Choosing Business Planning Software that Fits Your Needs

Business planning software makes it possible for startups and veterans alike to create a business plan. With basic data entry and knowledge of your business, the right software can generate a plan that you can use as a guide for operating your business, or as an instrument to raise capital. Budgeting for your business is also simple to do, and many business planning software will offer advice and make suggestions for improvements. Look for the following features when making a decision on which software to buy:

Automatic Backup

Losing your business data one day after you purchase a business planning software is not a big deal. Losing that data three or six months down the road is. You'll be referring to a good business plan at least quarterly, to determine the health of your business and to make the necessary adjustments. Choose a program that automatically backs up your information. Schedule it to back up the information every time you exit the program.

Number of Users

You may be a one or two person company now, but you're in business to grow. You want the flexibility to add more users to the business planning software in the future, even if that simply means having access to it on multiple computers. For example, you might want a business partner, accountant or freelance writer to work on or modify sections of the business plan on their own computers. Some programs only allow one user in the beginning, while others allow more.

Ease of Customization

Brand identity is important to businesses, and the ability to customize the business planning software you choose is important. For example, you want to be able to add to or modify images, columns, categories and reports easily. Trying to do this in some software programs requires some technical know-how.

Number of Sample Business Plans

There's no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to drafting a business plan. The best way to go about creating one is to find a plan that matches your business and tweak it to fit your specific business. Instead of scouring the Internet looking for free samples, your business planning software should include enough samples, so that one that fits yours is sure to be included. A good number to look for is 100 or more sample business plans.

Step-by-Step Advice

Compare the advice given in each software before making a purchase. Buy from a reputable company, as confirmed by other sources, so that you know where the advice in the business planning software comes from. That's one of the main reasons for buying business planning software in the first place, to replace or reduce the need for a consultant. If you're going to rely on the advice it gives, you have to compare software packages to make sure the program won't steer you down the wrong path.

Price should not be the bottom line for a business plan, because it plays an important role in the launch of your business, and after. Compare these features carefully, and get the best product that your budget allows.

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