The business plans store offers a business plan authoring tool, which starts at $ 22 for a three-month subscription. In addition to creating the plan, the software is also able to forecast three to five years. The app does a good job of guiding entrepreneurs and business owners by collecting financial projections and descriptive text and then generates an engaging business plan document. However, unlike much of the competition, the app doesn’t provide much guidance on what exactly to write in your business plan, which puts it somewhat behind our Editors’ Choice winners in this review. category, Palo Alto LivePlan software ($ 19.95 at LivePlan) and Tarkenton GoSmallBiz ($ 19.95 at LivePlan) .
There are two steps to creating a business plan using the Business Plan Store. In a module, you write about your business and its goals. The text editor asks you to describe the company, its market and the financial highlights of the company, with more details solicited on the products, competition, strategy and operations. The other module is a financial section that invites you to provide information about your lines of business, overheads, investments, and capital, including the nature of the investment you are looking for. This section includes data on your products and services as well as their sales forecasts and expenses.
The numbers are tabulated as you go so you can see the progress of building the plan and its financial feasibility. Everything is organized in a tabbed user interface (UI) that looks more like a “desktop” than a “web page”. I kept closing sections only to realize that I should have moved to another tab before I hit save. Some entrepreneurs may be more comfortable working this way, but for this longtime internet user, the user interface was a bit off-putting.
The Financial Forecast section of the Business Plan Shop collects information on products and services by month, for three or five years. Cost of goods sold is tied to sales forecasts, so you can brainstorm your predictions and ask questions like “What if we increase the unit price?” What would be the impact if we could negotiate Net-60 with our suppliers? “You can also adjust the payables terms for accounts payable, giving you visibility into cash flow. While you still need a spreadsheet handy, the way Business Plan Shop organizes them. income and expenditure allows much more manipulation of figures than its competition.
Some people rely heavily on examples and help texts. A business owner may be intimidated by the way of expressing himself (eg, “What do they expect me to write here ?!”)) and therefore may expect the software includes education and “attaboy” insurance in addition to the fields to be completed. This is where you might be disappointed with The Business Plan Shop as its examples and instructions are minimal. They are certainly suitable for someone who knows the language of investors, but its help text is unlikely to reassure a newbie. (I have my copy of the book, How to prepare and present a business plan, which I bought in 1984, so I’m fine. You might also need to read.)
A plus: the Business Plan Shop application offers many categories. Depending on how much incentive you desire, this can help you with your “But what am I saying?” Moment of panic or help alleviate that feeling of being overwhelmed. Instead of a dialog box and a large text box asking, “Write marketing plan here,” the business plan store digs deeper. For example, you are reminded to write about barriers to entry into the business or about industry and government regulations. The Operations section requests a plan of people, key assets, intellectual property (IP) and suppliers. The text accompanying the financial plan asks you to note business assumptions (such as market size and projected cash flows). All of this means that the Business Plan Shop app makes you think about important issues, even if it can’t help you find the right answers or (as some of its competitors do) suggest how your business stacks up against. ‘others in the same field.
Despite the number of its questions, you don’t have to write about everything. Just like Enloop ($ 19.95 at LivePlan) allows, I liked that the Business Plan Store let you control which sections of text to include or exclude so your plan can omit a section on, say , government regulations if the topic is not relevant to your new quilt shop.
Its editor supports more
The editor supports more than plain text, so you can use italics, HTML links, and images. Certain sections of text also allow you to insert dynamically updated items elsewhere in the plan, such as a cost of goods sold (COGS) chart or an annual profit and loss (P&L) table.
However, the software is set for a new business. It doesn’t ask about the past performance of an existing business, as this might allow you to assure an investor that since you have been selling these items for five years, you are ready to sell even. Following of them now after your successful research and development (R&D).
The Financial Overheads section gives you a starting list of expenses to pay to keep the lights on (for example, travel, utilities, and office supplies) as well as their payment terms (taking into account management of expenses). cash flow). This section is fully customizable. So if you want to track things specific to your industry, it’s easy to add or edit them.
The software allows you to download the generated business plan as a PDF or Microsoft Word file, just as StratPad ($ 19.95 at LivePlan) allows you to do so. The plan generated by the Business Plan Shop presents the text you entered well and incorporates financial analysis tables and graphs that reflect all the figures you have carefully entered. The document won’t wow you with its beauty as the exquisitely finished documents created by EquityNet ($ 19.95 at LivePlan) do, but they are well organized and easy for an investor to understand, which ultimately is what. who counts.
The Business Plan Shop gets top marks for its ability to adjust data and plan sections to an entrepreneur’s needs. It’s good for brainstorming, especially for a new business. But the app offers light assistance in the “follow the bouncing ball” approach to making a plan. There is no reason not to choose this app, except that Editors’ Choices Palo Alto Software LivePlan and Tarkenton GoSmallBiz outperform it.
The bottom line
The Business Plan Shop provides some pretty good business plan writing help, but mostly for people who know what needs to be in the document. Newbies or those looking for tips for writing plans will need to keep looking.
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