Business Reviews

Best Business Plan Software: Which is the Right Solution for You?

We have put together a Huge comprehensive Guide to the Best Business Plan Software - Full Reviews of Each with Pros & Cons.
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Getting your business started might not be as hard as you think. There are a number of business planning tools out there, and finding the best business plan software for your needs will help you get going. There are loads of business plan software options, and finding the best business plan software will ensure that you have the best tools for your budding start-up.

Entrepreneurs have a range of challenges when it comes to starting up a new business. One of the biggest ones is getting the cash to fund operations, and few new companies are profitable from the get-go. When you go looking for investors, you will need to have a solid business plan and some projections that show how your idea can be turned into a profitable business.

Luckily for you, there are a number of business planning software platforms to help. Every business planning software platform will offer you something different, and some will be better suited to your business idea than others. These platforms can also help you take your company to the next level, and deliver the kind of data analysis that will allow your company to compete on a larger scale.

Finding the Best Business Plan Software

When you decide to take your idea to the marketplace, you need to have something to show potential investors. The business plan that you generate will also help you to stay focused, and make sure you are accomplishing the things that will make your business a success.

Here are some of the best business plan software options in the market today, so you can find the one that best suits your business’ needs.

Live Plan by Palo Alto Software

Whether you need a strategic business plan or a funding plan to attract potential investors to expand your established company, Live Plan is of the top options on the road towards your goals.

Palo Alto’s platform is built for companies that are just starting up, or already have a business that is up and running. It has full compatibility with industry-standard QuickBooks and Xero accounting systems, although it will not allow you to import information directly from a spreadsheet.

LivePlan Review

Live Plan’s main focus is on business planning with loads of features from a one-page business pitch, to business plan writing guidance, and financial forecasting. It also features a dashboard, which shows you how things are going at a glance.

LivePlan provides instructional videos and text descriptions of what needs to be done throughout the business plan’s building process. Furthermore, the free blog has hundreds of articles on business planning subjects. You don’t have to think about how to use it, as the company and community have already done loads to make the platform accessible.

The platform also offers you access to the latest market analysis and company trends. It has step-by-step support and guidance on where to find financial support, making it one of the best options for business plans to write.

Business Plan

LivePlan is priced at just $19.95 a month, with annual purchase discounts and a free trial offer, the platform is ideal for any size company. Unless you feel happy with the service, you will be supported with a money-back guarantee for 60 days, regardless of which plan you sign up for.

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Pros

  • When it comes to advantages, Live Plan has all wonderful bright sides that suit whether a new venture or an existing business. There’s probably a lot to see in this section.
  • There are more than 500 templates in the LivePlan program to meet your needs. LivePlan also provides technology integration like Xero and QuickBooks Online, to take you out of stress from data entry. As a result, it’s much easier to update your business plan as needed.
  • The platform also helps you to export your project to a creditor or investor which will help if you need to present it. Benchmarking feature is another powerful tool of LivePlan.
  • LivePlan provides companies like yours with the ability to compare the numbers and goals of your business, so you can see where you fall relative to these benchmarks.

Cons

  • It would be better if Live Plan can adjust third-party integrations. Currently, there’s a lack of a spreadsheet option to import financial data. It currently only provides the ability to import financial data from QuickBooks or Xero.
  • As a result, the data or time period is not controlled by you. This is a turnoff for companies that are set up to keep track of their monthly finances and use their own spreadsheets. Overall Live Plan does a lot for the money and is a good fit for startups, or SMEs.

Read our full review of LivePlan here.

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GoSmallBiz

Created in 1996 by Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is a proven business plan software providing a simple-to-use tool for business planning that includes step-by-step templates with built-in advice modules.

GoSmallBiz offers a range of online learning tools for those who are starters to business planning, including business mentoring, business courses, and weekly updates. It also provides users with guidance from an actual CEO and specialist in business planning, so you can take comfort in knowing that you will never be steered in the wrong direction.

GoSmallBiz

The platform also offers hundreds of company-specific models creating the exact business owners requiring documents. And, after setting up automatic reminders, its virtual calendar management will schedule meetings, appointments, and customer events.

The financial statements and projections are other great features of the platform. Business owners should carry out a detailed analysis of sales and profit and look at profits, cash flow, and balance sheets. These tasks are easy to do with GoSmallBiz.

GoSmallBiz is priced at a reasonable $39 a month, but you can choose their 60-day free trial if you want to see how it’s going to work with your business model before making any decision.

