The Best Business Plan Software in 2020 – Get Investors’ Attention & Lure Capital

by Terry Stancheva | April 18, 2020

Businesses that plan grow 30% faster than those than don’t. That’s what research by LivePlan shows and we agree with that, especially when it comes to securing funding. 

So you have a great idea but wonder which tool will showcase it best for potential investors?

We got you covered — we tested and compared multiple solutions to present you with the best business plan software on the market.

Here is what you will find in this article:

 •  The process we followed reviewing business plan tools

 •  A list with the top business planning software

 •  The pros and cons of each solution

 •  Important factors to consider when choosing a business planning app

 •  The benefits of creating a business plan online.

 

Let’s dive right in.

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LivePlan

LivePlan business plan software with performance tracking review logo
User rating: 9.9
+

Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero

+

Simple pricing

+

Variety of languages available

-

Easy to get lost in the knowledge base

-

No control over data or time period when importing

-

Steep learning curve

LivePlan is a very customizable business plan software solution with performance tracking. Its adjustability makes it well suited for any business size, from startups to enterprises. It provides guidance through every step of the process — pitch creation, planning, securing funding and financial forecasting.
Read Full Review >
2

StratPad

StratPad business planning software and tools review logo
User rating: 9.7
+

Certification program

+

Mobile app

+

Simple step-based procedure

-

Interface sometimes slows or shuts down

-

Cannot add comments to your plan

-

Low on features

StratPad is web-based business plan software catering to agencies and business owners. It’s focused on assisting you to find the right strategy, rather than being an all-in-one solution. Designed as an educational tool, not only a business planning platform, it helps you connect with professional business coaches and lenders. Without a bunch of extra features, StratPad provides simple software for business plan creation and management.
Read Full Review >
3

Enloop

Enloop plan software online review logo
User rating: 9.6
+

Business plan score system

+

ideal for those on a bootstrap budget

+

unlimited collaboration

-

doesn’t integrate with accounting software

-

no videos or examples

-

a lot of blanks to fill in

Enloop is an easy to use business planning system focused on financials. Fill the numbers in the respective windows and the software will automatically create the necessary text for your business plan pitch. That makes this tool the best choice for anyone who doesn’t have a way with words but is good with numbers.
Read Full Review >
4

Poindexter

Poindexter simple business modeling tool review logo
User rating: 9.3
+

shareable on social

+

keeps you focused and organized

+

keeps a close watch on cash flow

-

no unlimited plans tier at a set price

-

no pitch text suggestions

-

not enough charts to showcase the calculations

Poindexter is a simple business plan tool, best for entrepreneurs who can’t afford an analyst. The platform walks you through every step of the creation of financial scenarios and helps you make better forecasts-based decisions. Some of the features include customizable dashboards, simple and automated reports, monthly goal setup, and Excel exports ready for presentation.
Read Full Review >
5

Upmetrics

Upmetrics online business plan software review logo
User rating: 9.0
+

unlimited collaborators with any plan in real-time

+

canvas for visualizing the highlights of your plan

+

custom branded plan

-

no excel import, data must be entered manually

-

no ‘what if’ scenarios

Upmetrics is the best business plan software for accurate financial projections. It is aimed at small to mid-sized business and nonprofit organizations. Some of its key features are a real-time editor, industry-tailored business plan templates, and innovative business model canvases. With unlimited team members and easy collaboration, you can quickly create a reliable business plan.
Read Full Review >
6

The Business Plan Shop

The Business Plan Shop review logo
User rating: 8.9
+

lots of reminders on what to include in the plan

+

can use private comments on the plan

+

discount rates for accountants and consultants

-

cannot import from QuickBooks or Xero

-

part of the knowledge base is only in French

-

limited number of collaborators

The Business Plan Shop is the best business plan software for people with some experience in the field, who don’t need assistance at every step. It is a tool, helping you put together your business plan, but unlike most business planners it doesn’t offer a lot of guidance, which makes it unsuitable for first-timers.
Read Full Review >
7

TheBizPlanner

TheBizPlanner logo
User rating: 8.5
+

seamless collaboration

+

built-in chat

+

investor relations management

-

too many mandatory fields

-

lacking financial calculations

-

have to enter a lot of data manually

The BizPlanner is a software for business planning and investor relations, designed for small and medium businesses. You can easily create a profile, write a business plan, collaborate with your team and connect with investors. Some extra features include fundraising management and social sharing.
Read Full Review >

How We Created the List of the Top Business Plan Software — Our Step-By-Step Methodology 

 

1. We did extensive research on the topic and explored what makes a winning business plan software.

2. We prepared a checklist of all the essential features of a business planning solution

3. We created a list of the available software options.

4. We read a lot of user and expert reviews and checked the main functionalities of each tool to narrow down the list. That’s how we ended up with the best business planning software.

5. Then we signed up for each platform to test all the available features firsthand.

6. We contacted customer support with all sorts of questions.

7. We checked if there is a knowledge base on their site and how helpful it is in practice. We can all agree good business planning software should make your life easier rather than overwhelm you.

