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It might sound like a breakfast cereal but Plan Cruncher is actually a free icon-based business plan creator. It’s something of a unique option for creating business plans as its selling point is that it produces 1-page plans which primarily use simple pictures to give a sense of your business idea.
Let us explain in a little more detail, as this isn’t the easiest concept to grasp in words. First of all you insert the name of your business, then proceed to choose from various icons to answer particular questions. So, for example, you need to decide how you would describe your pitch. You can choose from “we have an elevator pitch” (a small elevator icon will appear on your plan), “we only have a longer pitch” (a picture of an escalator appears on your plan) or “our idea is too complicated to explain in a short pitch” (a red icon with question marks and exclamation marks). You work through 6 pages of questions (around 30 questions in total), input any additional information, and are then able to download your plan as a PDF file. The plan uses the icons you’ve selected to give a brief overview of your business plan.
The potential benefit of this system is that it allows you to objectively view your business as an investor might. When you reduce your ideas and position down to its most minimal form you may reveal potential pitfalls or areas that you need to consider more seriously. Whether or not an investor will take this format seriously is another matter, though, and we’re not convinced that this sort of plan will provide enough information on its own to convince anyone of investment. That said, the 1 page plan might simply act as a lure, a brief explanation to grab the attention of anyone reading it in the hope that you’re brought in to pitch your idea more fully.
The site offers very little information indeed, with no advice or business tips, no blog or forum. In fact there’s not even a help section (although you can offer feedback). Whilst there’s very little flexibility with PlanCruncher you can download the icons for yourself and use them in a program of your choosing, should you wish to adopt the icon system for yourself without feeling too restricted by the platform they offer on the site.
This service is free to use so it offers great value. However we do feel that you won’t get far using this service alone, and a much more detailed follow-up business plan will be necessary to secure serious investments.
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