Like creating invoices, business plans are a necessity for every business. Business plans can be daunting, especially when converting your start-up to paper for the world to see and thinking about all the different aspects of running your business—before it exists.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, other people have assessed the needs of new entrepreneurs and provided a wealth of online tools to assist in the process, whether you’re looking to recruit investment capital from angel investors to fleshing out your business’ idea and taking on the local competition. Read on to investigate a collection of templates, software, applications, and service that can help your business with a professional-looking business plan.
As with anything that a business can encounter, there’s a template for that.
For modest start-ups, there is the $100 Startup’s One-Page Business Plan (100startup.com/resources/business-plan.pdf), an informal business plan which addresses modest questions like “What will you sell?”, “How will you make money from this business?” and defines marketing as “Hustling.” It’s enough to get your business up-to-snuff among founders and interested parties, but not something you’d like to show investors.
Bplans (www.bplans.com/sample_business_plans.php) offers a step up from the previous, as each business plan is tailored to the particular industry that you’ll be starting your business in. There’s over 500+ types of business plans, so you’d be hard pressed not to find an applicable template for your business.
If you’re looking for a more-professional looking template that offers built-in text tutorial on each business-plan section’s function, check out the excellent small business resource and non-profit SCORE.org (www.score.org/resources/business-planning-financial-statements-template-gallery). In addition to business plans for start-ups, the website also offers templates for financial planning, sales forecasts, market research, and business plans for already-established businesses. Definitely be sure to bookmark this page if you’re looking for other essential resources for your business and beyond.
Finally, if you’re looking for a template that can market your business to investors, venture capitalists, and other sources of funding, check out Rocket Lawyer’s Business Plan (www.rocketlawyer.com/form/business-plan.rl). The website has some helpful hints to make a winning business plan, highlighting the considerations you must take into account. After finishing your business plan, all that remains is to sign it, date it, and cross your fingers.
Software for Business Plans
While templates can be useful, sometimes it helps to have all the resources you’ll need together to create a comprehensive business plan in one package. Look for software that combines sample plans, templates, reporting capabilities based on your data, forecasting tools, financial charts, and so forth. In addition, look for business plan software that allows you to export to multiple formats, including PDF’s, Quickbooks, the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Access), and other file formats.
For first-time users, Palo Alto Software’s Business Plan Pro (www.paloalto.com/business_plan_software) offers a user-friendly business plan creator in an easy-to-use package. By filling out a questionnaire about your business, your business plan (and other documents) are populated with your details, saving your time from redundant form filling. There’s also a drag-and-drop chart builder and several resources to help with more involved tasks like forecasting, market research, and financial planning.
If you’re looking for a more-advanced business plan software catered towards the knowledgable entrepreneur, then be sure to investigate JIAN’s BizPlan Builder (www.jian.com/project/business-plan-software-template/). This software helps in creating a business plan and a business model, simultaneously. Useful business documents that every start-up needs are included, like partnership agreements, financial statements, public relations documents, and much more, as well helpful reading material to hone their pitches for investors and develop a thriving business. Much like SCORE.org, BizPlan Builder offers innumerable resources to answer virtually any question you may have, including user support, online advice, FAQs, and workshops.
Apps for Business Plans
If you are looking to make your business plan, but don’t have the time to be working on your laptop or desktop PC, there’s a number of mobile apps that can work with your tablet and smartphone to help nail down the finer points of your business plan on-the-go.
If you’re looking for a mobile app for your iPad, StratPad (www.stratpad.com/) offers the ability to refine your business plan while not glued to your desk. This cloud-based application features valuable features, such as sample business plans to refer to, financial projections, tutorials for strategic business planning, financial reports, and resources to tailor your business plan for investors. In addition to this functionality, you can export PDFs to clients after downloading StratPad free from the Apple App Store. Additional features and functionality require in-app purchases.
If you are an Android user, Business Plan & Start Startup offers a wide range of functionality and educational opportunities for the new entrepreneur, while offering experienced business owners a great toolkit to stay productive while staying mobile. The app has functions to keep your business on track and stay motivated, a plethora of Youtube and podcasts to assist in the finer points of running a business, and best of all, provide access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts. Download Business Plan & Start Startup from the Google Play store for free. As with Stratpad, additional features require in-app purchases.
Other notable business plan apps:
Business Plan Premier (itunes.apple.com/us/app/business-plan-premier/id527732934?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4) – For Apple devices only
Live Plan (www.liveplan.com/) – Works for both Apple and Android platforms
5min Business Plan (itunes.apple.com/us/app/5min-business-plan/id608239285?mt=8) – for Apple devices only
Services for Business Plans
If you still find the prospect of crafting your own business plan daunting without professional help, there’s still a number of options available for the busy start-up owner.
With over seventeen years of professional experience, Professional Business Plans (www.professionalbusinessplans.com.au/) offers all-inclusive services to help with generating all the documents you need to generate investment capital and flesh out the finer aspects of your business.
Boasting their impressive track record of generating $120,000,000 in start-up capital and assisting over 1,000 businesses achieve their business dreams, consider contacting Smart Business Plans (www.smartbusinessplans.com.au/) to refine your business idea into the next thriving business.