A sound business plan is critical for obtaining funding and achieving success.
Business plan software can help you create a plan that’s tightly-focused, well-written, and appealing to investors.
Help Me Pick Business Plan Software
In the next section, we explore 13 of the best business plan software tools. But if you’d like to skip ahead and get just a handful of options to start exploring, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our recommendations based on common scenarios.
I need business plan software that:
- is quick and easy to use: try Bizplan by StartUps.com, Business Sorter, or GoSmallBiz.com
- is easy to use and includes collaboration and financial projection tools: explore Knowlium or Bizplan by StartUps.com
- includes a funding platform and access to educational materials and experts: try Bizplan by StartUps.com
- includes action plans and allows me to measure progress: explore MeisterPlan Lean
The 13 Best Business Plan Software Options
Which software option is right for you? That depends on the needs of your business.
In general, you can expect sample plans, templates, and tools for budget planning, forecasts, and projections.
Some business planning software — like Bizplan by StartUps.com — also comes with access to mentors and experts, educational resources, and a fundraising platform.
This platform provides educational videos and software to create a professional business plan and get it funded.
You’ll have access to over 650 videos on launching and growing a startup plus direct access to experts.
The drag-and-drop plan builder is intuitive and easy to use and incorporates financial projection tools.
Once you’ve completed your plan, you can pitch it directly to investors on your own or by using StartUps.com’s crowd-funding platform — Fundable — which works like Kickstarter.
“We’ve helped startups raise over $500 million in committed capital,” the company says.
Palo Alto Software offers two business plan options: LivePlan, an internet-based option, and Business Plan Pro, which is geared toward those with computers running Windows.
With LivePlan, you can create things like a one-page pitch, collaborate with a variety of stakeholders so you can receive input on your plan, create and manage budgets and financial forecasts, and build a project using the strategic format provided.
LivePlan includes advice and examples for you to review.
Track Your Business Performance and Adjust
Over time, LivePlan’s analytics and reporting features allow you to track your performance and compare it to your competitors to see how well you are doing.
With this data, you can make adjustments to both your business plan and your day-to-day operations.
Note: Palo Alto Software’s Bplans provides over 500 free sample plans
Masterplan Lean — from Australian firm Maus — comes with sample presentations; market segmentation tools so you can identify your target audience; and a strategic direction guide.
The core of MasterPlan Lean includes:
- A step-by-step wizard that guides you through the entire writing process
- Financial tools to help you create cash flow diagrams, financial budgets, and five-year forecasts
- Automation so you can plan and monitor tasks that help you reach your goals.
When you’re done creating your plan, you can compile the finished plan into a presentation-ready slide deck.
Note: The software comes with QuickStart guides and optional Maus software modules like KPI Dashboard, Virtual CFO Pro, Quality Assurance, Client Needs Analysis, and more.
Above: The MeisterPlan Lean dashboard provides a “fill-in-the-blank” interface with prompts and instructions. Each text area is pre-populated with some generic content. Follow the horizontal navigation at top (Overview, Products, Team, etc) to complete the entire plan. You can import financial data.
PlanGuru is focused primarily on budgeting and financial forecasting. Their tools enable you to import financial data and project 20 years into the future.
The goal is to provide the data you need to make the best decisions.
Optional: Professional Services
PlanGuru is a hybrid product: it provides consulting services in addition to software.
Those consulting services may be to support your team in learning and using PlanGuru, assisting with your business launch, or “full reins” management of your budget and forecasts.
StratPad’s business planning software comes with strategies on growing your business and video tutorials on turning a profit.
You can also use it to connect to lending institutions, coaches and mentors, and business services providers like bookkeepers and accountants.
This software is a “fill-in-the-blanks” product with tips and instructions as you go along.
StratPad’s learning resources include a video course on using the platform to build your business plan, articles on profitable small business operations, webinars, and local workshops.
Adaptive Insights is cloud-based planning software that helps you collaborate with others on your business plan, product budgets, and forecasts in addition to collect data on your business’ performance.
You can create additional plans and adjust current ones based on the data you collect.
