There are definitely entrepreneurs who’ve performed miracles without any official business plans, some say they’ve got everything in their head while others rely on pure chance.
However, for the vast majority of us in the world a solid business plan comes in handy. You’ll be shocked to discover just how helpful they are if you’ve never used one, not only during the initial phase where things get hectic but in terms of general management.
That said, let’s get to what you clicked for – brain food. Here are my seven reasons to write a business plan followed by three software platforms that make the process much smoother and more intuitive. Enjoy!
This needs repeating – building a business is something to take seriously. How many startups fail because their owners chased impulsiveness and didn’t think things through before they plunged into the unknown? Is that going to be you?
Business is strategy, proper allocation of resources, refined approaches and squeaky-clean priorities. If you want your business to become a success and grow over time, writing a business plan is a GREAT place to start!
Funding, funding, funding. Every business needs it and there just never seems to be enough around. Bottom line, you have almost ZERO chance of getting funds from traditional sources like these without a professional-grade business plan:
All these folks are going to want to see your business plan before they take you seriously. Put yourself in this position, mentally, and pretend you have a week to present a business plan to an angel investor ready to hand you six-figured of debt-free funding in return for a small percentage of your company.
What will you show them? Are you ready?
You can’t say for sure how much a business is worth at first glance. Maybe on the outside it seems to be doing fabulously, but the real gritty truth is in the numbers, in its financial health. This is why investors and banks don’t care what comes out of your mouth, they just want to see your business plan and skip right to the numbers first. How are things adding up? What is the estimated current value and the projected valuation over the first however many years?
Imagine this all laid out cleanly, gorgeously in a professional plan with neat graphs, charts, snippets of info, etc.
Business needs a solid base of customers to grow, but in most cases before you gain a solid audience, you have to create a business plan. There needs to be a concrete, hard copy road map that helps to get you to your destination. There will be plenty of unexpected treats not on the map to deal with along the way, but without the map you’d be or get completely lost.
Your plan helps you sell your business because you better understand your:
No one, and I mean no one, unless you have an incredible photographic memory and a mind-blowing IQ, can keep all this clearly in their mind and run a business at the same time. Modern business planning software is a no-brainer.
Let’s say it’s time to outsource, do some hiring and expand. You want passionate individuals. You want team members that align with and help evolve your brand’s culture. You want folks with similar work ethic, right? Instead of having all these different documents your business plan is one singular concise document you can splice however you want and share with the right people. A business plan will help you attract the right talent!
A legitimately prepared business plan includes specific objectives along with goals that keep management and the team on target. You don’t need to be extremely precise here, but set bigger more general milestones and leave the micro-management to other cloud-based tools like Slack.
We’re talking about goals and objectives, otherwise known as direction. For most entrepreneurs, business plans are a pivot point that happens later when they become absolutely necessary. Why wait? Why wait until you’re created a huge mess that only concrete planning can fix? Hop aboard now, or update your methodology now.
Over the last decade a small number of companies, themselves startups, have created absolutely mind-blowing software that takes the conventional notion of business planning and turns it into a user-friendly and smooth system.
Let’s dive into three you may have already heard of if you run in startup circles like we do around here. We’ll start with the most popular.
I personally feel LivePlan is the best business plan software on the market with only one plan which you pay monthly or annually. Monthly is $14.95 for the first month then $19.95 afterwards. Annual is $11.66/month.
For pennies you’ll be able to use their amazing share and collaboration features, 10 beautiful, tested and optimized themes, and more. Build a pitch-ready business plans in record time, provided you have the data. They’re also fully compatible with most devices.
Business Plan Pro is another highly credible company with over a decade in business planning. Their software is rather comprehensive, but for $99.95 you get a 28-feature-stuffed plan.
Features include industry and market research tools, printing and publishing tools, funding and forecasting tools, and a money-back guarantee in place so you can try Business Plan Pro risk-free for 60 days.
Enloop is also a safe and excellent option if you’re looking for reliable business plan software. It has a free version (can be buggy) that allows you to try the software’s services before deciding on paid plans which range from $9.95 to $39.95.
Features include a Performance Score, Invite and Share feature, Multi-currency support, Customer support, Financial Ratio analysis and Interactive PDF Creation, and more.
If you’re here then you probably didn’t need much convincing. Do some people consider planning software to be a luxury? Sure. Far more feel it’s a necessity, myself being among them. Make your move and bring your planning game to the next level. You won’t regret it. Thanks for reading and here’s to your success!
Larry Nicholson, an accredited small business consultant, is the founder and principal of BluPrint Consultants, LLC , where he advises entrepreneurs, business owners, and leadership teams, providing guidance and management, product and service assessment, due diligence, leadership, and strategic planning advice. He brings to each relationship a wealth of problem-solving experience to small businesses and startup companies. Larry currently resides in Tampa, FL.