Many great businesses started with these same events, but millions more never got beyond them. Going from random napkin-notes to an organized, thorough plan to get your business started, funded, and generating revenue for the foreseeable future can be a mammoth undertaking, especially for beginners and even more so for people trying to go it alone.
This will help you attract the right people and resources to implement your idea. A business plan tells others how you will get customers and clients, who will run the business, and how early-stage venture capital VC will be raised. Business plans help you talk about yourself, explain your strengths, and ask for money to back up your idea. That is, you want a bank loan, VC funding, or other help to get your startup off the ground.
In all of these cases, the business owner has to do something that can be scary: Believe me, I know. In my pre-journalistic life, I wrote two in-depth business plans. So, when we lack expertise, we should ask for help. Software with "follow the bouncing ball" instructions for business plans can serve the same role as online accounting services because, in each case, you rely on specialists to walk you through the process. Even better, many of the products we review in this business plan creation tool roundup back up their software offerings with in-person coaching and mentoring as well as loads of online learning resources, like videos and how-to articles.
The 10 online business plan software solutions examined in this roundup —Atlas Business Solutions Ultimate Business Planner 5. All of these online business plan software solutions certainly do deliver on their promise to help you, and none of them are bad choices.
Here are eight key factors to look for when choosing a business plan software solution for your business:. Ideally, the business planning software solution will walk you through each section that is appropriate for your class of business, ensuring you answer all of the relevant questions.
These solutions may prompt you to respond to issues that you might not have thought to address. 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. Contact us directly for a price and timeframe quote. Having the right research to support your concept is essential when presenting a business plan to achieve funding. At Optimus, our suite of tools includes research databases such as IBISWorld and The Brandow Company so that we can include the best data available in your business plan.
Business Plan Development Our Business Plan Writing and Development Process We write every business plan from scratch so that we capture the unique aspects of your business fully. Unlimited Revisions All of our business plan development clients get six months of free, unlimited revisions and editing.
We schedule an in-person or over-the-phone Kickoff Session with you. OBP consultants will evaluate information from the Kickoff Session, existing client collateral, and complete all necessary research to compose your business plan.
OBP will send you the full plan for review. We will revise your business plan according to your requests. We will continue steps 4 and 5 as necessary to achieve the perfect final business plan for you. If you want, we can help get you and your plan in front of our network of lenders and investors.
A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan. Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.
If you have a killer idea for a startup, but lack the time, resources and budget to develop a business plan, a business plan-generating app can help you get your plan on paper and, ideally, off the ground. A number of apps simplify the often tedious, complicated process of crafting a thorough bank- and investor-ready business plan.
We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. This guide will explain why a business plan is a must-have, provide a shortcut to the business planning process, help you collect important background information, and get .
All of our business plan development clients get six months of free, unlimited revisions and editing. We believe that once you are a client of ours, you are a client for a lifetime. That’s why we edit and make changes to all of our business plans an unlimited number of times within a six month window for no additional charge – provided there are no major business concept changes. Oct 23, · The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments, how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success/5().