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How to Choose the Right Business Plans Software & Service

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Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the proverbial bull by its horns and become your own boss. So, you’ve got a great idea for a new business and you’re raring to go. Only thing is, you need help financing it, just to get the business balls rolling, and you've not quite got enough in the bank. So what now?

Well don’t get downhearted, there are plenty of people out there who are looking to invest in up and coming entrepreneurs and their businesses, it’s just a case of making the right pitch. And for that you’re going to need a pretty good business plan…

Why create a business plan?

Whether you’re completely new to business or you’re an old hand at the entrepreneurial game, a good business plan is absolutely essential. Not only will potential investors want to see that you’ve thought through your finances, market and approach carefully, it’s also really important in terms of identifying your own strengths and weaknesses, and to make realistic targets for the future.

We’ve reviewed some of the best business plan websites around in the hope that we can help you decide which one might best suit your needs. Whether you need help simply structuring your thoughts, understanding your financial projections, or requiring some in depth research into your market, business plan websites can offer a range of services to help you produce a top notch business plan.


How do various business plan software & services compare?

You’ll find that different business plan websites offer quite different services. Whilst some will offer to write your plan for you, others provide software which allows you to create your own plan in your own time. Others simply provide business information and guides to writing effective plans, or you may find sites that offer workshops or online courses to help you train in all the business essentials.

Our rating system takes all of these things into account. In the first instance you’ll find that each of our reviews includes a “star rating”. This is a quick visual impression of how the site performed against its competitors. The more stars in any area, the better it did. You’ll also find a written review which outlines the costs and key features of the site in an easy-to-grasp list. Finally we’ve provided an editor’s review on their perception of the site, which allows you to get a more in depth understanding of the pros and cons of each, and how it might help you in your pursuit to create a business plan.

We take several important factors into account when we produce our reviews, and you may want to better understand precisely what each of these key areas entails. So here’s a brief description to help you along:

  • Advice and planning methods:
    This is concerned with the way in which the product or service goes about helping you to produce a business plan. Companies who use experts, perform research or provide information that will aid in enhancing your understanding of your business, will score more highly. The way in which a plan is produced is taken into account, down to way in which information is gathered (is it in an interview, using a questionnaire or just a generic format?) and the effectiveness of this being integrated into your plan.
  • Quality of plans:
    We’re interested in what the end product, your plan, actually looks and sounds like. A high quality business plan will have a solid structure and all of the vital information that potential investors will be looking for. You might also want to include data in the form of tables and graphs. The quality of the plan can even come down to the quality of the printing or binding that is on offer. All of this can matter because investors are unlikely to want to put their money into a plan that seems half-baked.
  • Features:
    Our features mark is concerned with the extras that are available. For example, will you be able to manage your team using the site’s software, or can you use their tools to calculate your possible profits? Are there training sessions available, or free resources? All of this can make a massive difference between simply being given a business plan, and a site that truly integrates with your business to make it more efficient and profitable.
  • Ease of use / navigation:
    Business plans can be complicated enough without a complicated piece of software or a badly organised website. We’re looking for services that are simple enough for beginners to use effectively, but that can offer more advanced functions for more experienced users. Generally speaking, the easier a system is to use, the more we like it. That isn’t to say that it’s overly simplistic, but that it works effectively and won’t waste your time.
  • Ease of joining / registration:
    None of the sites we’ve reviewed in this category have issues with their joining methods. All of them are relatively quick and painless, although you might want to look out for any that want payment before you’re able to get a good idea of what is on offer or how their system works. Free trials are a great way to test a system before paying out for the full complement of features.
  • Customer support:
    This can be vital when it comes to business planning. The best sites will offer support during the creation process, should you have any issues during the production of your plan, and follow up support once your plan is complete. This can range from offering to review your business plan, to giving expert advice on how to go about acquiring funding, as well as the usual support on technical issues.
  • Value for money:
    Suffice to say, the cheapest site doesn’t always offer the best value for money. We take into account how many plans you can produce, their quality, the service provided and the actual cost in order to determine whether the site offers good value for money.


The bottom line:

So that’s about all we have to say for now. There are plenty of great websites available to help you create and develop a brilliant business plan, each with their own specialities and foibles. Take a look at a few of our reviews before you make up your mind, as some sites offer highly professional outfits whilst others may focus on the fun side of being your own boss. Whatever you decide, the best of luck in your exciting new life in the big bold world of business!