Starting a small business has a number of challenges, and in order to be successful one needs a good business and marketing plan. If you are like most small businesses you do not have a lot of capital to spend on someone developing a business plan for you. Thus you are the person that will be writing a business plan and determining all the strategic initiatives of the business, how much to charge, policies on returns or complaints concerning service, etc. There are a number of different options in terms of software that will help you build your business plan. I have found the five that I think offers the most. Some are less expensive compared to others, but that does not always mean that it is not as good.
The software company Plan Ware offers their software Plan write for $129.99 which comes with a number of features that will help you write your business plan. The software is packed with different wizards to guide you through critical areas, there are also a number of examples. This software interfaces with QuickBooks Pro so that it can use data from QuickBooks to analyze your business. Financial areas can also create 3D color graphs to give a more visual effect to your planning goals. This company also offers an online demo so that you can work with the software prior to purchase to gain a feel of how comfortable you will be with the product.
Business Plan Pro offers two editions; standard and premier. The standard version sells for $99.00, and the premier sells for $199.00. This software offers over 500 sample business plans, one to fit your business. As with most business planning software this one interfaces with Microsoft Office products. Added benefits like including two business planning books as well as Inc magazine help in marketing this software as the ideal software to use in creating a business plan. The premier option allows one to create their own templates, import from Excel, and offers more financial analysis options than the standard edition. Another nice aspect is that Business Plan Pro allows one to import data from Peachtree (another popular account software for the small business).
For those looking for a more green option, Capital Business Plan will allow you to create your business plan all online using their SasS (Software as a Service), and the cost is free. This is a very basic version of a business plan software, but it does walk one though the critical steps of a business plan; from the Executive Summary to the Operations and Marketing Plans, this software will help you prepare your plan. One nice aspect of the online experience is that other people can contribute (not at same time) to the plan. Therefore, if you have a business partner that is on a trip or in another part of the world that person can logon and add their notes to the plan.
Biz Plan Builder offers a nice software product for the price of $129.95. This software offers more features in terms of helping you to find investors and lenders and the software is tailored to produce the best report possible for the investors and lenders. I like that this software can be installed onto a server and multiple people can collaborate on the outcome together. This business plan software also incorporates thousands of plan templates. The downside is that the software might seem a little overwhelming, and can be more advanced than what your business needs.
The final software that I found was from PlanMagic Corporation. They have two editions the Business Planning and Business Planning AE (Advanced Edition). The standard package costs $99.95 and the AE (Advanced Edition) costs 195.00. One of the features that I liked is that PlanMagic has four sub options of Business Planning, Retail Planning, Construction Planning and Non Profit Planning. If you are not running a retail location or construction you will want to use the standard Business edition. This software also helps in forecasting for five years, and you can break out costs by variable and fixed. The AE version allows for a 10 year planning and financial analysis, and has more reports that rival most accounting software.
With the availability of software to create a good business plan, there is nothing stopping you from planning your business in order to plan your success as one needs a good plan to succeed. From simple to very comprehensive one of the business planning software options above will be able to meet your needs. Do not forget to include marketing plans when you are developing your business plan.
Plan Ware Web Site http://www.planware.org/salepwb.htm
Business Plan Pro Web Site http://www.businessplanpro.com/
Capital Business Plans Web Site http://capitalbusinessplan.com/cbp-features
Biz Plan Builder Web Site http://www.jian.com/store/business-plan-builder-win.html
PlanMagic Corporation Web Site http://planmagic.com/business_plan.html