8. We then compared all the key features we deem essential in a good business planning system.

9. We took note of any additional and specific features.

10. We compared the cost and pricing model of each platform, and if the value offered is worth your money.

11. We asked a small business owner, an accountant, and an investor what they would look for in a business planning app. This helped us categorize all platforms according to their main functionalities and what businesses they cater to.

12. In the end, we added our verdict, based on the results of our research.

 

 We made sure to cover all the essential points in our reviews.

 

How We Tested and Reviewed Each Software

There are several important aspects to keep in mind when choosing business plan creation software, so we took them all into account when testing and reviewing each solution. Read on to learn which they are and why they are so important.

 

» Usability

 

Not many aspects of any software are as important as usability — the users aren’t necessarily tech gurus and the software should account for that. The first thing we consider is how easy the platform is to navigate for both the tech-savvy and the inexperienced. The same goes for installing, setting it up and integrating it with your other business processes.

 

» Main Features

 

Any top business plan software should have a set of essential features, so we tested each platform on the list for those and noted down its performance. The main features of a business plan program are as follows:

 

» Pitch creation

 

We checked for a pitch presentation tool that can introduce ideas at a glance. Templates or wizards will also format any ideas in an investor-friendly way. 

 

» Business plan development

 

We tested every business planning software for tools assisting with business plan creation. Any industry-specific templates and what-to-include guidance while writing a business plan can be helpful for users without a professional background. 

 

» Financial & Performance reports

 

We searched for charts that visualize financial forecasts and projections. We also appreciate import, export, and data sync functionalities and formats which aid accounting.

 

» Extra Features

 

We jotted down additional features, such as benchmarking, setting milestones, ‘what-if’ scenarios, inventory management options, payroll. 

We also checked whether the software solutions have outline flexibility, collaboration options, and ways to adjust data once the plan goes live. We checked for any integrations, most importantly with accounting software such as Xero or QuickBooks.

 

» Deployment

 

We considered the type of deployment — if it is a SaaS solution or on-premise, and whether it offers any mobile apps.

 

» Training & Support

 

What kind of support and training the different platforms provide and how reliable the service is fundamental when acquiring new software. 

 

» Pricing Plans & Packages 

 

In the end, we checked the price of every software on the list if it’s good value for your investment.

 

So here is a closer look at the results for best business plan software packages:

 

Best Business Plan Software Picks for 2020

LivePlan

Things we liked
+

Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero

+

Simple pricing

+

Variety of languages available

Things we disliked
-

Easy to get lost in the knowledge base

-

No control over data or time period when importing

-

Steep learning curve

LivePlan is one of the oldest business plan builder options. Created by Palo Alto Software it is the online version of Business Plan Pro.  It’s the product of 30-years experience, offering business planning to more than 750,000 entrepreneurs. It’s been featured more than once in Bloomberg Businessweek, CNN Money and The Wall Street Journal.

 

UI and Guidance

The UI is neat and welcoming, organized in four sections to cover the requirements of an all-encompassing business plan. The outline can accommodate almost any kind of business with its drag and drop functionality.

While browsing, you’ll notice that the vendor’s website is packed with useful information, such as the LP blog, the Strategic advisory blog, and links to the company’s additional free resources at Bplan. A big plus is that the platform gives you helpful instructions and examples every step of the way while you create a business plan online.

 

Features

Main Strength — A wealth of industry-specific business plan templates.

Pitch Creation

LivePlan offers more than 500 sample plans to choose from, split into categories by industry. In case you prefer to create your plan from the ground up, the platform provides a step-by-step guide from the moment you log in.

There is a possibility of a simple one-page business format, helping you to outline your business idea. You can easily adjust the pitch whenever you need to.

Once you’ve cleared the basics such as market, customers, and sales activities, you can move to more detailed and complex business plans.

According to LivePlan’s website, you can build and document your idea on a single page in 20 minutes.

Business Plan Development

The focus point of LivePlan’s design is to present and maintain the business plan as something living, adaptable, and revisable often. 

There’s plenty of help along the way as well as industry-specific plans to copy-paste from. There are also legal templates to assist you in starting your new business. Once you set up your company in LivePlan, you can always copy it to create your own template for future use. 

With SBA-approved plans, your presentation can give all the necessary information presented visually to your future partners and investors.

LivePlan plan dashboard screenshot

Analysis and Projections

LifePlan creates automatic financial reports. With the help of newly acquired data, you will be able to test and validate your business assumptions. 

For each company created in LivePlan, you can review up to ten forecasting situations, adding staff, increasing expenses or purchasing new assets. To do that you just need to copy the existing forecast and change the values in it. Then you can quickly compare the possible outcomes. 

Another useful feature is the accurate financial forecasting and reports many LivePlan users swear by.

You can also easily import data from QuickBooks Online or Xero to make more accurate projections. If you have a manufacturing business, this business plan maker even gives you an inventory calculator to keep track of your direct production costs.

