Creating a business plan can be a daunting task for a first time business owner. Creating financial projections, an operational plan and a management team profile before you even start your business can seem a little overwhelming.
Unfortunately, if you will be seeking funding, a properly written business plan is a must. Even if you're not seeking formal financing, you should still have a business plan in place, even if it's written on the back of a napkin.
While there are several software programs and templates available to the small business owner, most of them come at a financial cost, and at the critical start up phase of your business, finances may be a limited resource for you. If you have never created a business plan before, trying to create one from scratch can be painfully slow and opens the possibility that you may miss important parts of the plan that your funding sources may be looking for.
For a free and easy way to create a business plan check out Enloop, a terrific tool for creating a customized business plan. They offer a generous free plan as well as paid plans for more advanced features and multiple business plans.
While I think every budding business owner should sit down with an experienced person to map out a proper business strategy and to make sure you know what you're getting into, I think a tool like Enloop is great to help get your plans on paper and to see if your financial calculations make sense.
Enloop is a an easy way for you to create a customized business plan, ensuring that you will not miss important steps while preparing your plan. While they do have paid plans available, they currently offer one free business plan that you can create for your business.
Some of the benefits of using Enloop are:
- You can download and print a PDF copy of your business plan when you are finished
- Automatically calculates and creates all of your financial projections for you
- By answering some easy questions, Enloop produces each section of your business plan for you
- Although you are working off of a template, you can easilly customize your plan by adding and editing text that Enloop creates
- You receive useful tips and best practices from Enloop as you you prepare your business plan
One of the coolest features of Enloop is it's EPS (Enloop Performance Score). As you create your business plan, Enloop assigns a score to your plan which is displayed as you move through each step of your plan. This score is Enloops scoring of the projected success of your business, which is calculated as a score (1-1000) using Enloop's proprietary algorithm. While I would not start or stop my business planning based on this score, it is a usefull tool as it may make you stop and revisit certain parts of your plan that you might not have otherwise.
Creating A Business Plan Is Easy
After signing up, you will just follow the directions and add your personal and business information.
Once you finish answering some basic personal and business information, Enloop creates the first part of your business plan.
As you can see, the text is automatically created for you, entering all of the personal and business information that you provided in the previous step. At this point, you can edit or add your own text to further customize your plan. I told you it was easy!
Also note how your EPS score changes as you add details to your business plan.
As you move through each step, from products to pricing, Enloop will create each section of your business plan, allowing you to make changes and corrections along the way.
Once you are finished completeing all of the steps, Enloop will create the financial projections for your business plan.
At this stage, you can review your completed business plan and go back and revise your plan if things do not turn out as you originally projected
While all of the steps were not covered here, you should have no problem creating your business plan as it really couldn't get any easier than with Enloop. One of things I like best about creating your business plan online like this is that you get immediate feedback as you create your plan and can go back and edit detials of you plan as you create it.
Like I said earlier, there are lots of great services online that can help you create a business plan, though many of them are paid and many of the free ones are not of the highest quality. One thing I would also add is that when you finish your business plan is to have other people review your completed plan before you submit it to a financial institution to obtain funding. Ask family, friends and more importantly, someone who has experience reviewing business plans to look it over and to provide some feedback. The more people who read your business plan, the more questions that may arise, questions that you may not have thought of.
You can sign up for a free Enloop account here and start your journey to a successful and profitable business! If you do use Enloop to create your business plan, i'd love to hear from you about your experience. Good luck!
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