Review: Business Plan Pro 2008 - Page 2

By Wayne Kawamoto
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Following the Plan
BPP also maintains its past strengths. The EasyPlan Wizard asks questions and, based on your answers, determines the necessary steps to create a plan. As before, the program does a great job of walking you through the entire planning process and lets you access and view 500 sample business plans that may be used as models. You can import graphics, logos, photos, fonts and layouts and export plans to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe PDF.

Business Plan Pro screen shot
The “What if” features lets you enter different scenarios and view their impact on your company's cash flow.
(Click for larger image)

You can use the program to forecast sales, expenses and growth. A break-even analysis tool estimates when your business should break even and when you can expect to begin making money. The Premier version allows you to evaluate investment valuations by calculating internal rate of return (IRR) and net present value (NPV). To obtain a running start, BPP works with QuickBooks to import accounting data and populate its tables.

The program organizes and compiles data and produces business plans in formats commonly used by banks, investors and the Small Business Administration (SBA). There’s a helpful venture capital database that provides possible contacts as well as a financing guide for tapping friends and family and a list of SBA resources.

BPP also comes with two books on business planning that provide insight: “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki and “Hurdle: The Book on Business Planning” by Tim Berry.

Planning to Succeed
If you're knowledgeable about business and spreadsheets, you could probably build a set of tables to produce a business plan. But you'd still have to figure out what goes into a business plan, put it all together and format it – a considerable puzzle with a fairly high entry barrier. And furthermore, is this really the best use of your time at this juncture of your business?

Overall, Business Plan Pro provides the background, insight and tools that you’ll need to create a business plan. And it can be a big time saver that lets you focus on that new business.

Wayne Kawamoto has written more than 800 articles, columns and reviews about computers, new technologies, the Internet and small businesses. Wayne has also published three books about upgrading PCs, building office networks and troubleshooting notebook computers. You can contact him through his Web site at www.waynewrite.com.

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This article was originally published on February 12, 2008
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