Collaboration

You can invite collaborators to view and contribute to your pitch, plan, and forecast. You can also invite an unlimited number of guests to view and give you feedback. 

 

Additional Features

 •  Professional presentation themes — designed styles, for visually appealing presentations.

 •  LivePlan printing — professionally printed business plan directly from the app

 •  Platform languages — English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish.

 

Deployment

LivePlan is a cloud-based platform, which means you can use it on any device and browser. It doesn’t offer an installed version for desktop or mobile apps.

 

Security

Many businesses have placed their trust in the Palo Alto business plan software for the 15 years it has been on the market. They use the same security model as the top financial institutions, as well as encryption and HTTPS for all the sent data. The company also stores it in multiple locations to prevent data loss.

 

Customer Support

LP offers business hours technical help by phone, but also email support and LiveChat, along with an immense knowledge base, documentation, video tutorials, and webinars.

LivePlan forecast dashboard screenshot

Price

LivePlan uses a simple and straightforward pricing model. The vendor’s plans depend only on how long you intend to prepay for – the longer the period, the lower the price. There are no catches, no contracts, and no hidden fees.

Here are the three available options: 

 •  Month-to-month — $20/month billed every month.

 •  6-month — $18/month billed every 6 months — save 10%

 •  Annual — $15/month billed every 12 months — save 25%

The best part is LivePlan offers a 60 days money-back guarantee, in case you are not satisfied with the product.

 

Verdict

LivePlan can accommodate any business size. It allows for creating complex 5-year forecasts in just a couple of hours and is great for answering all three needs of a burgeoning business — defining it, planning its management and getting investment. 

The huge knowledge base touches on every useful topic for an online business planner, with a multitude of explanations, examples, and samples. 

StratPad

Things we liked
+

Certification program

+

Mobile app

+

Simple step-based procedure

Things we disliked
-

Interface sometimes slows or shuts down

-

Cannot add comments to your plan

-

Low on features

This nifty business plan generator has over 100,000 customers in over 100 countries and no wonder. It’s been featured in Forbes, CNN Expansion, and has earned an award from StartUP Canada. StratPad is aimed at startups, small to medium-sized businesses, agencies, and enterprises. It’s also worth mentioning that two-thirds of their customers manage to obtain financing. The platform’s main goal is to make planning simple.

 

UI and Guidance

The tool offers a step-based approach, and it’s relatively easy to create a business plan. There’s also help offered in case you get stuck somewhere. 

The interface is divided into three main sections: “Cloud”, “Connect” and “College”. All planning is done in the “Cloud” section.

Each page and field is accompanied by a question mark symbol. There you get clarification and prompts on how to fill out the field, some sections even include short videos that walk you through. 

 

Features

Main Strength — Investor networking and consultant certification.

Business Plan Development

StratPad is equipped with all the tools to help you create a winning business plan in less than a day: business plan templates, financial forecasts, investment management, strategic planning, and projections. Instead of a pitch, you can use the Summary Business Plan to give an overview of your idea.

Once you set up your plan, you can add up to ten projects under the same plan at no additional cost. This breaks down the bigger idea into manageable, actionable chunks and focuses on how you’re going to reach your goals.

Management & Performance Reports

In StratPad you can easily create charts in the “Track Your Progress” section with a number of preset metrics such as monitoring revenue, expenses, AP and AR and more. You can also use any other metric, added previously in the ‘project’ and ‘objectives’ sections. It’s easy to visualize data in a bar, chart or area graph, with a number of colors to choose from.

This is a no-fuss way to compare projected versus actual values as your plan goes live. You can easily import new data from QuickBooks Online to get into the picture faster. The charts are printable and exportable in pdf format. You can also export the financial reports in .pdf, .csv or .plan.

It is even easier to create ‘what-if’ scenarios to manage cash flow — all you need to do is play with the numbers in the “AR”, “AP”, “Inventory” and “Sales Tax” sections to see all the other spreadsheets updated. There is also a “Playbook”, where you can keep track of different revenue and expense assumptions for the next six months. 

StratPad detailed financials dashboard screenshot

Collaboration

Collaboration has become a must in every business plan program. StratPad enables collaborators from different locations to work together without any difficulties in communication. It allows you to invite teammates to view or edit text and charts. You can also decide to hide charts from a collaborator.  Keep in mind this functionality is still in beta and simultaneous editing can be a problem. 

 

Extra Features

 •  StratPad College — An infinite knowledge base helping you not only prepare your business plan but also teaching you different strategies on how to present yourself and your business model to investors.

 •  StratPad Connect — A platform aimed at connecting you to your most important business partners, lenders, consultants, bookkeepers, and accountants.

 

Deployment

StratPad is a cloud-based business planning software, which means it can be used on every browser. It also offers an on-premise version for iPad users, available in the App Store.

 

Security

The StratPad’s official website mentions that the software uses 5-level data protection, but there is no additional information on this protection model. 

