Over the past 20+ years, Growthink has helped over 500,000 entrepreneurs, executives and business owners to start, grow and exit their businesses with a focus on business planning and capital raising.
In doing so, we’ve tried all the business plan software programs out there and have also built two of our own.
This article provides a brief overview of business planning, defines what business plan software is, discusses the key benefits of using software and then reviews the top 5 business plan software programs so you can choose the one that’s right for your business.
- Business Planning Overview
- What is a Business Plan Software?
- Benefits of Using Business Plan Software
- Review of the 5 Best Business Plan Software Programs
Business Planning Overview
Starting and growing a business are exciting but can also get daunting very fast. Getting a business off the ground involves making significant decisions every day around critical things like operations, marketing, human resources and financials. The success of your business directly hinges on how and when you make such important decisions. Also, none of these business decisions can be made in a vacuum, they require market research, competitor analysis and industry analysis.
As a passionate entrepreneur you might think that since you have a great idea you will figure out the rest with time and everything will fall into place. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. In fact, successful businesses the world over are almost always a combination of solid ideas backed by solid planning.
The right business plan will not only provide you with a roadmap to grow your business, but it is a required tool if you are seeking capital to start or grow your business.
What is a Business Plan Software?
Business plan software helps individuals and businesses develop and polish their business plans. It provides a robust framework which allows you to explore your business idea and present your business vision in concrete ways.
A comprehensive business plan not only gives your business’ history and provides market intelligence, but it also lays out the roadmap for the future. Your business plan will help you predict future roadblocks and how the market and your business might look like down the road. This allows you to be proactive in helping your business survive and thrive.
Business plan software helps you write a well-thought out and well-researched business plan which can prove instrumental in attracting investors. With investors comes funding and the chance to see your business start or scale up. Every investor first thinks of their return on investment before funding any enterprise. By going through a business’s detailed business plan investors are able to gauge the viability and profitability of that business and hence the probability of them earning a solid return. If your business plan is vague and incomplete then you will have an exceptionally hard time finding investors willing to fund you. Likewise, banks will refuse you a business loan if they do not find your business plan comprehensive and convincing. A detailed business plan is therefore a must for obtaining capital or a loan.
Benefits of Using Business Plan Software
Business plan software provides multiple benefits.
Makes the Process Simple
Business plan software makes the whole process of writing a business plan easier and more manageable. A business novice would need all the help they can get but even an expert can sometimes make do with a little helping hand.The right business plan software gives you a step- by-step wizard to guide you through each component of your plan and advise you on what to include and/or exclude from your unique business plan.
Working with business plan software saves you time. It will more quickly allow you to transform your business ideas and market research it into a viable business proposition full of supportive and meaningful data. Business plan software has your business plan pre-organized saving you much time and energy.
Collaborative in Nature
Another value adding feature of business plan software is that it allows multiple team members to contribute individually to the plan. You can see and review items that have been incorporated by other members of your team. This collaborative spirit lets you take full advantage of the varied talents and competencies of the people on your team.
Assists with Your Financial Projections
Most people with a non-finance background find it incredibly hard to work on the financial aspect of a business plan. Your financial projections include calculating an income statement, projecting cash flow and creating a balance sheet.
This is a difficult but necessary part of your business plan since potential investors will scrutinize this financial data to determine the viability of your business. So, you cannot afford to project incorrect or incomplete numbers. The right business plan software helps convert your assumptions into a complete financial model to insert in your business plan.
There is a lot to be gained from working with a good business plan software program. The key is finding out which software is right for you and your business. Below we review the 5 best business plan software programs in the market to give you a holistic view of what is available and how to choose wisely.
Review of the 5 Best Business Plan Software Programs
[Note that PlanBuildr is a subsidiary of Growthink.]
PlanBuildr is one of the fastest growing business plan software in the world.
It is also the only business plan software that allows you to try it absolutely free (this it the direct link to try PlanBuildr for free)
With over 125,000 entrepreneurs and counting registered on the platform this software is a great starting point to masterfully build your business plan. PlanBuildr was created by talented people who have been influential leaders and experts in business planning and capital raising. With a vast array of features available to you, you are able to create the first draft of your business plan in just ten minutes. Such a quick delivery time without compromising on quality is unparalleled right now in the market.
Features Available at PlanBuildr
Ease of Use
PlanBuildr has come up with a great yet simple way to help you get started on your business plan. With PlanBuildr you get to complete simple fill-in-the blanks questions that cover every element of your business plan. In this short and simple way, PlanBuildr constructs a draft of your business plan by using your answers as the base. You just fill the blanks and PlanBuildr does the rest. Within minutes you get a working draft of your business plan.
