Use business plan software to simply the process of creating your business plan.
Creating a business plan with the appropriate software can simplify the process and increase success. — Getty Images/FG Trade

One of the best ways for an entrepreneur to ensure the success of a company is to create a business plan. However, writing a solid plan isn’t easy and even seasoned business owners run into difficulties when writing one from scratch.

Business plan software is designed to walk you through each component and help you craft a plan that outlines your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Here are the reasons you should consider using business plan software, as well as specific features to look for.

Why use business plan software?

Producing a well-organized, detailed business plan is one of the most important tasks you have during the early stages of your company. While the document itself may take many forms, a good business plan should allow you to “state who you are, what you do and why you are relevant,” according to David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks.

While you may have your reservations about spending money on business plan software, it has numerous benefits and is cost effective. This software guides you through the entire planning process to ensure you have everything from the executive summary to the profit and loss statements in place. Additionally, it can help you set realistic and attainable goals for your company, and this can be key to securing funding or attracting top talent to your organization.

You can outsource your plan, but this may pose challenges for new companies. First, while hiring someone outside your company to write your business plan can certainly free up time, it is cost-prohibitive for startups that are still building capital. Second, an outside entity is less familiar with your company’s goals and overall vision, which can inhibit their ability to write a solid plan for your business.

Regardless of whether you are a new business owner or a serial entrepreneur, business plan software can save you time and help you organize your thoughts (and finances), so you can focus on what matters most to you: building your business.

[Read: 5 Common Sense Reasons to Write a Business Plan and 7 Mistakes to Avoid]

Look for software that will help you easily customize and update your business plan.

Business plan software features to look for

With countless programs on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down what business plan software is best for your company. Here are some useful features to look for:

  • Financial projections: Financial projections can help convince investors of your company’s current and potential earning capacity. Many programs can help you create financial projections based on your current and estimated sales and can easily integrate with your current accounting software. Look for this feature if you have little accounting experience.
  • Business advice: Some business plan software includes online learning, mentoring and consultations with business professionals, which can be especially beneficial to new business owners. Look for this feature if you are a new business owner.
  • In-depth reporting: The easier it is for you to generate thorough, accurate reports, the better. Investors and lenders need detailed information and the more you provide, the better chance you will have to secure funding. Look for this feature if you need help preparing specific charts or analyses.
  • Attractive presentations: While content is king, having a visually pleasing and well-organized presentation can help you stand out from the crowd and attract outside funding.
  • Customization: No two businesses are the same and you don’t want to be stuck with a generic template that doesn’t fit your company’s needs. Look for software that will help you easily customize and update your business plan.

[Read: Smart Strategies for Presenting Your Business Plan]

A business plan outlines your company’s goals and mission, and a well-written one can help you more easily achieve those goals. Using business plan software can take the guesswork out of creating a solid plan. When browsing through potential options, these software features can simplify the process and take your business plan to the next level. But while they’re a great place to start, you know best the unique needs of your business.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published February 11, 2020