 

Customer Support

There is a contact form, email, and phone support

Apart from asking questions, at any moment of creating your plan, you can make a suggestion or report a bug. Users, however, report that you might have to wait for an answer longer than it is acceptable these days. 

StratPad growth plan screenshot

Price

There are two pricing options, both billed annually:

 •  Business — $19.99/month 

Aimed at business owners and allowing the creation of up to 5 business plans.

 •   Unlimited — $39.99/month

For professional advisors, offering all the features from the Business package, with an unlimited amount of business plans for the account.

If you decide to unsubscribe after you’ve purchased a plan, you just need to set your profile to ‘do not renew’ and you won’t be bothered again. Students, faculty, and startups can use this business plan maker for free.

 

Verdict

StratPad is truly great for turning your idea into a project in a short time. It is the best free business plan software to get you started, organize your tasks and connect you to investors. It is perfect for business owners on a budget and small business consultants who participate in multiple projects.

Aimed more at presenting how you will accomplish every small goal, StratPad helps you answer the most frequent investor questions.

Enloop

Things we liked
+

Business plan score system

+

ideal for those on a bootstrap budget

+

unlimited collaboration

Things we disliked
-

doesn’t integrate with accounting software

-

no videos or examples

-

a lot of blanks to fill in

Enloop boasts nearly 300,000 business owners, accountants, entrepreneurs and students who write and manage business plans with its online business planner. It’s been mentioned in Forbes, CNN Money, and Inc.

With plenty of customizable features and financial forecasting, Enloop is well-suited for any size business. The software allows you to gauge your idea’s potential, track your progress, get feedback, optimize your profit and build on gained experience. 

 

UI and Guidance

Fairly easy to use, it offers a clear process which makes it suitable for first-timers

This business plan generator has a lean user interface that doesn’t overwhelm you with info. The platform is simple, fast and runs smoothly. Instructions and clarifications are on point and presented in a neat, pop-up format instead of a link, helping you stay focused. 

 

Features

Main strengthThe EPS (Enloop Performance Score) — a proprietary algorithm to forecast the potential of a new business idea. 

Pitch Creation

Template text is available to frame the data, while financial terms and ratios are explained in a clear and concise way in a pop-up window. You can add topics to your business plan as well as change the order of the sections. You can drag and drop headings to rearrange them as you see fit. There’s even an ‘improve your ratio’ tip to go with those.

If you find you still need more assistance, the trademark AutoWrite feature generates grammatically correct sentences to make financial data stand out in a way that will impress investors and underwriters. 

Business Plan Development

A built-in list of NAICS codes serves to position your company in the context of your competition and calculate your chances of survival. In an optional field, the company owner can enter their credit score for a more exact estimate. 

Enloop easily creates ‘what-if’ scenarios and versions of the same plan, but you have to do it in another copy that counts towards the 3-plan limit. This comes in handy when you revise your plan and want to keep track of the changes in your evolving business. Once you delete an outdated copy, you free up space for a new financial projection.

You can download the plan in .pdf format for future reference at no extra cost. From there, you can copy-paste text later into your other plans. You can also share your plan and invite contributors while you’re building it.

Under the “Preview” tab, the user can create Profit and Loss, Cash Flow, Balance Sheet and Forecast charts based on the data input. You can upload additional pictures onto a clipboard to place around your plan later. This business plan writing software supports up to 4 MB in .jpg, .png, .bmp and .gif formats.

Enloop financial reports dashboard

Financial Reporting & Analysis

With automatically generated financial forecasting reports, all the accounting needed for a bank-ready report is calculated automatically.

One of the nice touches on Enloop is its real-time business plan score. It is changing while you fill in the different sections and helps you improve your plan. 

There are 16 critical financial ratios that compare your performance with the average of your industry, allowing you to easily find the weak spots of your financial calculations.

The financials also include a convenient ‘payroll’ section to get you started with your new team. 

 

Extra features

 •  TextSync — If you change some numbers in the future it automatically updates your business plan. This way you don’t need to go back to a specific section to change it manually and you don’t risk forgetting to do so.

 •  Currencies — You can use any of the world currencies in the financial forecast.

 

Deployment

Enloop is a SaaS platform, so you can run it without any difficulties on any browser or device. Being entirely cloud-based, it doesn’t offer a mobile app or desktop version.

 

Security

All passwords, personal, company, and financial data are secured with 128/256 bit encryption.

Data hosting centers are equipped with round-the-clock physical surveillance and biometrics scanning protocols for all employees.

 

Customer support

Contacting them via email, they answered quickly and resolved the issue within 24 hours, with simple, actionable steps. You can also suggest new features via the contact form. The Professional package, however, is the only one that offers phone support.

There is also a decent knowledge section on the website, helping you to set up your account and how to get the most benefit out of the features offered.

Enloop products and sales dashboard

Price 

There are two pricing options. Both have the same features and the main difference is it the number of teammates allowed on the project and the financial ratios analyzed. Here are the monthly prices:

 •  Detailed — $19.95/month — for up to 2 users and 3 financial ratios.

