There’s lots of free resources to help you plan your business – but, surprisingly, little in the way of free software (though we’ve found one or two options below). It’s not necessarily a problem because you can compose a pretty good business plan using the guides and templates available – and online spreadsheets like Google Sheets can help with financial planning.
Free business plan guides & templates
Very good free guides and templates are available on the Great Business, Prince’s Trust and gov.uk websites. There’s also a CIMA pdf checklist that covers stuff you need to consider when planning and some wonderful resources from the British Library though some are only accessible actually onsite.
Bplan is also a useful site with sections on writing a business plan, and sample business plans sorted by sector for you to pinch and adapt. There’s also a free guide on the Sage website and useful guides on the Lloyds bank website. Powerhomebiz also offers heaps of free business plan templates sorted alphabetically by industry.
Free business planning software & tools
Natwest provides free business planning software tool which you can sign up for here. A similar planner is available on the RBS site too. You can also find free business planning software included in the 30 day free trial version of Smarta’s business tools – though you’ll have to cancel the trial more than 7 days before the end of the trial otherwise you’ll be billed.
You’ll find a decent business plan wiki and step-by-step online template at Lawdepot that allows you to download your plan as a pdf but beware, it’s only free for 7 days and requires a card after completing the plan (cancel before the 7 days are up).