It’s a reasonable question. The answer is that Business Plan Pro is an ideal tool for the kind of practical, ad-hoc business planning I’m recommending in the new plan-as-you-go business planning. It’s a tool, not a taskmaster. Here are some specifics:
- Where the book says start anywhere, I mean it. With Business Plan Pro, you first go through the wizard steps to get a plan started as a file, then I suggest you use the outline view to jump to wherever you feel like starting.
- The SWOT, for example. (If it doesn’t show up in the outline, go back to plan setup, and select a more detailed plan.)
- The sales forecast.
- The expense budget (look in the Profit and Loss area, in Chapter 5 of the default outline.
- Mission statement, keys to success, personnel plan; as I say in the book, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter with Business Plan Pro either. Get started, get going.
- Don’t think you have to finish a plan to print it or use it. There’s a selection option in the print dialog, so you don’t have to print a lot of empty stuff when you want to print. Just print the pieces you have ready. Or, better yet, keep the plan alive, refer to it, don’t print it at all — use it.
- Watch your assumptions. Change is a constant. There is a general assumptions table that doesn’t show up in the default print-out, but is there for you to use, every day if you have to. There’s also a default assumptions text. Track your assumptions well. Note the changes.
To me it’s funny how well the tool works with the idea of planning as you go. Use it the way it was intended to be used: not as a recipe or task list, but as an idea generator. Jump around. Make it useful from day one.