7 Best Business Plan Software for Startups in 2024

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Launching a new startup is an exciting yet challenging endeavor. Crafting a comprehensive business plan is a critical first step for any founder to outline their vision, objectives, and strategy. It acts as a roadmap to help guide important decisions and next steps as a company grows.

With so many options available, finding the right business planning tool can be daunting. The best software should be affordable, user-friendly, and offer a robust set of features to aid in financial modeling, strategic planning, and more.

In this review, we’ll explore some of the top business plan software solutions designed specifically for entrepreneurs. We’ll compare capabilities, ease of use, templates and resources, integrations, pricing, and more. Whether you’re looking to create an investor-ready plan or simply organize your strategy, choosing the right tool can help you get started on the right foot.

Our #1 Pick: LivePlan

Save time and create a professional business plan with intuitive tools and step-by-step guidance.

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Unsure if LivePlan is right for you? Continue reading our comprehensive review below to learn more and explore your options.

Best Business Planning Tools

LivePlan

four point eight out of five

4.8/5

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Best Business Plan Software Overall

  • Affordable pricing
  • Access to over 500 business plan templates
  • Clean, modern platform

Bizplan

four point six out of five

4.6/5

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Most User-Friendly

  • Excellent customer support
  • Access to a variety of startup resources

Enloop

four point five out of five

4.5/5

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  • Seven-day free trial
  • Advanced financial ratios

PlanGuru

four point five out of five

4.5/5

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  • Business valuation calculations
  • Robust reporting tools

IdeaBuddy

four point four out of five

4.4/5

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  • Intuitive platform
  • Variety of customizable templates

iPlanner

four point four out of five

4.4/5

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  • Easy-to-use templates
  • Helpful customer support team

Wise Business Plans

four point three out of five

4.3/5

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  • Variety of business-building services
  • Access to a team of MBA writers and consultants

In this review, we’ll look at seven of the best business plan software platforms — discussing their pros, cons, features, pricing, and more — so you can decide which one is right for your startup.

Best Business Plan Software for Startups 2024:

  1. LivePlan – Best Overall
  2. Bizplan – Easiest to Use
  3. Enloop – Best Automation Features
  4. PlanGuru – Best Financial Forecasting
  5. IdeaBuddy – Best for Idea Validation
  6. iPlanner – Best for Nonprofits
  7. Wise Business Plans – Best Professional Services

The following tools all have their own great features. Based on its affordable pricing and usability, LivePlan is our top business plan software choice for startups.

Try LivePlan today or continue reading to explore your options!

Best Business Plan Software: LivePlan

LivePlan is the overall best business plan tool, offering a large number of features at an affordable price.

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1. LivePlan – $15/month to $30/month

We love LivePlan overall because it offers great value at an affordable cost. The software lets you quickly create a business plan from anywhere in the world using what is arguably the best business plan software available on the market. It does everything better than its competition and costs way less.

What’s more, the online “cloud-based” platform is easy to use and you are under no contract or obligation to keep paying for the service. Even better, if you decide to stop service for whatever reason, Palo Alto Software, the makers of LivePlan, will keep your account active and data preserved for at least a year should you decide to reactivate your account later.

Features

  • Create an unlimited number of business plans
  • A forecast feature for those less mathematically inclined. Plug in data, and it will generate charts, graphs, figures, and even the profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements
  • 500+ business plan templates spanning all major industries
  • Real-time financial data tracking
  • Performance dashboards track sales and budgeting
  • Create one-page pitch plans for potential investors
  • Milestone scheduling feature — Some people will use it when working with others on their plan; it will let you assign milestones to people.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Low-cost annual plans
  • Affordable pay-as-you-go plans
  • No cancellation fees
  • Data saved for 12-months, even after cancellation
  • Clean, modern platform
  • Cloud-based; works on any business machine (Linus, Windows, Mac)
  • Integrates with Quickbooks and Xero to import your data easily
  • Knowledgeable customer support to get help with your plan

Cons

  • No valuation capabilities
  • Templates built on Palo Alto Software’s earlier software Business Plan Pro require some modifications to be used on LivePlan

Insider Information

Talking to the nice people at LivePlan we learned some inside information that we wanted to share with our readers.

