Writing a business plan is fundamental to starting a new business, and business plans are a must-have if you’re approaching banks or other investors for funding, explains Alyssa Gregory, founder of Small Biz Bonfire.
Creating one is easier said than done, however. “Writing a business plan can be intimidating,” says Dawn Berryman, founder of MarketMommy.com. It can be difficult to know how to get started or what you need to include.
That’s why entrepreneurs of all levels of experience turn to business plan software for help. Here are five of the best tools.
Bizplan is the business plan software tool from Startups.com, the online startup academy that has helped more than 1 million businesses get off the ground. A step-by-step creation tool helps you break down your plan into manageable chunks that are tracked by the software’s Progress Tracker. Expert advice and templates are available at each stage.
The plan starts at $29 per month or $249 for annual access. If you’re a consultant or serial entrepreneur, consider paying $349 for lifetime access.
BizPlanBuilder is one of the most user-friendly business plan creators on the market. A step-by-step wizard walks you through the process, asking questions along the way to fill in a plan for you. Industry-specific templates are available. You can edit the final plan to reflect your brand’s style and tone of voice.
The software can generate a full business plan, but it pays particular attention to financials, making it a good choice for entrepreneurs seeking funding. The software can be accessed via a web browser or downloaded for offline use.
BizPlanBuilder is available for a one-time fee of $97. A subscription version of the software, useful for strategic planning and growth financing, is available for $27 per month.
Enloop is an easy-to-use business plan creator that automates a large part of the process. Text and financial reports are automatically generated when you provide company information, and both can be edited later. You can also collaborate on your business plan. The software allows you to invite business partners, accountants, lawyers and anyone else you want to view and edit your plan.
One stand-out feature is the scoring of your business plan. Enloop displays a real-time score that updates as you fill in and improve your business plan. At the end, you’ll be provided with a pass/fail report, as well as a certificate for third parties to assess the creditworthiness of your company and its vision. There is, however, a separate fee for sharing your business plan’s score.
A seven-day free trial is available; paid plans start at $19.95 per month.
GoSmallBiz is a comprehensive resource for anyone looking to start and grow a business. Its business plan software uses industry-specific templates and a step-by-step wizard to make writing a business plan a breeze.
The software is entirely web-based and includes resources such as a website builder, a CRM system, business forms, and an HR document creator.
GoSmallBiz costs $39 per month with no contract.
LivePlan is web-based business plan software that guides you through the process step by step. Advice, planning tools, and financial calculators are all on hand to make writing your business plan as easy and seamless as possible. Live plan includes financial forecasting so you can test whether your numbers make sense, as well as tools entrepreneurs can use to track their financials and grow their businesses.
A monthly plan is available for $20 per month, a six-month subscription costs $18 per month, and an annual subscription is available for $15 per month.
Starting your own business may be scary, but writing a business plan doesn’t have to be. Use one of these tools today to start making your idea a reality.