For those that have experience in creating a business plan, did you utilize a software program? Why or why not? I have delved into a couple of steps for my plan, and been all over the SBA online classes but am still intimated by the rest. Does a program offer more security or more restrictions on individualism? Thanks in advance!
Should I add an image of a dancing spatula to make this post more interesting?
This is my 2nd time around writing a business plan for my business. I didn't utilize purchased software. I used a free online template as a guide to get the structure in place. It was more just "Here are the steps to writing a business plan" type of template.
Right now I'm writing a plan for expansion of my business without any software. I got steps online on how to tailor a business plan for expansion vs a start-up and I am using MS Word and excel. My business partner is a huge help with this now. The 2nd time around writing a plan for my business is way more concise and to the point. Never really thought about researching software for this since there are free guides online.
May I ask how long it took you to write your first one? Are there any tips you could share?
Bplans.com is a good place to start, they have several templates. A business plan is a living document so it's never really complete, when we started our business it took about a month to get it to a point where we felt comfortable making significant investments. I also just used Word and Excel.
Great website bplans.com. Will delve into it some more today and see what they have. I was about to say shamefully it took me 2 - 3 months to write my business plan the 1st time around. I started it and went to London for 5 weeks in the midst of writing it and came back to finish it.
To be honest, my 1st business plan never felt complete to me. It is really a road map but along that road many things changed for my business in the 1st few months and years. Writing this plan for expansion this time around is different because I have been in the industry for 3 yrs now and I have more experience than when I started off. Imagine writing a plan for a start-up and you are now learning about the industry, far less barely stepped into it. It was hard. Hence, the 2 - 3 months spent on it.
I had a lot of uncertainty writing the 1st plan due to limited availability of statistics on the local market. All our data is out-dated and backed up by a 3yr log. If I go now, I will get info for 2009 which is absolutely worthless to my business. So I am relying on all the good info I know about the market and industry based on real-life experiences.
There isn't anything shameful about taking several months to complete it. I myself have spent several months procrastinating on even beginning. I have a home based business and want to open a retail location in the spring. It's nice to hear that it really is a living document. My delay has possibly been due to the fact like felt a plan was supposed to be so concrete. I will also give bplans a look.
May I ask how long it took you to write your first one?
It took me nearly 4,000 hours over almost seven months to complete my business plan, and its 77 pages long. (That's 18-19 hours per day!) Plus another 20-40 hours to redo the numbers for a scaled-back smaller version plan.
good website www.liveplan.com