Pros

  • With GoSmallBiz, you have access to unlimited business consultations and mentoring for any business-related matter. In addition, consultants are selected for their knowledge and experience in running a small business. All senior advisors have run small businesses themselves.
  • Senior advisors have in-depth knowledge in one or more of the disciplines: tax, accounting, marketing, finance, advertising, technology, and general business. Such participants are chosen based on their wide range of experience rather than on industry knowledge.
  • An additional strength of GoSmallBiz is customized reporting. One size certainly doesn’t suit all when it comes to reporting. Therefore, instead of requiring users to use the same reporting forms, GoSmallBiz provides customized reporting so as to meet customers’ needs.
  • Lastly, GoSmallBiz gives you a chance to test the water before you decide whether the service fits your needs or not with a 60-day free trial.

Cons

  • The financial tools that GoSMallBiz includes are powerful but can be hard to use to create properly formatted balance sheet forecasts, income statement and cash flow statements without using a spreadsheet or preparing your own statement.
  • There’s a lack of exporting capabilities as well, along with certain targeted integrations with common third-party software, particularly accounting and business intelligence applications. Like Live Plan, this may not be the best choice for an established company.
  • Nonetheless, since GoSmallBiz defined itself primarily as a one-time business plan document, rather than a long-term planning method, it’s understandable that the company has not included these features.

Visit GoSmallBiz

Equity Net

EquityNet was created in 2005 as the only patented and original equity crowdfunding platform with only $2.1 million USD in funding. The platform matches competent investors with start-ups looking to raise from $10,000 to $10 million USD.

It has managed in the last 12 months to raise more than $115 million USD with more than 100,000 entrepreneurs and investors using the site. The platform includes two plans for value: one for investors and one for businessmen.

EquityNet also offers, along with its crowdfunding platform, cloud-based software that empowers you to build a business plan that will be accessible to investors and help them decide whether your business is worth investing in.

Equity Net

In reality, you don’t have to use EquityNet to raise funds at all, you can actually use the technology to evaluate and optimize your business planning.

The thing that sets EquityNet apart from others in this list of business plan software is that the software is not focused primarily on the development of business plans.

It is really a tool for both those looking for investments and those looking to invest. Nonetheless, its bundled business planning platform is well built and can help speed up the funding of start-ups.

In terms of fees, EquityNet is priced at $199 per month for analytical tools and crowdfunding. The platform also offers you a free version of business planning features, which lets you check out business and funding profiles, build your business plan as guided and view investor profiles.

Pros

  • Equity Net offers unique services that match entrepreneurs with investors with a business planning tool to allow this process. EquityNet is not for any business and is expensive compared to other options on this list. The platform works best for those looking for funding from outside and the free version may appeal to entrepreneurs who want to create impressive charts and graphs.

Cons

The primary focus of Equity Net is also its drawback: it is a platform built for acquiring equity from investors. Equity Net’s development is based on crowdfunding contributions from investors you don’t know. If you just need a plan to sell your local Angel investor on your ideas, EquityNet is probably overkill.

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PlanGuru

Recognized as a solid platform with loads of features and intuitive design, PlanGuru offers great value for small to medium-sized businesses, making it one of the strongest business plan software options.

PlanGuru provides financial statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements as one of the top budgeting and forecasting software. In addition, the business plan app provides over 20 forecasting techniques to assist with tasks such as developing personalized market drivers, including non-financial information as well.

PlanGuru

PlanGuru Analytics, a cloud-based finance dashboard, and reporting tool is a fully customizable interface that helps accountants and financial advisors to monitor key business performance tracking financial KPIs. PlanGuru also provides a sophisticated Excel reporting add-in that allows accountants to manage PlanGuru data in Excel and generate reports.

For comprehensive product information, users can watch tutorial videos or go through training material on its website.

PlanGuru pricing plans are available with 3 options:

  • PlanGuru Startup ($99) with a fully integrated balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement and more, you can create forecasts for up to 10 years.
  • PlanGuru Basic ($399) includes setup plus 60-day money-back guarantee, import services for QuickBooks & Excel, and more.
  • PlanGuru Enhanced ($799) with standard features plus team account sub-totaling feature; combine unlimited prediction number; company valuation tool; qualified accountant engagement tools.

Pros

  • Plan Guru (PG) is a friendly and flexible application for creating cash flow reports. It also builds a perfect budget and forecast for users, as well as compares the budget to your actual results. The platform keeps your company on track the cash and KPI’s automatically. As a first time user, the learning curve is shallow, which means that it is easy to use.
  • The platform has a good layout and similar to excel format. PG has also a very responsive and knowledgeable support team. Finally, for those in management that only want to check the KPI’s they can sign in with Analytics, and get a quick idea of how things are going.

Cons

  • PG is limited to monthly subscriptions, and the minimum monthly cost of $99 is higher than many competitors. It does provide a cloud-based version and costs an extra $45/month, so PG requires you to download your laptop and just run on Windows PC.