 •  Performance — $39.95/month — for up to 5 users and 16 ratios analyzed.

Since both packages allow for only three business plans, there is also an option of adding more plans, each at $9.95/month.

You can get a really good deal, opting for an annual payment, saving 55% and 60% on the Detailed and Performance plan respectively.

Enloop offers a 7-day free trial with no credit card required. The free trial has the same perks as the higher-tier plan, so you get a full picture of the benefits/service.

 

Verdict

Enloop is a financial forecasting and business plan creation tool. It focuses on the basics for super-fast, but accurate planning. With the AutoWrite and TextSync features, there’s no need to search for the best business plan template. Enloop is the ultimate solution for a business that needs detailed and accurate financials in a short time.

Poindexter

Things we liked
+

shareable on social

+

keeps you focused and organized

+

keeps a close watch on cash flow

Things we disliked
-

no unlimited plans tier at a set price

-

no pitch text suggestions

-

not enough charts to showcase the calculations

Poindexter started as an automated financial projections software that allegedly cuts through the meaningless metrics, only to focus on the one that counts — cash. It counts big names like USC, the University of Oregon, and Hofstra University among its clients. 

 

UI and Guidance

Very easy on the eyes with soft grey and green colors. This business planning software immediately gives you the opportunity to connect with Xero and create charts for the imported data. You can easily access the knowledge base, which guides you through the software modules. You can read about the steps or watch a short video. But even if you skip the intro, short and clear explanations come over each field while moving forward. 

As for the interface, it is smooth and easy to use. You can customize dashboards so you can see your most important goals on a single screen. The initial setup and business plan updating are simple even for people without an accounting background.

 

Features

Main strength — Detailed financial spreadsheets in a visually irresistible format.

Business Planning

In Poindexter, business plans are called Budgets.

Instead of having to come up with a mini-essay on the virtues and untapped potential of your product or service, Poindexter gets down to business right away. You create a financial plan for a project in four categories — “Customers”, “Revenues”, “Costs”, and “Investments”. A 3-minute video greets you at every step, again clear and concise.

When you get to “Revenues,” you can choose from several options, including In-App, Advertising, and Subscription. Similarly, “Costs” come in detailed categories. Poindexter also provides a model for planning a digital business. The per-user cost model, for example, will open fields for server storage and many more (The cost per gigabyte of storage per month). 

Under “Salaried labor” you can project employee hiring and costs according to different parameters. 

Financials Tracking

The Financials are an essential part of making a business plan. The summary and charts look just orderly, detailed and engaging. With Poindexter, you won’t have to think about how to describe this income or that cost. All the financial data can be exported to Excel. Combine it with professional payroll software and the picture will be complete.

The “Tracking” section will help you by monitoring, updating and signaling any data that turns out different than the forecast. In the knowledge base, you can also find Benchmark data, KPIs or other details necessary for more accurate assumptions. 

If you have difficulties at any step, check out the How to Read Financial Statements guide or watch the video that explains the 3 ubiquitous income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

Poindexter budget dashboard

Collaboration

This software offers unlimited collaborators. You can delegate tasks and responsibilities to your teams and departments to build the plan together.

 

Extra features

 •  Social shares — You can share the “Financials” on Facebook and Twitter, a great way to gather extra feedback, ideas or just popularity. 

 •  Edit or read-only rights — you can give edit rights for your team and collaborate, and send protected links to other stakeholders.

 

Deployment 

Poindexter is a web-based business planning tool and doesn’t have a mobile app.

 

Security

Poindexter is using Cloudflare CDN and your data is encrypted via industry-standard web security protocols like HTTPS, among other security measures.

 

Customer support

Poindexter provides a rich and up-to-date knowledge page, split into categories for each step of the business plan creation. 

The available ways to contact the support are through business hours live chat or by sending an email, which should get a reply within 24 hours.

Poindexter monthly cash budget screenshot

Price

There are three available payment plans for Poindexter. The main difference between them is the number of budget scenarios per plan. Apart from that, features also differ from one plan to another. With annual billing, you save up to 20%.

 •  Basic — $12/month (or $15/month with monthly billing)for one budget scenario

 •  Starter — $20/month ($25/month with monthly billing)for three scenarios

 •  Business — $38/month ($45/month with monthly billing) — for five budgeting scenarios

If your business has particular needs and none of the plans fits them, you can contact Poindexter for a tailored solution.

You can test the software for free with the 14-day trial without credit card details

 

Verdict

Poindexter is a very pared-down business planning platform. It concentrates on numbers, but they paint a clearer picture than words when it comes to business. It is also arguably the best business plan software for automated financial projections. In simple steps, you can check different cash flow scenarios and optimize ROI. You can forecast for up to 10 years and make monthly goals, convertible in daily tasks, so you keep your team and business on track.

This is a great tool for the evolving demands of the virtual market. 

