(MoneyWatch) Some years ago, when I was trying to launch my call-in tech radio show (don't look for it -- it's not there anymore), I tried a variety of software applications to help me craft a killer business plan. Yet despite friendly looking "wizards" to guide you through the process, none of the business plan programs I tried really simplified the process of creating a good plan.
Now, years later, I've run across a tool that appears to be a much smarter way to craft a business plan.
Enloop is a web-based app for creating a business plan. But while most business plan tools are fairly rudimentary -- they give you a wizard-based template in which you still need to enter all the financials details -- Enloop is different.
Not only does the program automatically generate basic text for each section of the business plan -- which you can edit and customize to your heart's content -- Enloop has a feature it calls TextSync. Enloop also helps you calculate all of the financial information you'll need -- sales, P&L, cash flow, and so on. Enloop then synchronizes these values throughout the plan, so anytime these numbers change the entire document is updated as well.
You can get started with Enloop for no charge, though the free service is pretty basic. You can create a single business plan with basic features -- no charts or text formatting, for example, or the TextSync feature I mentioned earlier. To really take advantage of what Enloop has to offer, you'll want to sign up for the advanced plan, which costs $20 a month and lets you create up to five business plans with all of the fixings. I suspect you won't need to invest in Enloop for more than about 90 days, though, as you create and hone your business plan and prepare to share it with investors.