Every business starts out with an idea that needs to be planned out down to every detail for it to get going. Traditionally, businesses have been planned over long periods of time with every detail collected and aspect thought about.
Despite going through each detail meticulously, businesses often miss out on significant aspects or perhaps don’t end up with a plan perfect for their intended business. A much more streamlined way of developing a business plan can be with the use of a comprehensive Business Plan Software that can consider your requirements to come up with the perfect plan for your business.
Why Use a Business Plan Software?
Now why use a business plan software, and why do experienced investors and owners invest in software to come up with a perfect plan? Well, for starters, with many minds collaborating in the planning process, a manual planning mechanism makes it very easy to miss out on essentials or aspects necessary to one specific department. Organizations often have to re-chalk these plans from the beginning stages due to the lack of one of these relevant aspects.
Even if you can manage to pinpoint all required aspects, sometimes your plan might not end up looking like you wanted it to or what the investors would appreciate. Highlighting just the right aspects in a business plan and correlating them to other important financial and managerial metrics can be executed well by business plan software, which is why leading entrepreneurs rely on business plan software to visualize a plan for their upcoming businesses.
Features to Look out for in Your Business Plan Software
Before you can get started with deciding on what business plan software would work the best for you, you should know what to look for. So, what does one look for in a planning software when it's supposed to do everything on its own?
Let’s start with discussing what features can be optimal for the best business plan software for your pick. While reading from a list of features you might find some contrasting ones and some that are even specific to certain software. However, there are some basic features that can be good to have in planning software for the best outcome.
Ask yourself these questions to check off some provisions of a specific business plan software. Make sure to interpret these requirements as per your specific case and business requirements.
What are the key features offered? Are there any planning provisions you are looking for in specific?
The first and most obvious things to survey are the actual features the software offers and the elements you can include within your business plan. If you are looking for specific features such as budget tracking or risk management planning, you can consider options that provide these.
Does a financial plan/quick overview, etc come readily included along with an extended plan? Are these specific elements something that would benefit you in getting the project going?
A range of best business plan software provides sophisticated options such as financial forecasting, progress tracker, and much more. It can be easy to get carried away with these. The trick is to analyze which of these provisions will be actually beneficial in your case, and then proceed to consider that option.
What are the industry-specific reviews for the software you are considering? Are they known to deliver great plans for your industry?
Different planning setups tend to work for different industries. A restaurant business can benefit from a different set of templates than an IT business would. Researching a little bit about the reviews of the software you plan to use in your specific industry can help gauge how useful it has actually been for projects similar to yours. Does it provide a business plan template for your industry?
Who is going to use the software? Is it user-friendly and technically neutral for easy use by different members of the team?
You also need to consider if the team members involved in the planning collaboration can easily use the software. Does it provide the benefit of team collaboration at all? Not all software does! If yes, are different technical and non-technical members going to be able to use it easily?
What is the customer care reputation? How likely are you to receive help with fine-tuning, altering, or even including additions to your plan at later stages after you have already made an initial investment for the plan?
Once you invest in a paid business plan software, you might want to ensure that their customer care & support is up to the mark. Business planning is not always a one-time process. There can be iterations and fine-tuning required at each step, and it would be great to have customer care accommodating all these requirements.
What is your budget vs the software pricing?
Last but not the least, what is your budget? You don’t want our business to start out on a loss by investing in software that lies way outside your budget. In fact, that would be bad ‘business planning’ to begin with! Find a business plan software with pricing comparable to your budget, that also includes a good mix of features that you are looking for.
The 5 Most Popular Business Plan Software in 2022
Here are 7 must-have sections for a good business plan, each of which answers a relevant question about the business you are about to commence:
One of the most comprehensive options in this listing is Upmetrics. It is gaining an increasing number of users each month, owing to its flexible interface and simple strategies for planning your business with collaboration and forecasting elements.
What makes it stand out from the others is an approach of realism where even measure is considered to translate to a distinct entity in real life. The Upmetrics business plan builder is the best business plan software to see different aspects of your business actually take shape.
The software tool also provides various build-in tutorials that can help you understand how to use the software for your business planning & financial forecasting along with navigating its own features.
The one thing that is to rave about in Upmetrics is customization. With a wide range of templates and industry-specific planning elements to offer, you can rest assured that your plan will be adept and unique at the same time.
- A Pitch Deck Creator helps create a to-the-point and quick professional pitch with customizable templates and a business presentation option in under 10 minutes.
- Business Planning features are pretty layered within 200+ plan templates to choose from and easy-to-use drag-and-drop elements to quickly create a professional-level business plan.
- You can also avail a plan insight of Financial Forecasting to gauge the profit levels expected and create a balance sheet to get an idea of all financial activities.
- The software can be used along with built-in Canvas Modeling that helps create an actionable business model that includes the key business metrics.
- It is perfect for a wide range of business plan creations. Its business plan builder contains well-written 200+ business plan templates featured for various industries. Just copy your suitable template into your plan builder and start editing right away.
- Drag & drop visual elements into your business plan. Inline step-by-step guides to help your planning.
- You can design custom Business Plan Cover Pages along with several other personalized elements for a more professional touch.
- You can cancel your plan at any time with a 15-day money-back guarantee in your aid.
- A free trial is not available.
- Some additional features such as plan analytics, custom branding, and cover designs, etc provided by this software might not be useful for simpler projects.