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StratPad

It is important to create a business strategy for business success, and business planning technology will make it easy and achievable. StratPad is one of many excellent resources for small businesses that can assist with the development of business plans, financial forecasting and more.

The StratPad business plan software includes several great features. The entire software setup is clear, simple to use and well-organized. StratPad is one of the best educational tools for free business planning. It also has an integrated system that links startups to sources of financing.

Stratpad

One of StratPad’s key tools is focused on creating business plans. Other tools include the ability to make financial projections that are both simple and complex. Through StratPad, you can even get support by applying for funding.

While the program itself is very useful, being able to go online and gain support from qualified business coaches makes this a very valuable tool, which separates StratPad from other business software

Entrepreneurs can use StratPad to monitor and report progress when discussing their business plan with partners and coworkers. StratPad also provides useful workshops video tutorials, online webinars and business toolkits for download.

Pros

  • The simplicity of this platform is a consistent praised by real-world users. StratPad provides a free account without trial options as well as lots of educational resources such as workshops, video tutorials, interactive webinars, and downloadable business toolkits.
  • The app is very easy for new users and has a step-by-step building process with detailed explanations at every turn. Also, it automatically makes charts, graphs and appendices for you based on the data you give. The platform also enables you to sync with QuickBooks to make information entry easier.
  • StratPad is a cloud-based business plan software suitable for business owners and advisors who need a simple tool to create and ensure that their data is secure and accessible.

Cons

  • StratPad isn’t the cheapest product in the marketplace. While it does give you many tools, it isn’t going to be a great way to go for startups with little cash at their disposal.
  • Its services cost 29.99 GBP/month, while service providers such as LivePlan keep charging just $19.95 USD/month. The ability to add comments to the business plan is missing from StratPad.
  • In addition, StratPad lacks examples of quality business plans that users can learn from.

Visit StratPad

Atlas Business Solutions Ultimate Business Plan

Atlas Business Solutions (ABS) Ultimate Business Planner 5.0 will start with a fairly user friendly-looking wizard that will take you through the process of creating a business plan and financial forecasting. Its Ultimate Business Planner works to help determine whether your business idea is worth pursuing or whether you need to reevaluate your vision for a more successful business.

The good part here is that it has advanced functionality, even though the software can still help start-up entrepreneurs.

ABS

The window-based software has over 1000 sample business plans to test and integrate with Microsoft Excel, Adobe PDF, and QuickBooks to walk you through the business planning process. Ultimate Business Plan also offers plenty of features for starting your business and helps you out with many forms and documents needed including financial projections and forecasts.

There’s also a lot of available resources such as valuable date from the SBA as well as free technical support for a limited time. Ultimate Business Planner is priced at $99.00 per year for a single-user license. The more users you add, the bigger the discount becomes, so for 10 users, the cost is just $549.

Pros

  • This is one of the cheaper options compared to other software and user-friendly, given all the features that are included. Simple reports are easy to make, use, and print.
  • The platform provides a multi-user option, that way different departments of the company can enter information independently from one another. It allows your company to edit the narrative to improve the wording if it is generated automatically, which is a nice selling point.

Cons

  • There are no big downsides to the platform, although it isn’t the cheapest option there is. Overall it is a solid platform and could work well for your company.

Visit Atlas Business Solutions

Enloop

If you’re looking for software that can support your business not only for business planning also when you seek new investors, check out Enloop. The platform is a straightforward and sophisticated software package for writing business plans online. Use Enloop to guide you through every step, avoid mistakes and save time.

Two features that differentiate Enloop are Autowrite and TextSync. With Autowrite, Enloop generates the framework of the business plan text using the information that you have carefully entered (such as financial forecasts and history of management).

Enloop

While the Autowrite feature provides a higher degree of structure for business plans, TextSync feature is what makes Enloop stand out. By using TextSync feature, the items are automatically updated and the “data bubbles” are synced whenever there’s a change in numbers.

Businesses with simple text and no images may find Enloop a perfect choice as the software allows them to try out its business plan functionality for free with a no-charge version. You’ll need to pay at least $19.95 USD a month for anything else. Enloop helps business owners create business plans quickly and easily with a paid version as well.

Pros

  • Enloop’s prices are quite competitive and it is also an appropriate alternative for those with a limited budget. Enloop offers unique features like AutoWrite, which provides the main text for your business strategy automatically, while TextSync syncs your data to keep the plan updated.
  • The advanced and professional packages are included with its lowest-priced plan. There is also a free version, but it still lacks some of the features you’ll probably need eventually. You can access to app anytime with cloud-based software. Enloop is also compatible with every major OS.

