We are trying to a solve a problem for a number of our clients (mainly PT & Martial Arts Studios). The problem is this.. how can we create a simple, living breathing plan for their business. Something too large and it does not get updated, something too light-weight and it does not really help them.
This is where we have landed so far – https://club-plan.herokuapp.com/ It is a little free tool that lets them see where they are now and where they want to be in the future (through some basic graphs). It then asks them to document how they think they will get there.
What tools do you use? Is there something out there already that provides a nice tradeoff between time investment and an actionable plan?
I think you want to stratify your tool to include a basic level for people to use when first conceiving of opening a business. That is the best time to get in the habit of thinking forward. Then a second level would be for an existing business to grow wisely. I think before going forward with this you want to expand it a great deal. A tool will be most helpful when it covers aspects of competition, population density, transportation issues, local prices, as well as all aspects of overhead and start up costs.
A good business plan will include these http://www.forbes.com/2007/05/09/palo-alto-software-ent-manage-cx_mc_050…
Hope this helps,