If you are currently thinking of buying business plan software, then I advice you consider these ten factors before choosing a business plan software to buy. Are you one of those investors who still ask questions like “Do I really need a business plan?” I guess it’s time to stop asking that question because you really do need a business plan. Just as capital is important to start your business, a business plan is important too.

A business plan can open your eyes to so many things that you didn’t even know about the business and the industry. This is because, you have to conduct some market research before writing your business plan and in the course of your research, there’s no limit to what you can learn.

If you don’t have an accounting degree or a business background, you might find it difficult to write your business plan yourself and even if you decide to hire an expert to write it for you, you might end up spending thousands of dollars.

But a business plan writing software makes it easy; with just a couple of hundreds, you can write your business plan from the comfort of your home. But before you buy yourself a business plan writing software, here are some factors to consider-:

Buying a Business Plan Software – 10 Factors to Consider

1. Affordability

You should do a kind of cost-benefit analysis to determine if buying business plan software is really the best choice for you. If you are sure that the software can completely do the job, then you can buy it. But if you think that you would still have to pay an expert to check out your business plan and make some corrections, changes and adjustments; then maybe you don’t really need to buy a software.

You should also compare prices before you buy. You don’t necessarily have to go for the cheapest in the market but make sure that the one you choose has all the features you need without having to overpay for those features.

2. Trial versions

You should also look out for business plan writing software with trial versions. When you download and use the trial version of a software, it would reveal enough information that you need to make a decision.

3. Features

Another thing is to carefully observe all the features that the software has before buying. Make a list of all the things you want to include in your business plan and compare the features of the software with your checklist. If you feel like the software doesn’t have some of the important features that you need, you should consider getting another software as there are several business plan writing software in the market.

4. Industry Specific

The format and standards for writing a business plan varies from industry to industry. The way you would write a business plan for a business in the tourism industry is quite different from how you would write a business plan in the manufacturing industry. This is why you have to be sure that the business plan writing software that you are about to purchase has a template for your own industry.

5. Data protection features

You don’t want people stealing your ideas; do you? Your business plan is going to contain some very sensitive information and ideas that you won’t want to be copied or stolen, so you have to check out the security features that the software developers have put in place to ensure data protection and prevent data theft and infringement as much as possible.

6. Ease of use

Another factor to consider is how easy it would be to use the software. Would it come with a training manual? Is there a forum or customer support Centre where you can learn how to use the software easily?

This is especially important if you have never written a business plan before or if you do not have a financial background. It’s easy to get your financial forecasts mixed up if you have no idea of how it’s supposed to be done. Go for a software that has a training manual that is easy to use and adequate customer support from the developer.

7. Samples

A good business plan writing software would usually have samples that you can look at to give you more ideas and that you can use to compare your own business plan to be sure that you have written a solid business plan

8. Customizable

Another factor to consider is the ability to customize the software for your own personal use. To avoid having a business plan that looks too “automated” you might want to customize the software so that it actually looks like you put in some personal efforts and time into writing it. It is best to go for a business plan writing software that has customization features.

9. Compatibility with your computer

You should also check if the software would be compatible with the computer to plan to install it on. If the developer has a website, you may want to check the types of computers that the software is compatible with before you go ahead to buy.

10. Team work

Sometimes, you may have a team of people working on your business plan, like your accountants, your lawyer, your bankers etc. and it would be better if you opted for a business plan writing software that allows for remote access so that if you are going to be working with a team, each member can have remote access to the software.

These are the basic things you need to look out for before you buy a business plan writing software. Also, because you would need to conduct some research before writing your business plan, it is also smart to look out for a business plan writing software that provides some research assistance so that you can have access to all you need to write your business plan in one place.

Lastly, whether you use a business plan writing software or you write it yourself, you must try to personalize your business plan. Don’t just rely on the business plan writing software to do all the work because the software is designed to assist, not replace you.