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Mini Review of JIAN Business Planning Software

The hardest part of planning a business is the blank computer screen. But a plan is extremely important if you want to succeed - and we all want that, right? Micro businesses and solo entrepreneurs can benefit greatly from a plan even if they are not looking for a loan but many postpone every doing it because it is so time consuming and difficult to do without any direction.

There actually is a way to jump start the business plan process: the JIAN business planning products. Think of it this way - instead of that blank screen, you can write a business plan with a screen full of options and just turn off the ones you do not need. JIAN Biz Plan Builder and all of the other JIAN products integrate with Microsoft Office. The planning process starts out with planning tools, surveys, and assessments. It includes complete plan prototypes for the most common types of businesses - making it much easier to edit something that already written than start from scratch. Each plan contains a complete outline of every possible business and marketing plan section you could ever need, and you simply turn on and off the parts, you do not need. The product is somewhat cumbersome to use at first because it contains so much information, but there is help and a guide available.

The software and templates guide you through the toughest part - the financials. There are three levels of financial plans, depending on your needs (seeking venture capital, loans, or not). It includes dozens of intricately entwined financial spreadsheets and supporting documents, which automatically calculate and update themselves throughout the business plan. In addition, the product comes with forms, letters, templates, supporting documents such as non-disclosure agreements, cover letters to banks, press release, feedback surveys - those alone are worth the price even if you don't use the software!

Overall, the products are impressive in that they provide so much to start with, and allow you to customize to your needs, plus TONS of guidance. What is appealing is the price - you get all of these things, plus $700 worth of additional information, advice, e-books, and other downloadable goodies, for only $99.00! Even the most cash strapped start up business has to love that price. And, in addition to the Biz Plan Builder, there is a Marketing Plan Builder, Publicity Builder, and sets of business agreements you can purchase and use, too.

$99.00 for a fully loaded business planning tool - it doesn't actually do it all for you, but it eliminates the most common excuse for not planning your business - not knowing where to start!


Eileen Parzek is an award winning graphic and web designer providing digital and print graphic design and web design services. Always found at the intersection of information, creativity and technology, her business, Business Design Studio (www.businessdesignstudio.com) helps small businesses make a big impression.

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