Ready to learn how to how to write a business plan the smart and easy way?
In a previous article, I shared a personal success story about How A Business Plan Helped Me Raise Capital of $12,600 to start a business in 2011.
While most people understand the huge value of business plans, just a handful of entrepreneurs can actually write them.
Banks, investors and potential business partners always insist on seeing a business plan before committing any capital to your business idea. As a result, many entrepreneurs may never start their dream business because they don’t know how to, and cannot afford to pay an experienced business planner, to write a good business plan for them.
In this article, I’ll share my personal experience and struggles with writing business plans and the secret tool I finally discovered that has saved me time, stress and money when it comes to writing smart and professional looking business plans.
First, a quick introduction…
My name is John-Paul and I’ve been writing business plans since 2007. I’ve written both simple and complex business plans for several kinds of businesses and people – myself, friends and most especially, clients.
Although I had some prior experience, I was formally introduced to business planing during my first job as an Associate Consultant with PwC, one of the world’s “Big Four” business consulting firms.
Business plans have always excited me. I love doing the market research, analyzing the competition, developing marketing strategies and all that. Yet, I still find some aspects of business plans very boring and challenging; especially the writing aspect.
If writing a business plan can be challenging to me, I can imagine it must be a nightmare for most people who have never written one before.
I Used To Think The Hard Way Was The Only Way…
The art of writing business plans must be a very tough and challenging activity. Maybe that’s why some consultants often charge high fees to write them.
That’s what I thought.
Before I discovered the secret tool that has made my life a whole lot easier with business plans, I think it’s a good idea to take you through all the hard ways I followed before I finally found the secret.
For years, I had always written business plans the traditional way; from scratch. Many times, I would stare at the blank page on my computer not knowing what to write. I mean, it was all in my head but pouring it out on paper was always a tough job for me.
I also had to bother about other things like editing, layout and appearance of the business plan document.
Although I’m good at business planning, I have very poor design skills and this was always a frustration for me. Writing a business plan from scratch must be the most time-wasting and stressful activity I’ve ever done in my whole life!
I tried templates
With time, I got to know about business plan templates. These are formats (or skeletons) of business plans that made it easier to write a plan.
With templates, it was much better than starting from scratch every time. I enjoyed this new method for a while before I started to notice some of its flaws.
Templates are not flexible; they’re just too stiff. They limit your creativity and force you to lose your uniqueness. In the end, my business plans ended up looking like thousands of plans out there.
No, I didn’t like it.
And then, samples…
From templates, I switched to sample business plans. A sample is a finished copy of a business plan that is very similar to the kind of business plan you’re trying to write.
In short, it’s ‘copying’ another plan that somebody else has already written.
While there’s nothing wrong with using a sample plan as a guide, it rarely helped me to finish mine. Why? Because no two business plans can be the exact same thing! Since the ideas and strategies are different, how can the plans be the same?
For me, samples were just another dead end. They were great at guiding and inspiring me during the writing process, but there were still several things a sample business plan couldn’t do for me.
The 3 Biggest Frustrations I Faced With All These Methods
While I was still able to write good-looking and professional business plans with the three methods I just explained, it was always a tough job. I found my biggest challenges were in the following areas:
Time – Because I had to do unrelated tasks like design, I was spending more time on these tasks than actually focusing on writing the business plan. I had to create tables, draw graphs, add headers and footers, and several other stuff that would just drive me crazy. Yeah, now that I look back, I realize how much time I wasted on all sorts of irrelevant (but important) stuff during the writing process.
Financials – As you know, financials are a very important part of every business plan. But not everybody has the finance and accounting skills to prepare a Sales Forecast, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and Cashflow Statement. Although I have a background in accounting, this part of business plans used to drive me nuts sometimes. Again, if this was a challenge for me, I wonder what most other people who don’t have any clue about figures go through.
