Business Plan Software: Do You Need It?

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 Business   plan  software is something that often gets overlooked

and isn’t considered to be a necessity for some reason. In my

opinion,  business   plan  software is essential, it is not a luxury.

I am a huge advocate of  business   planning . When people ask me if

they need a  business   plan , my response is, “Absolutely!” You see,

starting a  business  without a  business   plan  is akin to starting

college without a degree plan. If you don’t know where you are

going, you won’t know how to get there. You will waste your time

and your money if you are not following a plan. It’s really that

simple!

So, you know you need a  business   plan , but what about  business 

 plan  software? For  business   planning , there are really three

alternatives: 1) crafting your own  business   plan  from scratch; 2)

hiring a  business   plan  writer or  business   planning  consultant; or

3) using  business   plan  software to write your own  business   plan .

Each of these alternatives has its own advantages and

disadvantages.

Writing your own  business   plan  from scratch is certainly a

possibility. Doing so gives you the freedom to format and arrange

the plan in any way that you see fit. On the other hand, doing

financial projections, which are necessary for the purpose of

budgeting and financial  planning , can be difficult to do without

a  business   plan  program, or at least financial projection

software or spreadsheets.

Hiring a  business   plan  writer makes sense for some people. A

 business   plan  writer is generally well-versed in  business 

 planning  and will have insight that will assist you in preparing

a comprehensive  business   plan  that takes everything into account.

The disadvantages to having your  business   plan  professionally

written are the expense associated with the initial  plan , and the

limitations that exist in regard to changing it as your  business 

evolves, which is something that  business   plan  software empowers

you to do.

 Business   plan  software is relatively inexpensive when compared to

hiring a professional  business   plan  writer or consultant.

However, when compared to doing your own plan from scratch, it

may seem like an unnecessary expense.  Business   plan  software does

have many advantages. A good  business   plan  software package, like

 Business   Plan  Pro by Palo Alto, has the headings and categories

for a  business   plan  already set up for you. It also has guidance

throughout the  business   planning  process that explains what to

include in each part of your  business   plan .

What I really love about  Business   Plan  Pro is that it is so easy

to do financial projections using the  business   plan  software,

whether or not you understand accounting. The main financial

sections include a section for start-up costs, one for income

projections, one for a proforma balance sheet, and one for a

projected cash flow statement. Information that input into one of

the financial forms automatically transfers calculations to the

other financial statement forms making the process of projecting

your financial plan a breeze.

Another huge advantage I see in regard to  business   plan  software

is that when you use  business   plan  software to create your own

 business   plan , you can make changes to it anytime you need to. It

doesn’t become a stale document that sits on the shelf and

collects dust. A  business   plan  should be always evolving. You

should update your  business   plan  frequently including new goals,

objectives and milestones. You should also adjust your financial

projections regularly for the purpose of budgeting.  Business   plan 

software makes it easy to do.

If you choose not to use  business  software, and to create your

own  business   plan  from scratch, you will need some guidance

unless you are a professional  business  planner yourself. The

Small  Business  Administration http://www.sba.gov has some excellent

resources and guides about  business   planning . If you choose to

hire a professional  business   plan  writer, do review their

qualifications and references and make certain that you

understand exactly what is included in the  business   planning 

services they are offering.


Source by Christopher J Enders

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