Okay, you have decided to buy a business plan writing software rather than hire a consultant. However, before you pull out your credit card to make the purchase, below are ten tough questions to ask before buying a business plan writing software.
Imagine that you are a smart business man or woman who has worked so hard to acquire some funds and then you some extra cash that you do not currently need but instead of leaving the cash lying around, you decide to invest the money in a new business or loan out the money to someone else who would use it to run his own business and then pay you back with interest.
You won’t just give out your money blindly, would you? Of course you would want to learn as much about the business as possible and understand some things like-:
- How viable is the business?
- What is the level of seriousness of the business owner?
- What skills and experiences does he possess to be able to run the business profitably?
- How would the money be put into use?
- How will your money be refunded?
This is just some of the questions you would need answers to before you invest in the business or lend your money out and there is only one document that can answer all these questions at once- a business plan!
Any serious investor knows just how important it is to have a business plan written before starting any business at all. However, writing a business plan is no small task but that shouldn’t stop you because there are business plan writing softwares that you can purchase to make the whole process easier; and because of how important a business plan is, the business plan writing software you choose is equally important.
Before committing yourself to the purchase of any business plan writing software, you should ask the following questions-:
10 Tough Questions to Ask Before Buying Business Plan Software
1. Do I really need software?-: I understand that a business plan software makes it easier to write your business plan but you should really ask yourself if you need a software because there are several tutorials and articles on the internet that could teach you how to write a very good business plan at no extra cost to you.
Remember that the cost of buying the software would increase the cost of starting your business so if you feel that you can read up relevant materials and learn fast, you should consider saving up that money for something else.
2. What after-sales supports are available for me?-: It doesn’t just end with buying software. You would also have to install it and learn how to use it, so it is best that you consider the level of support the company is willing to offer you. There might be times that you could encounter some challenges with the use of the software or maybe even have some vital questions to ask and it would really suck if there is no one to turn to when such happens.
3. Is there a guarantee?-: Companies that are confident about their products would usually give a money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with their products. Look out for business plan software with such guarantee, so that if you are unsatisfied with it or the software falls short of your expectation; you would be able to return it easily and go for another software. You should also look out for customer’s reviews and the number of happy and satisfied customers that have used the software.
4. How fast does the company fix software issues?-: You should also consider how fast the company fixes bugs and other software problems. If the company is indifferent about fixing bugs, the software may soon become obsolete and useless; this is why this is one of questions you must ask before you buy a business plan writing software.
5. What about updates?-: Another important question to ask is how the company handles software updates; would the updates be automatic or would a new version render an older version useless? And if there is an upgrade; how would you be notified?
6. Would I be able to customize it to suit my business?-: Every business is unique and the contents of a clothing business plan would be different from what is contained in a business plan for a catering business, so you should find out if the business plan software can be customized to suit your own specific business and industry.
7. How easy is it to use the software?-: Using software shouldn’t be more difficult than writing your business plan yourself; that’s the whole point of buying a business plan writing software. So before you buy, find out how easy it would be to use the software.
8. Are the accounting principles used in the financials acceptable in my country?-: Take taxation for example, you would need to input taxation costs in your financial projections to determine your projected profit but tax laws differ in each country.
Apart from taxes, there are several other accounting principles embedded in the software that may not be accepted in your country so it is important to find out if the software would be suitable for use in your own country and if it would be possible to customize it for use in your country.
9. Is it compatible with my computer?-: It wouldn’t make sense to buy a business pan writing software that cannot work with your computer or to buy another computer just for your software, so before you buy, you must be sure that the software is compatible with your computer.
10. Does the company have a proven track record?-: You must consider issues like how long the company has been in business, how much success people have achieved with using the software and what other people have to say about the software.
In conclusion, when you have all the questions above answered, then you can go ahead to make a choice and commit to a purchase. However, i want to re-emphasize the fact that you should avoid relying on a business plan writing software to do all the work for you. Software cannot think for you, it cannot conduct a market research; it can only guide you through the process of writing a good business plan.