For most startup companies, the most daunting document in the world to create is the business plan. Though it’s the roadmap for your future and the key to securing funding , it also can be intimidating to write. Many novices have no clue where or how to begin.
There's a free cloud-based solution that can help alleviate that pain point for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Enloop is an online tool now in beta that helps budding entrepreneurs create printable, bank-ready business plans using a step-by-step process. Through a feature called AutoText, the tool even will automatically write the text of your business plan based on the information you input.
"Half the battle is understanding how to describe your business," Cynthia McCahon, Enloop's CEO, told BusinessNewsDaily.
Throughout the process, Enloop provides a reality check on the likelihood of your success in a dark time for entrepreneurial performance. Using data from more than 700 industry categories, it creates an Enloop Performance Score (EPS) that tells you how you compare with peer companies. The score is updated as you add or change information.
"There's never been a system that's allowed the user to look at a predictive score, "said McCahon. "We hope it becomes as familiar a phrase as FICO score. It takes emotions and passion out of the equation. This is the huge disconnect I saw in my years as a business financial professional."
As you update information, it also explains what certain concepts are and why they are important to the success of your enterprise and your ability to find funding.
Throughout the process, Enloop calculates 19 key ratios in areas such as liquidity, expense to sales and leverage. If there are areas where you need to improve, Enloop provides suggestions.
The AutoText feature is a particularly welcome feature for first-time entrepreneurs. This is not boilerplate cut–and-paste. All text is based on user input. Though you'd never confuse the output with Shakespeare, it produces clear, data-driven prose that can help convince lenders to fund your fledgling enterprise.
McCahon expects Enloop to come out of beta by the end of this month. At that time, the free version will be joined by a premium version that costs $9.95 a month and a professional plan costing $39.95 a month that is geared toward professional services firms such as CPAs. The pay plans accept more complex financial data and provide more granular insight into a company's financial picture.
"This is a complex, robust data-generating tool," said McCahon. "We want to make the most useful tool we can."
Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.