Here’s what we learned:

  • LivePlan has been used by contestants on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” to win over angel investors to help them get their ideas and businesses funded.
  • Accountants use LivePlan as an added-value service to sell to their clients.
  • Businesses continue using LivePlan because of a feature called “Dashboard” which lets you manually enter your actuals or pull actuals from Quickbooks online to do comparative forecasting and analysis.
  • LivePlan helps with business continuity planning (BCP).
  • LivePlan executives use LivePlan to make important business decisions.
  • “Dashboard” does profit and loss, cash flow, and balance sheet reports and lets you compare and contrast your actuals from your forecasts to be able to show to investors.
  • LivePlan lets you create business plans in 1/5th the time it takes using templates.

Customer Reviews

LivePlan receives great feedback from customers. LivePlan reviews average 4.5 stars out of 5 on GetApp. LivePlan is an easy company for us to recommend for the best business plan software.

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2. Bizplan – $29/month, $249/year, $349 lifetime

Bizplan rates high on our list because they offer a lifetime plan that gets you “forever access” to their business plan software. As an added bonus, you also receive free access to Startup Courses and LaunchRock, a landing page builder.

Features

  • Easy, “fill-in-the-blanks” plan builder
  • Publish your business plan online
  • Unlimited business plans
  • Bizplan takes care of the financials
  • Cloud-based (use any browser on any computer)
  • Options to add more graphics and photos

Pros

  • Low-cost yearly plans
  • Cloud-based; works on any business machine (Linus, Windows, Mac)
  • Create unlimited business plans
  • Xero to import your data easily
  • Excellent and responsive customer support (email/chat/phone)
  • Free access to Startup.com and LaunchRock.com
  • Discount at Fundable.com (connect with lenders and investors)

Cons

  • No valuation capabilities
  • Can’t export in Word
  • Doesn’t currently integrate with QuickBooks
  • No free trial
  • No third-party app integrations

Insider Information

Talking with BizPlan insiders, we learned that the premise behind BizPlan is to help startups easily create professional business plans to give them a leg-up with lenders and investors.

Here’s what else we learned:

  • BizPlan’s does all your financial calculations for you.
  • BizPlan strives to be an all-in-one solution for Startups needing funding.
  • BizPlan is constantly making improvements to its software.

Customer Reviews

BizPlan receives great feedback from customers. BizPlan reviews average 4.4 stars out of 5 on GetApp. Still a relatively new option, BizPlan already has over 30,000 satisfied customers. As their platform grows, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them integrate even more valuable features. Keep a close eye on this one.

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3. Enloop – Free to $39.95/month

If you’re looking to try before you buy, Enloop is a strong choice as one of the only business planning software tools with a free trial.

Features

  • User-friendly platform
  • Compare your financials against your industry’s performance
  • Bank ready financial statements (Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, Cash flow)
  • Lets multiple team members work on a business plan
  • 36-Month detailed financial reports
  • Sync date and text into your business plan
  • Real-time performance rating
  • Generated business plan Pass/Fail report
  • Multiple currency formatting

Pros

  • Seven-day free trial (no credit card required)
  • Affordable pay-as-you-go plans
  • Advanced financial ratios
  • Financial projections
  • Video tutorials to help you with the writing process
  • No cancellation fees
  • Cloud-based; works on any business machine (Linus, Windows, Mac)

Cons

  • No phone or chat support, just a “contact us” form.
  • No valuation capabilities
  • Three business plan limit per account
  • Doesn’t integrate with QuickBooks or Xero
  • No third-party app integrations
  • No financial forecasts beyond 36-months
  • No 30-day money-back guarantee

Insider Information

We learned that the premise behind Enloop is to make business planning easier for entrepreneurs. Enloop achieves this by making software simple to navigate through and takes risks off the table with their no credit card needed seven-day free trial. Their business plan creation software offers financial forecasting features for up to 36 months.

Here’s what else we learned:

  • Enloop utilizes 16 financial ratios to get your business ready for investors.
  • Enloop offers some sample business plans that are easy to modify.
  • Enloop’s performance score increases as you create your detailed plan.
  • A new business or small businesses benefit the most from Enloop’s solutions.

Customer Reviews

Enloop receives fair feedback from customers. Enloop’s reviews average 3 stars out of 5 on PCMag. Enloop’s main complaint is its lack of instructional text for writing mission statements and other key sections. What they rank high on is their efficiency and the speed at which the software lets you write a business plan.