Strong Financial Modeling Capabilities
PlanBuildr goes the extra mile when it comes to creating complete financial projections for your business plan. You just have to enter elementary figures like the number of products you think you will sell in the coming years and PlanBuildr will compute your full five-year financial forecast.
With this software you can easily create your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement within minutes. PlanBuildr is also able to project these numbers onto various charts and informative graphs to help present your data in a way that makes it easy to understand and analyze.
Experience in Every Industry
PlanBuildr has comprehensive experience creating business plans in every industry from hospitality to travel and tourism and from food service to non- profits. PlanBuildr’s portfolio is quite wide and impressive. So, no matter what field your business is in, PlanBuildr can help turn your idea into a successful reality.
PlanBuildr contains ten skillful designs that will make your business plan look thoroughly professional. Choose any design and see your business plan transform into an amazingly well- outlined document that will immediately impress even those who see hundreds of business plans on a daily basis.
On the whole, PlanBuildr is a highly strategic tool which creates a world-class business plan for you while also suggesting several improvements to further enhance the quality of your plan. It is a great resource to have on your side as you venture out to create a business legacy for yourself. PlanBuildr is deservedly the top of our picks of great business plan software.
Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template
Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template is the result of 20+ years of hard work by the renowned business planning expert, and co-founder/president of Growthink, Dave Lavinsky.
Called the business plan expert by sources including Business Week, Lavinsky has been instrumental in helping hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs complete their business plans and raise billions of dollars in funding. After earning his MBA from UCLA’s prestigious Anderson School of Management, Lavinsky has dedicated his career to helping entrepreneurs create winning business plans.
Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template is also one of our top picks because of the sheer number and quality of features it provides a budding business entrepreneur. Also, since it comes as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel document there is no complicated software to use and you can quickly and easily complete your plan.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of what you can expect when you get the Ultimate Business Plan Template:
Sometimes when you are working on a business plan by yourself it’s easy to be swept away by passion and leave practical considerations behind. This becomes evident only when you present your plan to actual investors who then find that your plan lacks focus and direction. With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you are guided into creating a business plan which covers each of the key points investors and lenders need to see. This maximizes your chances of securing funding in the form of equity and/or business loans.
Excellent Customer Service
Apart from step-by-step guidance throughout the whole business plan creation process, Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template provides free customer service year-round. Here dedicated customer support professionals will answer all your queries and help you walk through the different features of the Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template.
They also offer a “Members Area” where you get immediate answers to all your business questions and additional support in the form of samples and resources to aid your developing business plan.
When you get Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you also get lifetime access to it. You can use it multiple times for multiple business endeavors in the future. You just make a single payment and that is it. There are no pesky monthly charges. This is a great deal for a great product.
With tremendous operational, financial and design capabilities Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template is a comprehensive system to which you can trust your business plan. Growthink is so confident in their services (and rightly so!) that it offers a 365-day money back guarantee. So, you can try out this immensely useful resource without any monetary pressure.
LivePlan is another business plan software that offers some decent learning tools and financial services. However, it loses out to the first two business plan software because of its slightly steep learning curve. With Live Plan you need to invest some time in understanding the software and some might even experience difficulties in working with it.
The user interface can be smoother and more user-friendly. Their pricing is competitive; their annual and monthly plans priced at $139.92 and $19.95 respectively that you can choose from depending on your need and budget.
As a business plan software PlanGuru provides over twenty forecasting features that help you create a unique business plan for yourself. Here, you can expect to receive plenty of help with both financial and non-financial aspects of a business plan. PlanGuru assists in creating cash flow statements, income statements, sales projections, P&L statements and balance sheets- all quintessential in a robust business plan.
Unfortunately pricing is extremely expensive. Their monthly plan is $99/month while their annual plan is $899/year.
ABS Ultimate Business Planner
The ABS Ultimate Business Planner helps simplify the process of writing a business plan by proving numerous business resources and sample business plans. Their step-by-step guide directs you expertly through your individual business plan while proving some pertinent suggestions along the way.
The product however is a bit “clunky” and hasn’t changed much since it was first launched many years ago.
Business Plan Software Summary
A business plan software is essential if you want your business plan to be thorough and widely noticeable. A well- written business plan will attract and influence investors giving you the necessary funding and hence an opportunity to set up and/or grow your business. Get all the help you can via a business plan software so you can give your business idea the best platform to launch and develop.