Appearance – Have you ever seen an ugly business plan before? I’ve seen many of them. Because I know that most people judge a book by its cover, I always like my business plans to look attractive and professional. In my experience, a good-looking business plan is always a big plus.
So, I like to make sure my cover pages look good and the colours, fonts and outline look great. Again, due to my limited design skills, this part was always a challenge for me. I would end up paying somebody to take care of the design. Apart from the money this was costing me, I didn’t like the lack of control I sometimes suffered.
The Big Discovery That Changed My Life!
I couldn’t imagine the shock and disbelief I felt the day I stumbled on the big discovery that changed my business plan writing experience forever!
It wasn’t the first time I came across business plan software. The biggest reason I never really used software to write business plans was because I couldn’t afford them. Many of the good ones out there are quite expensive. Why would I spend a lot of money on software I would only use a few times a year? It didn’t make any sense to me.
But this one I discovered was clearly different. It’s called LivePlan.
The features and benefits of LivePlan are just mind-blowing for me. I’ve been using it for sometime now and here are just a few of its features and benefits that have given me the most value:
Easy financials – LivePlan took away all my headaches in doing the financials for a business plan. It has built-in formulas that make the financials simple and easy. It simply asks me some questions about the business and after I plug in the answers, the calculations are done behind the scenes. In addition to the calculations, it also creates beautiful automatic charts that save me a lot of time.
That’s not all. While most typical business plans look three years into the future, LivePlan allows me to include up to five years of projections. It also allows me to set any currency or tax rates I want.
Beautiful design themes – Yes! I never have to worry about my poor design skills anymore. LivePlan takes care of all the design aspects of any business plan I write nowadays. It has about ten beautifully and professionally-designed themes that make every business plan I write to always stand out.
Expert guidance – At every stage of writing a business plan, LivePlan provides tips and professional guidance just in case I get stuck. It actually has video tutorials from Tim Berry, one of the most popular business planning experts in the world. And many of his tips are very useful.
Samples and examples – Especially for people who are new to business planning, LivePlan is a real godsend. It comes with a huge library of over 500 sample business plans that have often helped and inspired me on some business plans I’ve written. Yes, you read that right, it has a library of 500+ business plans you can ‘copy’. There are also plenty of examples you can choose from.
Cheap and flexible – For all the wonderful benefits that LivePlan offers, it is surprisingly cheap in my opinion. The best part is, it’s very flexible. I only pay a monthly fee to use it whenever I want. Based on the value it gives me, it is certainly the most cost-effective way I know to write a business plan nowadays.
Collaboration and sharing – If you’ll be working on a business plan with a team, LivePlan allows different people to work on the plan at the same time. It allows other people to review the plan, leave comments, and even add and remove stuff depending on the user settings. If you’re a consultant working with clients or a tutor teaching students to write business plans, this is a feature that will prove to be very valuable!
I’m Not The Only One Who Thinks LivePlan Is Amazing!
For a while, I selfishly thought I was the only person who had discovered this amazing secret. It didn’t take me long to realize there were others too.
In fact, many of them achieved far more interesting things with LivePlan. Many have used it to find millions of dollars in investment while some others have used it to win business plan competitions.
Here are a few interesting testimonials from entrepreneurs across the world who have great things to say about LivePlan…
What Are You Waiting For?
If you’re looking for a smart, easy, time-saving and convenient way to write a business plan, LivePlan is surely the solution you need. Whether you’re writing a business plan for yourself, a friend or client, it’s a solution that provides a world of value.
To get started with LivePlan and try out for yourself, click any of the two beautiful images below:
Curious? Want to take a Quick Look Inside?
Yeah, I know there may be a couple of people reading this who would be curious to know what LivePlan looks like on the inside.
The video below is a 10-minute demo that will take you on a tour of some of the interesting parts and features of LivePlan. I know you’ll enjoy it.
Now you know how to write a business plan…
To get started, click the image below to start enjoying the amazing benefits of LivePlan.