Even beyond the free version, Enloop Basic is just $9.95/month ($6/month when paid annually), so they’re one of the least expensive tools for writing a business plan.

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4. PlanGuru – $99/month to $299/month

PlanGuru is a good option if you’re looking for considerably more robust software that offers quite a bit more. The most notable feature we like is the valuation tool, only present on the desktop version of the software. PlanGuru lets you calculate the valuation of your business using three different methods. No other business plan software offers this that we know of.

PlanGuru also offers budgeting, forecasting, and performance tools to help you put together a business plan. In the main, PlanGuru allows you to get a custom-tailored three financial statement budget model up and running out of QuickBooks or Xero in a matter of minutes. PlanGuru’s business plan writing software takes you through a setup process where it asks you questions such as:

  • What’s the first month of your fiscal year?
  • How many historical years do you want to import?

And, once you answer these questions, PlanGuru then generates a model for you that you can then populate with your historical data if you have it. Then you can go through PlanGuru’s 20+ projection methods.

Some financial data projection methods include:

  • Revenues
  • Expenses, like payroll, etc.
  • Balance sheet items, like accounts receivable, accounts payable, crude expenses, prepaid expenses, loans, etc.

These are only a few of the features the business plan software offers. Here are some more.

Features

  • Budgeting/Forecasting Software
  • Analytics Service for Financial Performance & KPIs
  • Compare your financials against your industry’s performance
  • Bank ready financial statements (Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, Cash flow)
  • Valuation calculations (desktop software only)
  • Desktop and cloud-based options
  • Free 14-day trial and 30-day money-back guarantee

Pros

  • Great customer support and knowledgeable sales staff
  • Lower-cost yearly plans offered
  • Advanced financial calculations
  • Business valuation calculations
  • No contracts
  • Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero
  • No cancellation fees

Cons

  • Costlier than LivePlan and most other business plan software options
  • Additional cost per user can add up quickly

Insider Information

The great thing about PlanGuru is that the only thing you have to worry about is the income statement and balance sheet projections because the cash flow statement is automatically generated.

Then once you have the cash flow statement, income statement, and balance sheet in place, you can then lock down the budget.

Here’s what else we learned:

  • PlanGuru’s desktop version has three different types of valuation methods that calculate the worth of your business.
  • PlanGuru has some really nice reporting tools that pull together your financial statements into table formats, say, for the bank, line-by-line.
  • PlanGuru also has some nice charts, graphs, scorecards, and some easily digestible reports that can help you visualize how your company is performing.
  • Exports to Excel, PDF, and Word documents –and, there’s even a tool that lets you create customized reports.
  • You can print your plan off too to show partners, lenders, and investors.
  • PlanGuru now offers a cloud-based version of its software, though it will take some time to catch up to the rich features offered by the current desktop software version.
  • With PlanGuru you also get free updates, bug fixes, and new releases as they become available.

Important Note: These tools are important because investors may want to see not only historical performance but also projections.

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5. IdeaBuddy – Free to $35/month

IdeaBuddy makes our list because of what’s behind their approach. IdeaBuddy focuses on helping entrepreneurs develop their idea first, then share it, and then refine it into a plan. If you have a business idea and don’t know what to do next, IdeaBuddy could be what you’re looking for in a business plan software.

Features

  • Single-page business plan pitch (Idea plan)
  • Clean modern design platform combined with great financial tools
  • Marketing plan for selling and promoting your products
  • Market overview plan where you create targeted customer profiles, identify your competition and calculate the market potential
  • Business plan creation that includes forecasting performance and cash flow projections
  • A proprietary algorithm calculates a final score for your idea providing recommendations for improvement after you complete “Story Mode”
  • Idea Journal, that is an internal business plan for you to show potential investors

Pros

  • A lifetime plan costs only $178
  • Great for developing ideas
  • Great for doing market research
  • Lower-cost yearly plans offered
  • Pay-as-you-go plans offered
  • No contracts

Cons

  • Email-only customer service
  • Software lag time issues
  • Fewer software options than most other small business options

Insider Information

IdeaBuddy has some great features that are fantastic from idea conceptualization down to cost projections and the laying out of steps to take to start a business. We would have liked, however, to been given more KPIs that would notify us of tasks, help with idea validation, and help us measure other objectives to better monitor the health of our business. Another thing lacking was the design of the finished plan–it contained some noticeable structural issues.

