Best Business Plan Software: Top Options for 2020

Updated on July 24, 2020
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When you’re starting a business, developing a strong business plan will be one of the first steps you take. Your business plan will cover everything from a detailed explanation of your products or services and pricing model to at least three years of financial projections—plus much more. Therefore, whether you’re not sure how to get started or you’re just looking to make the process easier, you may want to turn to business plan software for help.

In this guide, we’ll break down five of the best business plan software options—discussing their pros, cons, features, pricing, and more—so you have all the information you need to decide which solution is right for your small business.

The 5 Best Business Plan Software Options

The right business plan software will make the process of writing your business plan much simpler. Like many business software solutions, however, there are a number of different business plan software options out there—each of which has a unique set of features, user experience, and price.

This being said, if you’re looking for a place to start your search for the best business plan software, you can explore the five top options below:

1. LivePlan: Best overall business plan software

If you want template-rich, modern-feeling business plan software, then LivePlan may be the right pick for you. LivePlan excels with their user interface, which feels updated and slick, and also offers intuitive, easy-to-use features and options.

Their step-by-step instruction will help you kick things off from the beginning, and you can take advantage of their online learning center to continue to gain business skills.

Pros

  • Affordable plans, including pay as you go option
  • No long-term contracts or cancellation fee, 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Modern, intuitive interface; cloud-based, can be used on Mac, PC, as well as tablets
  • Ability to create unlimited plans in one account; over 500 customizable templates
  • Variety of business resources including video tutorials, step-by-step instruction, and general customer support

Cons

  • Limited integration options
  • Challenging to enter your own financial modeling projections
  • Can be difficult to learn
business plan software, liveplan example

Here you can see what it looks like to edit your business plan using LivePlan. Image source: LivePlan

Features

  • Ability to create an unlimited number of business plans on one account
  • More than 500 business plan templates spanning various industries
  • Integration with Xero and QuickBooks Online
  • Real-time tracking of financial data with accounting integrations
  • Ability to export your business plan to Word or PDF
  • Expert advice and step-by-step instruction included
  • Performance dashboards for tracking against budgets and sales goals
  • Ability to create and export a one-page pitch executive summary

Pricing

  • Annual plan: $15 per month, billed every 12 months
  • Six-month plan: $18 per month, billed every six months
  • Pay as you go plan: $20 per month, billed once every month

2. GoSmallBiz: Best for multiple business management tools in one platform

Next on our list of the best business plan software options is GoSmallBiz, which is much more than just a business plan software. With GoSmallBiz, you have access to business continuity planning software with features that cover creating a roadmap, working through business and legal forms, building a website, and more.

In this way, GoSmallBiz is great for startups or newer businesses looking to access multiple business management tools through one platform.

Pros

  • Unlimited business consultation and extensive library of online resources
  • Multiple business tools in one software
  • Website consultation analysis and business assessment
  • Industry-specific business plan templates with emphasis on financial projections and statements

Cons

  • Expensive monthly cost compared to alternatives
  • Limited business plan features
  • Entire business plan can only be exported to Microsoft Word
  • Outdated interface
business plan software, gosmallbiz example

This demo screen from GoSmallBiz shows what it looks like to customize your business plan in their software. Image source: GoSmallBiz

Features

  • Industry-specific business plan templates with step-by-step building wizard
  • Ability to create financial statements and projections
  • Free website hosting and website builder
  • Customer relationship manager with integration with MailChimp
  • Digital marketing dashboard with social media and Google Analytics integrations
  • HR document builder
  • Corporate minutes writer
  • Business documents library
  • Business courses library
  • Unlimited business consultation

Pricing

  • $39 per month, no contracts, free cancellation

3. Enloop: Best for simple, fast business plan creation

If you’re looking for free business plan software, Enloop will be one of your closest options—they offer an all-inclusive seven-day free trial, no credit card required. Additionally, unlike some of the other options on our list, Enloop is strictly dedicated to business plan creation, including automated text writing, financial forecast comparisons, and a real-time performance score that tracks your progress.

This being said, if you’d prefer the most straightforward, fast, and simple way to write your business plan, Enloop will be a platform worth considering.

Pros

  • Simple and straightforward software, solely dedicated to business plan creation
  • Seven-day free trial
  • Automatic text generation available to streamline the writing process
  • Affordable plans with annual discount option

Cons

  • Limited additional educational resources
  • Only one template option
  • No integration options
business plan software, enloop example

Here you can see how Enloop allows you to create and edit your business plan. Image source: Enloop

Features

  • Ability to create three business plans with customizable text, images, tables, charts, and over 100 currency symbols and formats
  • Includes automatic text generation for each plan section that you can then customize
  • Automatically generated financial statements
  • Includes financial performance comparison analysis (using three ratios with Detailed plan and 16 with Performance plan)
  • Real-time performance score to track your progress
  • Ability to invite users to edit (two with Detailed plan, five with Performance plan)
  • Pass/fail report and certificate to help you identify issues with your plan

Pricing

  • Free plan: Seven-day free trial with no credit card required
  • Detailed plan: $19.95 per month or $11 per month, paid annually
  • Performance plan: $39.95 per month, or $24 per month, paid annually

4. Bizplan: Best for startups looking to acquire funding or find investors

Part of the Startups.com suite, Bizplan gets top marks for their user interface—it’s intuitive, easy to use, and modern. You’ll work with a step-by-step business plan builder to get exactly what you’d like from your business plan. It may remind you of a modern website builder, since it has drag-and-drop tools to build templates.

