Writing a business plan is not easy. It involves a number of skills which need to all be put down very coherently, in order, with a sales pitch usually, and then facts and figures are vital. Today there are several applications and templates out on the internet which are so useful and even if you use them as a guideline, at least there is a path to follow.
A business plan is any plan that works for a business to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities.
Unfortunately, many people think of a business plan as something needing to be done only for starting a new business or applying for business loans. But they are also vital for running a business, whether or not the business needs new loans or new investments. Businesses need plans to optimize growth and development according to priorities.
A normal business plan will include some standard elements. Depending on the type of business you have, the plan formats and outlines vary. However, generally a plan will include components such as descriptions of the company, product or service, market, forecasts, management team, and financial analysis.
Your plan will depend on your specific situation. The detailed analysis of a management team is very important for investors but for banks the financial history will be the focus. However, if you’re developing a plan for internal use only, you may not need to include all the background details that you already know. Make your plan match its purpose. Business plans are really about getting results and improving your company.
The internet is full of templates, suggestions, tutorials and there are so many tools today to help you with a business plan or to adapt to a current expansion of your business. Quite a few are application based and can be downloaded from the internet to your computer or your mobile device.
The first one I found was Enloop (http://www.enloop.com/features). It’s a very useful application which gives a very insightful guide to each step in the process of creating a traditional business plan. It works really well and by adding data into the application it generates sales figures you can see with a automated profit and loss sheet, cash flow analysis and projections. For those who find writing up the ideas, there is also suggested text and content which is added to each section.
Enloop is not yet available for mobile devices.
A specific option for iPad users is called Stratpad (http://www.stratpad.com/stratpad/). This has the particular advantage of having various levels of business plan to suit your needs. It was also voted on of the top 10 mobile apps by Forbes magazine.
StratPad is designed specifically for owners and executives of small- and medium-sized companies. You can create your strategic plan, share it with your management and staff, and monitor everyone’s progress. It really has a number of features which can also be shared with colleagues and investors.
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