I received a call this afternoon from a guy out in the New England area asking which program works best for raising investment capital. After a fairly long conversation explaining the key differences between the programs I decided to recap them here for your use:
Ultimate Business Planner - Pros:Plug & Play Financial Projections, Comprehensive Narrative Outline, User-friendly Interface, Will help you create a business plan quickly even if you don’t have a lot of experience writing one in the past. Cons: Tough to integrate current financial projections into program if you are an existing company, locked cells mean you can’t write spreadsheet formulas into the program, simplistic financial program = simplistic financial information reported. Best Use: New companies without complex financial projections - Start-up retail, service, restaurants, etc…who are seeking bank financing.
PlanWrite Business - Pros: Again has an easy to use interface, plug and play financial projections, templates for different types of plans, loaded with additional resources. Cons: Not as polished as some of the others, limited functionality for some key areas, only average presentation of finalized plan. Best Use:Another good one for startups seeking bank financing.
Business Plan Pro - Pros: # 1 business plan program in terms of sales, comprehensive program that will work for most companies, advanced financial projection program but not overly technical. Cons:Most startups will only use a small portion of the program’s abilities, financial projection inputs integrated into the narrative sections are sometimes confusing. Best Use:Existing companies needing a strategic plan, bank financing or possibly investment capital. Startups can use but it can be like drinking from a fire hose.
BizPlan Builder - Pros: Cool features including multi-user access, pre-formatted outlines for different plan types with "starter text", advanced financial projections, excellent features for those looking for private equity. Cons: Dependant on Microsoft Office to run program, Complex and sometimes onerous financial projection templates, time intensive program to use. Best Use: New or existing companies looking for Angel or Venture Capital in need of comprehensive financial projections, investor driven templates and presentation outlines for raising capital.