Business Plan Template versus Planning Software


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You are starting a new company. You know the value of a business plan but you do not know how to go about creating your own. It comes down to two options - do you invest in a software program or do you decide to use a ready-made business plan template? There are pros and cons to both. Deciding how you are going to create your plan document is one of decisions you may face as an entrepreneur.

Using a Business Plan Template

If you decide to use a template instead of a software application, you'll be using something that is well established and comes with a myriad of examples. A ready-made plan outline will provide you with a good idea of what to expect for start-up. If you look around, you can find examples of companies that have used the same document structure, which will let you know if you're on the right track. Best of all, planning templates are usually free. The downside of using a common outline is that it's less versatile than a business plan software program. The more complex your undertaking is, the more difficult it will be to find a document template that can get the job done. Also, the organization of the many aspects of a complete document will fall onto your shoulders.

Using Business Plan Software Program

Running a company in today's unpredictable economic environment can be brutal. One key tool that many successful entrepreneurs have used to maintain economic success is business planning application. There are two types of planning solutions - the package you buy at a store and install on your computer, and online software solutions which you find on the internet. The major advantage a ready-to-go software application has over a formal business plan template is that it's versatile and can accommodate virtually any company. Due to this versatility, planning software is also much more accurate than your standard template. Plus, it comes with a sophisticated financial modeling tool to help you get all the financial projections needed - cash flow projections, income statements, balance sheets, performance ratios, company valuation, etc.

Finally, it takes care of all of the organizational duties so you don't have to. Also, with a web-based software program, it would much easier to publish and share your plan. Of course, the downside is that business planning application tends to come in at a higher cost than a template. There also may not be matching examples of other companies that you can reference, such as there are with business plan templates. Which should you use? This is the first major decision you'll face as an entrepreneur. The key to deciding between a formal plan outline and a software tool is the complexity of your company. If you're starting something simple that doesn't contain a lot of variables, you can get by with a standard plan template. If you're starting something more complex, you'll want to invest in business plan software program.

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