Business plan creation is an essential part of any sustainable company operation. Today, it is obvious, that business can collect unlimited amount of information about their company’s key performance indicators, customers, competitors, market, their product and literally any business metrics you consider to be important.
So, the key challenge today is an accurate analysis of all data gathered. And here comes some best free and paid business planning and business budgeting software tools. Luckily, we see no shortage of free business plan software out there to lend you a helping hand. And so as long as you’re able to come up with some ideas and easily explain them to others, you’ll be off to a good start.
Once you know how to describe your business idea, your next step should be business plan creation. The key issue at this stage is making sure you’ve put all the relevant information you want to analyze. And please, remember, you can not do the business planning right or wrong. You can not copy the approach of other companies, because it may not work for you. There’s no guarantee that if it has worked for them, it would work for you as well. Keep in mind that your case is unique and so experiment with different software
One common thing that distinguishes a good business plan from the bad is the information you put inside it. Do your best to add all the available data: marketing budgets, KPIs, digital performance data, marketing plans, research and development, your customers’ information, target audience metrics, etc. Such broad-spectrum data allows more thorough analysis and predictions.
Coming to tools, not all tools are equal, and the choice depends greatly on your specific needs. In this article, we did our best to compare the top 10 business planning software you might consider and choose from. Let’s start!
In-depth analysis of top free business plan and budgeting software
We know how difficult it could be to find a good free business plan or business budgeting software. In fact, it was that frustration that led to us creating this list for you. Let’s take a look at the ten best options in the market and identify when you might want to use them.
We’ll get started by taking a look at the free options. These tend to have fewer features than the paid options, but most of them have enough functionalities to point you in the right direction and to get you started. Some companies also specialize in different niches. So look at this post as an opportunity to find those that have got a proven track record within your industry.
Enloop makes it to this list because it offers a 14-day free trial. Meaning you can sign up and play around with it before you commit to taking on a monthly contract. It comes with multiple quick and easy templates that are designed to help you to write an online business plan with minimal fuzz.
The key features of Enloop include bringing your whole team together inside the app, automated text writing to cut down the time for operational tasks, real-time performance score to keep your team motivated all the time. The tool also provides automatically generated financial reports for better planning and forecasting.
Trusted by nearly 300,000 business owners, entrepreneurs, and students, it’s a safe bet for businesses.
StratPad is an award-winning free business plan provider that provides you everything - from easy templates to video tutorials. On top of that, they also offer guides and toolkits for small business owners that are designed to help them to make the most of their business plan once they’ve had it on paper. It’s also cloud-based, which means that you can access it from any device.
Together with a free subscription, you’ll get regular software updates, unlimited opportunities to create your custom business plans, including operating reports with detailed strategy maps, project details, and agendas. Financial reporting is also a useful feature your business will definitely get proper value from, as it allows thorough planning and other benefits in the long run.
This simple financial and business planning tool is arguably the best one to go for if you’re particularly worried about finance and forecasting. No technical knowledge is required. And, while it can get help from finance professionals to give your business plan a once over, Poindexter will coach you through the basics and leave you with a solid business plan that can help you to secure funding in your early stages.
Business owners with no financial management knowledge can easily benefit from the tool. Embrace it to set up projects, get customized reports, manage cash shortages before they happen, make better ROI-based decisions, and so much more.
4. Plan Cruncher
Plan Cruncher is a media favorite, and perhaps it comes as no surprise. It’s perfect for tech entrepreneurs and startup founders, and it does a great job of distilling complex information into an easy-to-read one-pager. Other software might work better if you’re trying to create something thoroughly, but if you want to create a top-line overview that helps people to understand your business plan without spending too much time on the specifics, this is the software for you.
The clue is in the name here: 123Bizplan helps create business plans as easy as 1,2,3. The software allows you to create a business plan in minutes, although you’ll still want to spend a couple of hours on it if you want your business plan to be the best it could possibly be. It’s the right choice if you’re in a hurry and you need something to show potential investors right away.
You can basically access the tool from any device (Windows and Mac) and from any location. This feature especially makes it a perfect business planning platform for managers who are always on the go. Some top-notch features include perfectly designed charts, lender-approved content and formatting, advanced security and data protection, lifetime access to all your projects, and very responsive customer support, who are there to help you at your beck and call.
Best Paid Business Plan and Business Budgeting Software
Paid business plan software typically has the edge over free software because it includes additional features and may even allow you to export your business plan in a variety of popular file formats. Many software options have communities of users around them, while paid plans usually include a certain level of support from the provider. If you have the budget available, that might as well invest in paid business plan software because it will give your business plan a huge edge over the unpaid ones.
LivePlan has over half a million customers from a wide range of different industries, and the software offers hundreds of different templates and sample plans for you to tap into. It uses a unique visual format that its competitors are unable to match, and it also includes collaboration tools so that if you’re working with a team, you can make sure that everyone has their say.