Simple and flexible pricing:
- The Solo plan- billed at $5.42 per month (Billed Every 12 Months),
- The Team plan- billed at $8.25 per month (Billed Every 12 Months) and
- The Premium plan- billed at $29.09 per month (Billed Every 12 Months).
Upmetrics is, thus, one of the best business plan software with three pricing plans available depending on your requirements.
BizPlan is a great option for business plan presentations for getting investors on board. It offers specific elements within its templates for market sizing and charts, team reports, unresolved issues, etc, which help conceptualize the type of information investors like to see.
- An option for step-by-step building helps device an easy-to-use method for business plan building even for novice and intermediate users with not much experience in business plan building.
- You can easily include Financial projections for every aspect of your business plan idea, thus, helping to analyze business viability at each stage.
- Some basic tracking progress is a relevant feature offered by BizPlan where you can get an overview of what parts your plan is still missing.
- Easy to use and navigate through for new users and new businesses with little prior experience.
- Comprehensive templates that offer a good range of guiding points to guide through the plan and help create the perfect business plan.
- Easy to edit and alter with a straightforward word processor-like interface, and prompt tutorial guidelines.
- While the platform is easy to use and simple it might lack the visual sophistication and finesse that other applications tend to offer.
- The software also lacks any demo versions and has limited customer care collaboration for business plan building.
- Partial export to doc file (.docx) support.
Another prime business planning software for finance-related planning is PlanGuru. Along with the general aspects of a business plan, PlanGuru helps you focus on the budgeting aspects of your business plan minutely.
- You can access a variety of features for Budget calculations and Forecasting. With different tools under the software, financial metrics can be set up for a precisely budgeted plan.
- Analysis reports can also be easily built with the help of PlanGuru. This is where different team members can be involved in assessing business plan reports and relevant changes can be accommodated.
- To present these reports and plan ideas to other individuals, easy exports into PDF, Excel and Word formats can be readily made followed by the easy creation process within PlanGuru.
- It is easy to use and offers a wide range of readily integrable features for business planning.
- Other than the features already available you can access several add-ons for better analytics and forecasting.
- Forecasting of up to 10 years can be carried out with PlanGuru which is one of the longest spans made available in comparison to contemporary software options.
- Classic visual look.
- One evident drawback is the lack of any trial or testing method to assess the software. You’ve got to look at the reviews and jump in with some commitment.
- You can also not access any sample plans to help you create yours or have a look at what works for your specific industry.
The PlanGuru business plan software offers a desktop as well as an app version. The pricing ranges from $99 per month with $29/month for additional users, up to $899 per year with $299/year for additional users.
Enloop is a cloud-based business plan software that offers the perfect fit to create a plan for a bank or investor quickly. Specific tools for robust financial analysis help automate the process of forecasting this data for bank approval.
It also helps include text synchronization which can help detail legal measures and other specific compliance regulations for a smooth and quick bank approval process for your business.
- Financial Forecasting modules within Enloop offer different options for financial forecasting. You can assess profits and losses, balance sheet forecasting, and several other metrics for robust financial forecasting.
- A range of features is included for automated synchronization which helps to create a ready outline for your future business plan. Auto-writing and text sync features also help speed up the process
- Personal financial projections can also be made well in addition to financial forecasting through Enloop.
- It is cost-friendly and easy to use with multiple industry-specific business plan requirements.
- You can automate your business planning process to a great extent, which is a useful feature missing in most business planning software.
- You can access a free trial for 7-days before you completely commit.
- Despite a range of benefits, some data metrics used seem to be obsolete and irrelevant within the plan, offering too many unrequired minute details which users tend to omit at later stages.
- The support for building through the online interface is limited and mostly an autonomous process for users, which might be an issue for some new users.
- Partial export to doc file (.docx) support.
The Enloop business plan software offers two distinct pricing options - a detailed plan priced at $19.95 per month, and a performance plan priced at $39.95 per month.
A popular business plan software that has already been used in multiple niches for quite some time now is LivePlan. It still stands to be many people’s go-to for its simple and easy-to-understand elements and features.
- LivePlan offers Abundant Template Options. You can use templates as a structure to start out on a clean slate as well.
- It also provides Market Comparisons and industry-specific analyses to compare how your business and financial specifics generally fare in the concerned market. A number of useful insights can be extracted from this.
- Financial Forecasting and financial data analysis with the use of charts and graphs helps to project all relevant financial data through your concise business plan.
- LivePlan is easy to use and user-friendly for any kind of technical or non-technical user.
- It offers step-wise instructions for business plan building and helps include a combination of financial provision and goals accurately on the plan.
- The templating and sheer visual variety is truly motivation, thus, making it one of the most popular options to date.
- Classic visual look.
- Again, you’ve got to take our word for it because you cannot access a free trial or demo of any kind.
- You can also face some obstacles trying to integrate specific plug-ins. The options for integrations are pretty limited.
The LivePlan business plan software offers three pricing options - an annual plan at $15 per month billed yearly, a 6-month plan at $18 per month biller bi-annually, and an option to pay as you go at $20 per month billed monthly.
Thus, whichever option you end up choosing, make sure to pinpoint what you actually need to narrow down to the best business plan software for your venture. If you’re a startup with not much to spare, you can always start out with a basic plan and update to more advanced features at later stages, as and when you need them. Start with planning for your business with the best, and the rest is sure to turn out great!