usually LOVE to talk about their business! Pick your venture carefully Service businesses tend to be cheaper to start up than product-based ventures. Cheap Marketing Marketing is typically the biggest expense for a service business.
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Low-Cost Startups and Business Plans. By Rolfe Larson on April 18, Cheap Business Plans. Similarly, writing a cheap business plan is possible too. Don’t hire a consultant (double gulp). Check out my earlier blog listing sources of sample business plans. Use your networking contacts to find someone who runs a similar business, in. Affordable Business Plan Writing Help. One of the most important components of starting a business is producing a business plan, which offers a roadmap for your business’s next three to five years.
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