Among its many other features, we’d like to emphasize on this particular feature, that is the pitch creation feature. Yes, the LivePlan helps you with the pitch-creation process as it’s loaded with several ready-made templates that you could experiment with as per your specific requirements. Once there’s a need to share your business idea and plan with the audience in a clear and structured way, you can design a memorable one-page presentation. The doc can easily be converted into PowerPoint or any other convenient format.
If you already have a working business plan and you need your entire team to be on the same page at every stage LivePlan gives you that opportunity as it helps you to add every team member to the working stage. Needless to say, LivePlan efficiency grows together with the opportunity to make better business decisions.
Financial reporting is also the product’s strength, as LivePlan provides the opportunity to generate financial reports and get predictions based on your figures. No matter what industry you’re in, you can count on it for flexibility and accuracy.
As you can probably tell from the name, GoSmallBiz is designed specifically with small business owners in mind, and the company has clearly done their research. The user interface answers all of the most common questions and guides users through the process with a no-nonsense approach that makes developing a business plan easier than ever.
Better still, if you get stuck, the company offers one-on-one consultation with responses guaranteed within two days. That is the unique and perhaps the strongest product feature. Many business owners do make mistakes which prevent their companies from sustainable growth. GoSmallBiz provides expert consultants to solve an unlimited number of issues.
Another great advantage is the opportunity to use the built-in website builder. Design, test, and launch your ideas as fast as possible to cut your product’s time-to-market. You can integrate your website with the CRM, also provided by GoSmallBiz, so that you’ll always stay up-to-date with your customers’ data. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of having a CRM, so with this tool, you’ll definitely take your business to the next level.
Marketing information can be optimized by a feature-rich digital marketing dashboard that you could set up and adjust to your needs. It allows applying a pre-built dashboard that you can customize and integrate with your business social media accounts and Google Analytics data to track the digital performance of your business in real-time.
EquityNet is specifically designed to help people raise funds, and it has allowed thousands of founders to raise up to $10 million. It’s not necessarily a pure business plan tool, but it can help you to develop one, and it can also help you to make more of it once it’s ready. If you’re only worried about developing your business plan to secure funding, then EquityNet is a solid choice.
This tool fits perfectly for those who have a brilliant business idea in mind and needs an easy-to-use tool to develop a business plan and provide it to the investors. A specific advantage of EquityNet is that you get recommendations, and you can access the pull of potential investors straight within the product.
PlanGuru is all about budgeting and forecasting two integral parts of the business planning process. The software will enable you to make better decisions, thereby helping you increase your profit and accomplishing your goals as a company. They also have a history of being used by non-profit organizations, as well as by businesses, making them a versatile option for companies across multiple different industries.
The subscription includes an unlimited number of analyses per company, export all the data to PDFs, Word, Excel customized reports, and build predictions and forecasts for better business decisions.
We touched upon Enloop earlier because of their free offering, but it’s their paid platform that we’re particularly impressed with. It has all the features you’d expect from the free plan, but with additional benefits such as automated text creation, financial data synchronization, and advanced financial analysis and forecasting it’s arguably the best choice if you’re looking for a decent all-rounder.
If you dive deep into the product, you’ll be amazed by the number of features it offers. Basically, there’s no difference between the paid subscription plans. All three (14-days free trial, Detailed, and Performance) include three business plans, unlimited number of users, and a 36-months detail financial report. The only feature distinguishing the reports between one another is the number of ratios you want to have analyzed. The Detailed Plan offers 3 ratios analyzed for $19.95 and the Performance Plan provides 16 ratios for $39.95. The free trial offers the same features without any credit card required. Try before you go.
The success in business comes with a thorough business planning. Business planning is less likely to help you secure funds or cut the operational costs. This is not about the cost-cutting.
Using the appropriate tool will ensure that you have come up with the most important document you’d ever create, guiding you through those early turbulent times as you go into business.
On top of that, keep in mind that there is no perfect way to business planning. And the result does not depend on the particular tool you choose or the price you pay.
The most important thing is to make sure that it adds value to you, so feel free to play with layouts and include whatever information you feel is the most relevant.
Sure thing, by using the software that we’ve included on this list, we hope you can easily pick and choose the right software for your business plan. The software tools come with pre-created templates that guide you roughly in the right direction. Just be sure the tool that you use can export files in your format of choice because some tools have more thorough documentation than others.
If you are using any business planning or business budget software or if you have come across any best business budgeting software write to us on our review page specifically created for this purpose.
Andrew Mikhailov, CTO at Zfort Group, concentrates heavily on growing the company in the areas of modern technologies like Blockchain, AI, BigData, and IoT. Being a CTO Andrew doesn’t give up programming himself because it is critical for some of the projects Andrew curates. From various kinds of IT hobbies, Andrew prefers all the data science related stuff. His university scientific research specialization was “complex signal processing”.
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