Upmetrics

Things we liked
+

unlimited collaborators with any plan in real-time

+

canvas for visualizing the highlights of your plan

+

custom branded plan

Things we disliked
-

no excel import, data must be entered manually

-

no ‘what if’ scenarios

Upmetrics is focused not simply on helping entrepreneurs build their business plan, but also on finding their strengths and weaknesses. It assists in presenting and explaining your idea to the investors.

It is used by more than 8,000 entrepreneurs in 120 counties to write and manage their business plans. 

 

UI and Guidance

Upmetrics is user-friendly, fast and customizable. Its interface is one of the easiest to navigate, and you don’t need a management degree or accounting experience to be able to use the platform. A nice little touch is that you get to see a relevant inspirational quote if a page needs time to load or if a calculation is updating.

 

Features

Main strength — Selection of canvases to present your plan at a glance in a visual format.

Business Planning & Templates

The plan outline is customizable and the more ‘narrative’ parts come with examples and tips. There is a wealth of industry-specific plan templates, including niches such as a SaaS business model, Photography and Tutoring, to name a few. 

The library of canvases is a wonderful way to present your idea in a visually appealing format. You can choose from preset formats like ‘pitch’, ‘startup’, ‘lean’ or more. Or you can create your own.

Financial projection

The Financials section is there to back your idea with numbers. You can set the forecast for up to 5 years. Be careful, though — once you set this data up for a plan, you can’t change it. If you want to create different scenarios, you’ll need to draft an additional plan.

The financials come in manageable sections with all the necessary details, tips and models to choose from. The Forecast section asks you to input revenue, operating expenses, personnel, and working capital projections. These, in turn, generate the profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow, funding, assets, accounts payable, and accounts receivable spreadsheets in the “Report” section.

Upmetrics plan section screenshot

Analysis & Reports

You can fill out a SWOT analysis table and add different charts. Each report is downloadable in .xslx format. It would also be great to be able to upload data in the same format into the plan, but the software offers no imports. There’s a pinboard at the end to keep track of good ideas and benchmark info.

Collaboration

With this business plan writing software, you can easily assign sections to different members of the collaborators’ team, give them permission to read or edit the plan. You can invite experts to create financial forecasts or reports. Inviting reviewers to your plan won’t cost you extra. Financial simulations will count as an additional plan though.

 

Extra Features

 •  Visual layouts — you can make your presentation more interesting and engaging using visuals and charts, instead of plain text.

 •  Business plan cover page — use a designer created business plan cover page to make your plan stand out in investors’ eyes.

 

Deployment

It’s a cloud-based solution that also provides installed business plan software for Mac and Windows.

 

Security

Upmetrics is using HTTPS protocols and runs a zero-trust corporate network, as well as an encryption of data at rest. It provides protected access to the cloud by strong password policies as AWS, Code Repository, and Google.

 

Customer support

Support is available as an email ticketing system and a rich knowledge base.

Even though we contacted them during the weekend, the staff was very kind and speedy with their answers. They further offered additional help with first-time planning.

Upmetrics team dashboard

Price

There are three tiers, depending on how many collaborators you have and how many workspaces you want to create. Two billing options are available — monthly and annual. Paid annually, the price is 40% lower: 

 •  Solo — $5.42/month — for one workspace and two users

 •  Team — $8.25/month — two workspaces and five members

 •  Premium — $29.09/month — unlimited workspaces and members

There’s a 15-day risk-free money-back guarantee. There’s no free trial, only a demo space to explore the business plan creator software for 7 days, no card required. 

A special free plan is available to non-profit organizations and students. 

 

Verdict

Upmetrics is an online business plan software. It feels like a lean LivePlan — once you build the Executive Summary and are guided to tell the story of your new business idea, it’s easy to illustrate it using real data from its financial modeling tools. Upmetrics is an excellent solution for all new businesses that need step-by-step guidance to create a classic, yet engaging business plan.

The Business Plan Shop

Things we liked
+

lots of reminders on what to include in the plan

+

can use private comments on the plan

+

discount rates for accountants and consultants

Things we disliked
-

cannot import from QuickBooks or Xero

-

part of the knowledge base is only in French

-

limited number of collaborators

The Business Plan Shop creators’ mission is to make it easier to start and grow a business and harder to fail. It is focused on market demand and analysis. Since the launch of the platform in 2013, The Business Plan Software has helped more than 100,000 entrepreneurs across different industries. 

 

UI and guidance

The Business Plan Shop software has a tab-based interface, which gives the feel of a desktop app rather than an online platform. 

The software is easy to use and guides you through a series of tabs to fill in and forecast your financials in the simplest possible way. The tabs come with instructions, tips, and a wizard with brief two-options questions as you move along. 

 

Features

Main strength — You can test the viability of your idea by answering 14 easy questions.

Business Plan Development

Most of the fields are customizable and can be renamed. The Easy Data Entry feature can populate repeating fields for you for 1,2 or 3 years ahead. If you decide to change sections, you’re conveniently reminded if your data still needs to be saved. You can also view your version history with a simple click at the bottom of the section to compare potential different cash flow scenarios.