Cons

  • Enloop doesn’t integrate with Quickbooks, Xero, or other accounting software like other business planning software; therefore, you must enter your own financial data and it doesn’t also have a lot of assistance for beginners. Aside from that, it is an amazing option for businesses that need to get their plan together!

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NetEkspert iPlanner.NET

NetEkspert is known for helping entrepreneurs and businesses create business plans, design financial models and optimize opportunities for project funding, NetEkspert has likely raised its reputation with the launch of iPlanner software.

iPlanner.NET is an enterprise performance management software with features such as dashboard, key performance indicators, qualitative analysis, and strategic planning. iPlanner.NET is available as SaaS code for system requirements.

iPlanner

Building a fast business plan is fairly easy with support from iPlanner.NET. However, the software seems more aimed at helping consultants and advisors build business plans for their clients rather than users building a business plan for their own use.

Because of this focus, most of its planning and guidance tools are created for consultants, instead of advanced business plan creation.

iPlanner.NET pricing plans are based on the number of project entities saved in the program.

A business unit or a non-profit agency usually produces a one-year Strategic Plan plan. There are six levels of pricing, ranging from A to F. Since iPlanner.NET comes with fewer features for actual business planning, the process is much simpler and the price is fairly affordable.

Pros

  • The iPlanner.NET designer offers a clear and flexible setup for collaborative planning among many various group members in an organization. All of their business planning packages enable you to have infinite partners and allocate people three different roles: Project Owners, Advisors, and Viewers.
  • The platform has the ability to work in an offline mode and then be integrated back into the online mode could be useful for some businesses. iPlanner’s costs start at $49 USD/year, which is much cheaper than many comparable services on the market.
  • One definite upside is the multiple output tools, where the final document can be exported to Microsoft Word, HTML, or as a PDF file.

Cons

  • iPlanner doesn’t have a month-to-month package for either of their services or offer a free version or trial. It also requires that the users have basic English skills, which may be a downside to an international startup that doesn’t have English speaking employees.

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The Business Plan Shop

Business Plan Shop is a great choice that you can’t ignore if you need to build a simple business plan. The program is user-friendly and provides the right areas to cater to stakeholders. It does an excellent job of making financial projections easy for non-accountants to make.

Financial forecasting is easy with The Business Plan Shop as the software will take care of this tricky part of any business for you, and craft all the documents that you need to get your funding approved: a monthly first-year cash flow forecast and a full set of 3 or 5-year financial statements.

Business Plan Shop

You can export your document in PDF or MS Word format once you have created your financial forecast and written your business plan. Most of the formatting is handled by its technology, which saves you time and ensures you get a professional-looking file that improves your reputation with investors.

The Business Plan Shop offers a functional business plan creation tool for a three-month subscription, starting at $25. If you’re heading to long-term service, you can go with the Pro Yearly option, which is priced at $96.

The price for The Business Plan Shop’s services is attractive because you just need to only $8 per month. Additionally, you have 7 days to test the software with no need for adding payment information.

Pros

  • Whether the plan is about creating a financial forecast or writing a winning business plan, The Business Plan Shop has you fully covered. You’re given plenty of opportunities to customize business plan elements. Plus, clear guidance and examples are also available at every step of your business planning process.

Cons

  • The Business Plan Shop provides support for writing a good business plan, but mostly for people who have a decent understanding of the elements which need to be in the documents. Beginners or those looking for guidance on how to write a plan may find it less useful or may want to run their results past a consultant.
  • The ability to import financial information from accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero, but not spreadsheets, may also be a turnoff for established businesses, as they likely have their own spreadsheets.

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Conclusion

There are so many options for your company when it comes to the best business plan software, you might find it hard to know where to start.

Be sure to look through the features that a platform offers, and get the one that you think will offer your company the most for its money.

Most of the platforms on this list work from a subscription business model, so you won’t have any trouble switching to another platform if you want to try something else out later on.

The Winner?

The pick for us is clearly, LivePlan – they offer the most features in a well designed package for a reasonable monthly fee. Their offering is modern, clean and packed full of features so we have no hesitation recommending them as the best option for creating your business plan.

If you’d like to read more about LivePlan, check out our full review.

Visit LivePlan

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Nicholas is an experienced Finance Journalist who has written for a number of prominent online publications. He grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a father that would read him the Wall St. Journal along side of other bed-time fare. He has traveled extensively, and been lucky enough to study a changing global economy in person. Nicholas spent many years in the Southern Cone of South America, sometimes in the middle of the countryside where livestock starts its journey to all points of the globe. Today he is thoroughly bemused with the stance that Central Banks have taken in the wake of the 2008 meltdown. There is no telling what will come out of the global financial system next, but he is glad that he lives somewhere that gold can be bought and sold readily! nick@moneycheck.com


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank or credit card issuer and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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