Moreover, for one subscription fee, you have access to all of the tools in the Startups.com network, including self-guided courses, how-to guides, masterclass videos, and more. All in all, with a direct connection to Fundable, Bizplan is a top business plan software option for startups looking to acquire funding and find investors.

Pros

  • Subscription gives you access to all startups.com tools
  • Lifetime access subscription option
  • User-friendly drag and drop business plan builder
  • Excellent educational resources
  • Connection to Fundable great for businesses looking for capital

Cons

  • No free trial
  • No templates based on industry
  • No mobile access
business plan software, bizplan example

Here you can see what it looks like to create a business plan with BizPlan’s drag and drop builder. Image source: BizPlan

Features

  • Drag-and-drop templates for business plan building
  • Financial command center to track all business financials in one place
  • Unlimited account collaborators
  • Ability to share business plan online with investors
  • Online resources including self-guided courses, masterclass videos, how-to guides, mentorship access
  • Unlimited software use for Fundable, Launchrock, and Startups.com

Pricing

  • Monthly plan: $29 per month
  • Annual plan: $20.75 per month, billed at $249 per year
  • Lifetime access: $349 one-time fee

5. PlanGuru: Best for financial planning and budgeting

Finally, for some of the strongest financial features among business plan software options, including budgeting and forecasting, you might check out PlanGuru. Whereas the other solutions we’ve reviewed were first and foremost focused on writing a business plan, PlanGuru is dedicated to business financial planning—providing the tools you need to create budgets, financial forecasts, reports, and more.

Therefore, if you need a software solution that can streamline the financial piece of your business planning processes, PlanGuru will certainly have the most to offer.

Pros

  • Extensive financial tools and detailed forecasting, budgeting, and reporting capabilities
  • Substantial library of resources
  • Cloud-based and desktop options
  • 14-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive, especially for additional users
  • Only focuses on the financial aspect of business planning; no templates or tools for basic business plan writing
  • Difficult to use without prior financial knowledge
business plan software, planguru example

This interface shows you the detailed financial projections and plans you can generate with PlanGuru. Image source: PlanGuru

Features

  • Cloud-based version of software, as well as locally-installed Windows version (desktop version has a few more features)
  • Works with QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Excel
  • Budgeting and forecasting for up to 10 years
  • Over 20 standard forecasting methods
  • Formula builder to create custom methods
  • Ratios and KPIs
  • Dashboard and reporting tools
  • Help guides, video tutorials, knowledgebase, and live U.S.-based customer support

Pricing

  • 14-day free trial
  • $99 per month (additional users $29 per month)
  • $899 per year (additional users $299 per year)

What to Look for in Business Plan Software

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide, which, if any, of the best business plan software solutions on our list is right for your business.

So, if you’re trying to figure out how to choose between the various options out there, it might be helpful to compare your top choices based on the following criteria:

  • Features: As we’ve seen different business plan software solutions offer different features. You’ll want to look carefully at the feature list of any software and determine what features are most important for your business needs. Do you need an extensive library of templates with detailed customization? Would you prefer software that includes an online learning center for business skills? Are you looking for a solution that combines business plan writing with other tasks? It may be useful to list out your ideal feature set, so you can compare individual software plans to that list.
  • Price: Although you might be able to find some free business plan software options (or at the very least, free trials), in most cases, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee to access the platform you choose. Therefore, you’ll want to think about what your budget is for this business tool and what type of software is most cost-effective for your needs.
  • User experience: User experience can vary widely among different business plan software options. You’ll find some programs that are newer or have been recently updated. Others might have the kind of interfaces that felt new years ago but are now pretty out of date—and, subsequently, make them a little harder to use. The right user experience for your needs is genuinely a matter of opinion and comfort—nevertheless, it’s worth testing thoroughly testing out a platform to ensure that it can truly work for you before investing in a monthly or annual subscription.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, there’s no doubt that properly crafting your business plan is important for the future growth and success of your small business. Luckily, the right business plan software should make the process much simpler.

This being said, whether you opt for one of the best business plan software options listed here, or another platform entirely, you’ll want to take the time to compare multiple solutions and ensure you choose the one that’s right for your business.

As we mentioned, it can be helpful to think about the features you’re looking for, your budget, and your user-experience preferences ahead of time—that way, you’ll have a set of criteria in mind as you explore different solutions.

Ultimately, perhaps the best thing you can do to find the right software is to actually test out the platforms themselves—either by utilizing a free trial or a money-back guarantee.

Sally Lauckner

Sally Lauckner is the editorial director at Fundera and the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger. She has over a decade of experience in print and online journalism. Previously she was the senior editor at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed fintech startup that provides personal finance advice. There she edited articles and data reports on topics including taxes, mortgages, banking, credit cards, investing, insurance, and retirement planning. She has also held various editorial roles at AOL.com, Huffington Post, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan magazines. Sally has a master's degree in journalism from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English and history from Columbia University.  Email: sally@fundera.com.
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