You can start by creating the narrative portion of the business plan from “Executive Summary” through “Market Analysis”, “Strategy” and “Financial Plan”. These are found under the Text Editor section. 

In case this is the first time you’re facing a business plan outline, simple questions and clear examples are there to help. The outline is rearrangeable and similar to that of other business planning software — it gives you the option to drag and drop sections. Each descriptive subsection can be illustrated with prebuilt tables from the Output section. 

Financial planning

Once you give your new idea a name this business plan creator takes you directly to the financial wizard. You’ll be prompted to enter your financial data in a series of tabs in different modules describing your projected revenue streams and expenses. 

This business plan builder will then create a monthly cash flow calculation for the first year and three- or five-year financial forecasts. These all come in a format that appeals to investors. Once you let the software crunch the numbers, in the “Output” module you’ll be able to easily see a break-even point or a credit analysis. Similarly, there’s a number of built-in chart models to visualize the financials.

The business plan shop yearly finances dashboard

Collaboration

You can add collaborators to your business plan. There are two options available — edit rights for teammates or view-only for reviewers. 

You can add comments that are visible to others or make each one a private note. You can also create your plan in English or French. If you want to analyze your financial data, you can export your plan in .csv or .pdf format and save it in Excel or Google Sheets.

 

Extra features

 •  Accountant and Consultants customized plan — if you are an accountant or consultant and write a lot of business plans for your clients, you can reach out to The Business Plan Shop and discuss your specific requirements for a customized business plan solution.

 •  Business School and University tailored plan — you can require a customized option for a large number of students by contacting the vendor.

 

Deployment

The Business Plan Shop is an online business plan software, which means you don’t need to install anything and can use the software with any browser across all your devices.

 

Security

All personal data is protected in accordance with GDPR. The Business Plan Shop is committed to using appropriate security measures to protect data. This includes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which encrypts any sent information.

 

Customer support

You can submit your questions through the feedback and support contact form. There’s no email or phone number, but the support form is reliable enough if you need clarifications or want to make a suggestion.

The business plan shop business lines graphic

Price

There are two pricing models based on how long you intend to use the platform.

 •  Pro Monthly — $25/month — for two projects, billed every month

 •  Pro Yearly — $8/month — for three projects, with a single payment of $96 for a 12-month period.

With each plan, you get two users, but if you need more projects/users, you can add as many as you with at $2.75/month each.

The 7-day free trial version allows for one project and one collaborator.

 

Verdict

The Business Plan Shop provides a quick and clear way for experienced entrepreneurs to articulate their idea and discover its likely customer value. This good, no-bogus, ROI estimation tool is best for skilled entrepreneurs and consultants who need an easy-to-navigate business plan solution.

TheBizPlanner

Things we liked
+

seamless collaboration

+

built-in chat

+

investor relations management

Things we disliked
-

too many mandatory fields

-

lacking financial calculations

-

have to enter a lot of data manually

The BizPlanner is still in BETA. It’s oriented more toward developing your idea and connecting with possible investors, rather than assisting with the financial calculations and reporting. We, however, have included it in our business plan software reviews since it’s a new and modern platform with a lot of advanced features in the coming soon section, which can become a market leader in the future.

 

UI and Guidance

You cannot move around the dashboard to explore features unless you set up a company, nor can you skip over sections, which can be a bit annoying.

You can choose from different business development stages as you set it up. A very welcoming dashboard tracks your plan’s popularity and progress. The assistance section available under the question mark has detailed information on getting started.

 

Features

Main strength — The company profile can be exported and shared as a pitch deck.

Business Plan Creation

You can add or remove sections in the outline. Easy to understand, practical questions — such that you can expect to hear from potential investors — appear in the help fields as you move along. You can also insert tables and datasheets

The canvas template presents the key aspects of your plan at a glance. This online business plan presentation software is also part of the TheCapitalNet investments network.

Financial Projection

Where are the financial forecasts? How can you add financial projections? Unfortunately, TheBizPlanner is still in its BETA version and is not providing financial forecasting just yet. 

TheBizPlanner management team screen

Reports & Analysis

This software gauges an idea’s viability by tracking the number of shares it gets. Another reported metric is the progress of the assigned tasks within the plan’s sub-sections. These are presented with visually appealing graphs.

In fact, TheBizPlanner is designed to format your company’s profile to be shareable on social media. Checking an idea’s popularity can be a good start when testing the market waters. 

Independent comments can also point out the plan’s strengths or weaknesses. You can connect your company profile with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also set up a public profile for your company to be accessed by reviewers and investors and you can unpublish it at any time with just a click. 

Collaboration

You can invite an unlimited number of team members by email to your plan. That way, you can communicate via built-in chat, collaborate and assign tasks. No doubt you’ll need an accountant or two, given the fact there aren’t any financial reports or projections.

 

Extra Features

Campus Edition — an option for educators and business school student groups.

