Do you need a business plan for your new venture? Writing a business plan is a specialized form of communication resulting in a document encompassing certain expectations, much like a résumé. To do it well, you could invest money into how-to books, not to mention the hours spent adding, subtracting and tweaking your text as you polish the piece to a sheen.
Of course, there are apps for that too. One such app is Enloop, a free for starters, and paid for more, online tool for creating a credible business plan. The app creates a plan from scratch, and supplies to more difficult information sought out by bankers, investors and financial types. Enloop states that the system is developed by MBAs, accountants, and software developers. Not only do you get the text for each section, you get an explanation in basic English explaining each section. You can modify parts and Enloop will update the whole. Makes refining the plan a lot easier. Enloop also generates customized financial forecasts, including Sales, Profit & Loss, Cash Flow and Balance Sheet forecasts. You can adjust the complexity of the plan and forecasts up to 36-month inputs.
Enloop will even score your plan using its own Enloop Performance Score or EPS. The better the plan, the higher the score. You can invite colleagues to view and edit your plan, and download, share and print on the fly. In addition to the EPS, Enloop also gives a report card that evaluates forecasted performance based on overall score, three important financial metrics, and a cash-flow positive status. Enloop can also generate ratios.
That’s a lot for free. With paid, you get more ratios, better customer support, a PDF of your plan without the Enloop logo, more business plans, and more detailed financials. Still, though, for a quick free option, it’s hard to beat their basic functionality.
For something different, you can also try out Plan Cruncher, another free business plan service. This one looks to condense your business plan into a single page summary using symbols for shorthand. Plan Cruncher’s icons remind which questions your business plan must answer.
- Are you ambitious? Can you build a business?
- Do you have the skills to build the product or service?
- Can you already demo the product?
- Have you worked out how to monetize the product?
- How much investment capital do you need?
- Do you have a revenue forecast?
- How long will it take to reach profitability?
The quality of the executive summary affects how quickly and well Plan Cruncher can summarize your plan. The resulting plan summary will look like this:
The idea here is to get a summary into the hands of a potential investor that can give them the good information right away. Because time is money, you know.
Another great quick tool can be found at the $100 Startup – a one page business plan PDF with essentially 10 questions, the answers to which form the basis of the plan.
Whatever your need, these tools should get you well on your way to forming up your next amazing venture.
Interesting concept, but entrepreneurs need to be careful that the business plan they create addresses all the nuances their business model has. Furthermore, the business plan for a company is one area there is no room for error or boiler plate templates. Lenders and investors are savvy and can recognize and appreciate the time, energy, and all over though that has gone into a business plan.
Best of luck to everyone.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. There really is no substitute for careful tailoring. I think the best way to consider these aids is as a starting point and maybe even an educational tool to help small business owners consider what needs to be considered.