Furthermore, Adaptive Insights comes with features for budgeting and forecasting, specifically regarding your labor costs.
Knowlium’s software helps you through the discovery and planning phases of building a business.
You can develop your business plan with an easy-to-use editor that features custom branding functionality, drag-and-drop section customization, pagination, and infographics.
Knowlium also comes with collaboration features, so you can reach out to team members and advisors.
When done, you will have a well-designed plan that you can present to investors and lenders for consideration.
Knowlium also helps with financial budgeting, forecasting, and monitoring, so that you can keep track of your goals and make adjustments if necessary.
The BizPlan Builder system — from Business Power Tools — can be used to produce a comprehensive business and strategic plan.
You’ll get step-by-step instructions on creating your elevator pitch, summary, and full business plan.
BizPlan Builder also provides resources on getting funded.
GoSmallBiz.com offers a variety of solutions to help you to grow your business.
Its business plan software comes with industry-specific templates to help you get started, as well as sample financial statements you can use for budgeting and projections.
There is also a step-by-step wizard that walks you through the entire process, as well as on-demand video guidance if you have questions.
Additionally, GoSmallBiz.com offers online consulting services to help you with your business plan.
You’ll be able to ask as many questions as you’d like, and you’re guaranteed a response within two days.
You’ll also get website building functionality, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, business forms, and an HR document builder.
EquityNet’s goal is to help you plan your business and get it funded.
You can create a business profile on EquityNet in minutes. You can also gather data and update/optimize your plan as needed.
Once done, you can take your plan and present it elsewhere, or you can publish it using EquityNet, which can also help match you to an interested lender/investor.
You can think of EquityNet as a hybrid business plan builder/equity social platform.
Business Sorter’s pitch is that you can plan a business, from beginning to end, in under two hours.
If you find the prospect of writing a business plan daunting, this would be a great place to start since the commitment isn’t as great as with some of the other products on the market.
Though Business Sorter simplifies the planning and implementation process, it nevertheless helps you look at your business from all angles.
Once you’re up and running, you can track and measure progress, as well as communicate with your staff, using the app.
Video: Get a quick overview of how Business Sorter works.
Metronome Growth Systems is a cloud-based business platform accessible via computer or mobile device. It can help you create a one-page strategic plan, set company priorities, and track metrics.
You can also share access to the app so that everyone at your company is aware of what the company’s goals and priorities are.
In addition to the tools we’ve already mentioned, the following are products that can help support your creation of a business plan.
Strategyzer provides tools (and training) to help you create and validate your business model and value proposition.
Using Strategyzer before you create a business plan can help you avoid foundational errors and assumptions.
Video: Don’t move straight from idea to business plan. Instead, create and test a business model first.
Aha! is roadmap software that helps you develop strategy, plan product features, and create roadmaps and plans for the future.
Aha! doesn’t have the full features needed to build a business plan, but it can help you define a strategy.
While many business planning tools come with financial planning tools, those who are new may find them overwhelming.
Poindexter strives to provide its users with an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand financial planning app that doesn’t require prior experience with this type of task.
Check out their live demo to get a solid understanding of what’s possible with this app.
Video: a Poindexter rep leads you through creating a financial model in 1 minute.
Here are some common Q&As we receive about business planning software. Have a question of your own? Leave it in the comments section below and we’d be delighted to respond.
What should you include in a business plan?
We have a great business plan tutorial, but here’s a brief rundown of what to include:
- a summary, a description of your company, product, and services
- market analysis which includes competitive intelligence
- your strategy and execution plan
- information about your leadership team
- financial projections, which may include sales forecasts and projected costs of new personnel.
What is business plan pro forma?
“Pro forma” in this context refers to financial statements commonly included in business plans. (“Pro forma” is Latin for “as a matter of form.”)
These financial statements include a profit and loss statement, a cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. These statements may be historical or projected.
Pro forma may also include sales projections, projections of new customers to be acquired within set time periods, projected costs of new employees, and more.
The best business plan software depends on what your goals are and how much assistance you think you’ll need during the writing process.
Regardless of whether you’re starting a software company, startup, small business, or some mashup of the three, there is an business plan software option that will fit your needs.