 

Deployment

This is a SaaS business plan software, without apps for desktop or mobile.

 

Security

All data is protected by encryption using the SSL protocol.

 

Customer support 

Support is available only via a contact form on the website. There is no knowledge base, but a help section guides you through the steps while you create a business plan online.

TheBizPlanner on desktop and mobile screen

Price

This emerging platform aims to show you how to create a business plan,  how to set your goals and keep track of KPIs to stay ahead of the competition. The format is attractive to investors and great for monitoring processes.

You can choose from three different options:

 •  The BizPlanner — a free option, which is not really allowing you to build a business plan, but rather to create a company profile and dashboard

 •  The BizPlanner Pro — currently, there’s a 30-day free trial of the Pro tier that doesn’t ask for a payment method during account creation.

 •  The BizPlanner Competition — On top of the other features, this plan allows for event creations and evaluation management. The price is not disclosed.

 

Verdict 

For now, The BizPlanner is more of an online business planning template than an actual tool. Still, it already looks promising. Great for those developing a brand social media profile. Given how crucial brand awareness is these days, you have much to gain. 

If The BizPlanner deploys its planned new features soon, it may quickly become one of the best business plan software packages

How to choose the best business planning software for your business or organization?

We’ve outlined what we consider the top players’ most salient features. The best solution is the one that best caters to your needs. 

Before you pick, consider the following questions:

 •  Why do you need business planning software?

 •  Do you need more assistance with the verbal aspects of the plan or with the numbers?

 •  Are you going to write out the plan alone or with a team?

 •  What is your sales model: per item, per hour or per user?

 •  Will you incur inventory and manufacturing costs?

 •  How are you going to project growth?

 •  Are there any specific reports you’re looking to create?

 •  How visually appealing do you need the plan to be?

 •  Who will you market the idea to?

Once you set out with clear parameters, it will be easier to pick the best business plan software for your needs.

 

What are the benefits of a good business plan? 

A well-written business plan: 

 •  gives you an overview of the industry benchmarks

 •  lets you track your progress

 •  draws collaborators to your cause

 •  forecasts your costs and revenues

 •  and identifies potential pitfalls.

A good business plan might even convince you not to go ahead with your idea for now because of an unfavorable market climate or insufficient funding in the long run.  

 

Why is a business plan essential for a company?

Over 70% of new companies fail because of poor planning.

A business plan should, in general, help you do three things:

 •  position the idea in the current market 

 •  map out your vision’s execution 

 •  raise adequate funding.

 

How do I write a business plan for a software company?

A business plan for a software company will have all the traditional sections, from Executive Summary through Strategy to Financial Forecasts. Make sure, however,  to pick a software that can describe your business model, whether you’ll be selling per download, per user or per subscription. Are you going to offer any paid consultations or training? Have you already mapped out the software development phases

 

Why use software for a business plan?

 •  A business plan app makes your planning faster. Why roam around the Web looking for examples, when you can follow a proven outline?

 •  It makes your planning more accurate. In business, you simply need to do the math often. А software won’t mess up your numbers and formulas.

 •  It makes your planning more flexible. Once the numbers change, would you really want to update them manually? Not really. The software will do that for you.

 •  It makes collaboration easier. The more feedback you can get, the better. Bring others’ ideas to your plan. 

 •  It saves you money. Period. If you pick the best business plan software for your needs, it will cost you cents on the dollar, compared to what you’d pay for consultants.

 

 

Conclusion

There’s no one-size-fits-all business plan software.

Which solution fits you will greatly depend on how detailed you want the plan to be, what additional metrics you want to track, how often you want to revise them, and how many contributors you will want to have. The right software should help you articulate your vision and present it in a convincing and engaging format.

And remember! Companies who write a good business plan are 16% more likely to survive.

Happy Planning!

 

FAQ

Q:How do I make a business plan online?
A:

The best way to do that is to use a specialized tool. Take a look at the platforms we presented and after you opt for one, read the relevant tutorials/knowledge base and follow the recommended steps. You can also test some of them using a free trial/demo version.

Q:What is Live Plan?
A:

LivePlan is the most comprehensive business plan solution. It is complete with industry benchmark data, industry-specific winning business plan samples, and financial forecasts. It is a tool that will guide you in creating a thorough, professional-looking plan that will wow investors.

Q:How much does LivePlan cost?
A:

It depends on how long you want to use the plan. LivePlan will cost you $20/month if you pay monthly, $18/month if you pay every 6 months and $15/month if billed annually for one active plan. If you want to work on more than one plan simultaneously, you need to contact LivePlan to upgrade at an additional charge.

Q:What is the best business plan software?
A:

LivePlan — best overall, most customizable tool

StratPad — best for agencies

Enloop — best for financial forecasting

Poindexter — best for startups

Upmetrics — best for small business

The Business Plan Shop — best for experienced entrepreneurs

The BizPlanner — best for connecting with investors

ABOUT AUTHOR
Terry Stancheva
Terry Stancheva