Business plan software can be a useful investment.
If you're in need of step-by-step guidance in crafting your business plan, purchasing software can make things easier. — Getty Images/Pinkypills

Crafting a solid business plan is a necessary step for your business to succeed. However, many small business owners don't have all the necessary skills or financial background needed to assist in building a comprehensive plan. That’s where business plan software comes in handy. If you think your company could use some help with your business planning, consider the pros and cons of investing in software.

[Read: 5 Business Plan Templates to Help You Plan for Success]

What is business plan software?

Business plan software is designed to guide you through each step of your business plan and fill any gaps. That way, you’ll be more efficient in reaching your business goals. Unfortunately, using this software doesn’t guarantee a flawless plan, and some business owners may be better off writing their plan from scratch.

Pros and cons of business plan software

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to consider whether new software or services will benefit your business or needlessly add to your overhead. Before purchasing business plan software, weigh the following pros and cons against the needs of your business.

Pros of business plan software

Business plan software offers several benefits, including:

  • Step-by-step guidance. Business plan software takes the guesswork out of aligning your business’s structure and cash flow forecast with your future goals. It has detailed step-by-step guidance to assist you in making the right choices for a successful business. This is especially useful if you aren’t sure how to begin.
  • Statement and report generation. In the current digital age, more and more small business owners don’t have a strong financial background or understanding of the strategic aspects of a business plan. An advantage to using business plan software is that it creates reports, graphs and documents for you based on the information you’ve entered. These generated statements save you from hours of configuring with your own desktop publishing software.
  • Customization. Business plan software not only creates a plan for you, it offers the option to personalize the reports. It also gives you the freedom to test out a number of scenarios depending on your long-term business goals, giving you more confidence in your business.
  • Accurate forecasting. A well-made business plan software usually comes with guarantees for accountability and accuracy in any reports generated under that program. It keeps you from having to do your own calculations or know for a fact the information in the business plan is presented accurately. Creating a business plan from scratch using your own devices may result in missed mistakes, skewing the data and rendering reports — and hours of work — useless.
  • Easy to update. It’s simple to adjust or replace any numerical calculations or ideas for a different outcome using business plan software. Certain features can also keep you up to date on the current state of your business and give you a look into your future endeavors. Having direct insight into these future data points will help you make strategic business choices.

[Read: Smart Strategies for Presenting Your Business Plan]

Crafting a solid business plan is a necessary step for your business to succeed.

Cons of business plan software

Business plan software can also come with a few drawbacks, including:

  • Expensive price tag. Depending on the type, some business plan software can be pricey. Software can range from basic plans to premium versions. It’s difficult to know whether the premium version will assist you or just create a dent in your budget. Additionally, while it is time-consuming, writing your own business plan is free.
  • Lack of flexibility. Some types of business plan software only allow for certain customizations which could limit personalizing your business plan. This includes sticking to the templates the software provides and being unable to rewrite the script or customize certain points in the data (unless you upgrade to a more expensive package).
  • Missed industry insights. As you’re not writing the base coding that makes up a business plan software, there may be discrepancies between your industry and the developed software. This could lead to missed insights that could be crucial to leveling up your business within its industry.

There are many reasons to purchase business plan software, but there are also some downfalls that might turn you away from the investment. Weigh your options according to your business’s needs and determine which is right for you.

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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