Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro 11.0 software is designed with one thing in mind - to make writing a business plan easier.

And Business Plan Pro 11.0 is certainly friendly. It gently eases in users to the thorny process of writing a business plan. If you're new to the process of forming a business, and less than confident about doing so, you'll enjoy Business Plan's ease of use.

Business Plan Pro 11.0 itself, rather than the information it contains, is easy to use and easily navigable. While it can look a bit busy at times it is perfectly easy to reduce all but that which you want to look at and concentrate on.

Another plus point about Business Plan Pro 11.0: it allows you to flit from one topic to another without being too rigid about the order in which the plan is put together. This is very useful when you are more confident in some aspects of a business, and less sure of yourself in other areas.

The numerous examples available when writing a company summary or marketing strategy, for example, are useful for general wording. Unfortunately for UK users, they have a very American slant and so could push some people the wrong way. Business Plan Pro 11.0 does use language not so suitable to potential investors in Britain.

There are many sections in Business Plan Pro 11.0 that will be suitable for some businesses but less so for others and some outside advice, rather than a piece of software designed to catch as many customers as possible, would be a better guide to what is needed and what is not.

So, when compiling a business plan for the British market place it would serve any user well to contact the various institutions that provide assistance in this area (banks, Citizens Advice, Business Link) to get advice on not overloading their business plans.

NEXT PAGE: tax, PAYE, VAT and company registration

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks - plus sign up for our unique and FREE business IT newsletter

Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro 11.0 software is designed with one thing in mind - to make writing a business plan easier.

Business Plan Pro 11.0 does provide some guidance in relation to business tax, PAYE, NI, VAT, company registration. This comes in the form of a number of fact sheets. These can be useful to read by yourself to become more familiar with the general structure and terms used when dealing with these matters. It also provides contact details for HMRC, Companies House and so on, which again can be useful.

However, the best piece of advice Business Plan Pro 11.0 provides on the subject of legal financial responsibilities is contained in the waivers at the bottom of the fact sheets which loosely translate as: 'Get yourself a lawyer and an accountant'.

Business Plan is reasonably priced at £79. It runs only on Windows PCs - there's no Mac or Linux support. We've reviewed the Standard version: there is a Premier version that adds functions such as import from Excel, visual cash planning, business valuation analysis and plan vs actual financial tools.

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks - plus sign up for our unique and FREE business IT newsletter

Business Plan Pro 11.0: Specs

  • Microsoft Windows Vista/XP SP2/2000 SP4
  • 100MB free space
  • Minimum SVGA (800x600) with 256 colours (1024x768 with 16-bit colour or higher recommended)
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • internet connection
  • Microsoft Windows Vista/XP SP2/2000 SP4
  • 100MB free space
  • Minimum SVGA (800x600) with 256 colours (1024x768 with 16-bit colour or higher recommended)
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • internet connection

OUR VERDICT

A good introduction to the world of creating a business plan, Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro 11.0 is a useful addition to any budding businessperson's arsenal. But it's not a panacea: make sure you get plenty of good, third-party advice, and try to tone down the Yankee-language.

Find the best price