When you’re at the stage of starting a new venture, one of the first steps that you might need to take is to write a solid business plan. A business plan is a document that encompasses the marketing, operational and financial objectives and goals of a business. It is a blueprint for the management team to organize and track operations, clarify and focus on organizational goals, and prepare for future development.
In addition, formulating a business vision and writing a business plan are generally considered to be only applicable to business start-ups, but in fact, it is relevant to all new and old businesses.
Whether you are a budding entrepreneur who doesn’t know where to start, or an experienced business consultant, writing a business plan is a difficult and arduous task. In order to streamline the process and save your precious time and effort, you might need to resort to an effective business plan software.
A useful business planning software should include a structure and a range of features that can assist you in creating a comprehensive business plan. These features include an intuitive interface, analysis tools, flexible, customisable reporting for a range of needs, financial forecasting, sensitivity analysis, visually appealing graphs and tables that are investor-ready, and attractive presentations.
These features can make your business plan to stand out and convince investors that your idea is worth it, or help your venture to achieve long-term success.
Here are the general criteria when choosing the business planning software:
Here is our guide to the top 5 online business plan software solutions available on the market – PlaniumPro, Tarkenton GoSmallBiz, Enloop, PlanGuru and LivePlan – each promise to help you construct a polished business plan, with all the numbers and narrative you need. So, whether you want to start your own accounting firm, real estate operation, or e-commerce business, you’ll be all ready to go.
Being a user of Planium Pro software, you have access to our educational resources and sample plans to help you get started. You can easily transfer data from your existing accounting software into your business plan, or add external users to any project, giving them full access or access only to a specific section, and they can work online and offline. Moreover, you can use the communication channel to chat with your work team either online or using offline notes. And if you need to gauge the validity of your data and financial projections, Planium Pro provides an option to compare your plan with industry benchmarks.
Besides, Planium Pro enables users to work efficiently with an attractive and easy-to-use dashboard and to generate colorful and informative high-resolution vector diagrams, charts and tables, which are perfect for presentations and meetings.
Planium Pro Features:
Pricing: Planium Pro offers a 14-day free tier (no credit card needed). Once you decide whether you like it or not, you can choose between monthly ($8 for 1 project), quarterly ($26 for 3 projects) and annually ($75 for 12 projects) subscriptions for Advanced version, and monthly ($5 for 1 project) and annually ($50 for 12 projects) for Lite.*
According to PCMag – the most important technology publication in the world – Tarkenton GoSmallBiz is one of the most user-friendly solutions offering not just business planning tools but plenty of mentoring and built-in advice opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, including small business consulting and CEO advice. GoSmallBiz is a web-based, step-by-step template-driven software with more then just business planning tool, there you can find everything from discounts on legal services to a website builder to a CRM (customer relationship manager) to HR document builder. There you have all you need to get your business up and running.
Tarkenton GoSmallBiz Features:
Pricing: The pricing is $39 on a month-to month basis with no contracts.*
|Full and highly customisable business plan||Little number of business plan samples|
|Expert tips and advice||Limited exporting options – Microsoft Word and PDF only|
|Ability to run financial projections without a spreadsheet application|
|Collaboration with third-party services|
Business.org has performed their own test of business planning software, and they believe that despite a limited number of features and simple interface, Enloop can be in line with the best on the market in terms of pricing. It is actually the most affordable software for startup business planning. Even though the software is moderately priced, users still get all the necessary functions for business planning (i.e., financial analysis, team collaboration, charting, and more) and can enjoy using simple, fast and smoothly running software.
Pricing: There are two pricing options – Detailed for $19.95 per month for up to 2 users and 3 financial ratios and Performance for $39.95 per month for up to 5 users and 16 ratios analysed*.
Besides, Enloop offers a 7-day free trial with no credit card required and has the same features as the higher-tier plan, giving a chance to see a full picture of the offering before committing to full version.
|Unlimited team collaboration||Lack of support, no guidance for some important fields|
|Affordable||No integrations with accounting software|
|AutoWrite & TextSync|
|Many customisable features|
PlanGuru’s software is more about providing users with financial reporting tools than helping create a business plan for a start-up or existing small business. PlanGuru built numerous case studies and video tutorials to help its users to navigate the software and learn more about making profitable business plans.
Pricing: PlanGuru’s pricing is more expensive than the market’s average (starting at $99 per month (USD) for a single-user license for month-to-month service with every extra user costs an additional $29/mo.*), but in cases when you need some accurate forecasting features it might be something worth investing your money into as their forecasting features are the most comprehensive. For example, while other software offers financial forecasts of up to 5 years, PlanGuru lets you forecast up to 10.
|In-depth budgeting and forecasting features (up to 10 Years)||Requires some financial expertise to use|
|Breakeven analysis, ratios and KPIs||Lacks sample business plan templates|
|Integration with QuickBooks, Xero and Excel||Expensive|
|Links to analytics add-on|
|Training via PlanGuru University|
TechJury, a website for detailed, unbiased reviews of business software solutions, mentioned LivePlan as the overall best and most customisable tool among existing business planning software. 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, and which covers all business planning needs, such as step-by-step instructions for writing plan, creates financial reports, ability to compare your business’s actual financials to your plan’s goals, and much more. And if you ever lost not knowing what to write in your business plan, LivePlan boasts hundreds of sample business plans that can guide your writing.
LivePlan also encourages team collaboration with tools that allow users to brainstorm, share, and discuss ideas.
Pricing: LivePlan offers a very competitive price, which begins at $19.95 for a monthly subscription, $95.76/bi-annual and $139.92/year*.
|A large library of industry-specific business plan templates||Loads of customisable features implies a learning curve|
|QuickBooks and Xero integration||Limited third-party integrations|
|Video tutorials||No free trial|
The right business plan software can make your life easier, but there’s no one-size-fits-all business plan software. When choosing the right solution for you, you might take into account some criteria such as – how detailed plan you need, if there are any specific ratios or measures to track that are important for your business, how often you will be referring to them and how many team members you would like to invite to collaborate.
Feel free to share your ideas and suggestions below or e-mail [email protected] if you have any questions! In case this article inspired you to write your business plan, try Planium Pro 14-day free to see if Planium Pro covers all your business planning needs.
*Data effective 23/02/21. At publishing time, the information in this publication including amounts and rates is current, and is subject to change at any time.