Customer Reviews

IdeaBuddy has received some outstanding customer reviews on GetApp. IdeaBuddy has earned a 4.6-star rating out of 5 possible stars.

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6. iPlanner – Starts at $55/year

iPlanner is a comprehensive business plan software that has been aiding entrepreneurs since 2007, providing a robust framework for developing business plans, models, and financial forecasts online.

Features

  • Unlimited Team Members & Collaboration
  • A La Carte Pricing Model vs Packages
  • Discounts for Serial Entrepreneurs & Business Coaches

Pros

  • Solid amount of industry knowledge and experience.
  • They’ve got two trademarked business planning services, Startup Framework™ and Strategy Designer™
  • All of their business planning packages allow you to have unlimited collaborators and assign people three different roles: Project Owners, Advisors, and Viewers.
  •  Their Startup Framework software has a business modeling section where you can design a business model canvas and strategize as much as you need before diving into your plan.

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a month-to-month option for either of their services. Their Strategy Designer is payable only annually, while their Startup Framework is available for 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month payments.
  • They don’t offer refunds
  •  Their website is pretty old school and tough to navigate.
  •  Unlike other business planning software, iPlanner doesn’t offer a free version or trial. However, you can take a tour of their Startup Framework software or view a demo of the Strategy Designer to get a feel for them.

iPlanner’s Business Planning Software

If a simple framework is all you’re looking for, iPlanner can help you out. They don’t have many bells and whistles, but at these price points, they offer a good value for nonprofits and corporations.

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7. Wise Business Plans – Pricing by Request

Wise business plans website is a little confusing to navigate, and pricing is by request only, which can get frustrating. They do have a lot of options for different kinds of business plans for various types of business types, which makes them versatile. They also have business building and funding options as well. And, if you wish to establish business credit, they offer net-30 accounts that get reported to Equifax business.

Features

  • Claim to be the only business plan company to write for Fortune 100 and 500 companies
  • Business formation services
  • Business license searches
  • EIN services
  • Digital marketing services
  • Business website design and branding

Pros

  • Has a lot of helpful information
  • Helpful options for forming your business
  • Options to help after you start your business
  • Helps small businesses establish business credit
  • Business formation services

Cons

  • Not an actual business plan software
  • Expensive by comparison
  • Website is difficult to navigate
  • Pricing is by request only
  • Limited products and features
  • Turnaround is one month
  • Requires some work on your end

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Business Plan Software Pros and Cons

Pros

  • By using business plan software providers, you’ll be able to create a solid outline for your business. Although some of the options above are better than others, each will walk you through from start to finish.
  • No matter how you look at it, business plan software is cost-effective. As long as you actually use the tool, you’ll generate significantly more value than you’re spending on monthly subscription fees.
  • If you spend the time to create a solid plan, you’re much more likely to hold yourself accountable. Think of planning software like an accountability buddy for entrepreneurship.
  • Your business plan tool will help set realistic financial goals, and most can also keep your bottom line in check by integrating your accounting software.
  • Business planning software enables you to collaborate with partners, mentors and investors.

Cons

  • Some of the business plan tools don’t offer support and can have slightly buggy features. That said, if you’re serious about writing a solid plan, go with a tool that’s constantly updated and well made.
  • Although some business plan tools have a collaboration feature, none of them can review it when you’re done. All business planning tools lack a human touch.

How to Choose the Right Business Plan Software

With the array of business planning tools available, it can be daunting to select the right one for your needs. Here are some tips for choosing a business plan software solution:

  • Consider your skill level – Opt for software like a wizard-guided template if you are less experienced in writing plans. Choose more advanced software with greater flexibility once you know what you are doing. Look for drag-and-drop tools to easily organize sections.
  • Determine your budget – Prices range from free to several hundred dollars. Know how much you can spend before shopping.
  • Compare features – Look for software with the specific tools you need, like financial projections, sample text, customizable templates, and more.
  • Evaluate the financial tool capabilities – The software should provide extensive financial tools like forecasting, modeling, projections, and dashboards to streamline financial planning.
  • Check reviews and ratings – Get feedback from other users about their experience with the software. High reviews indicate easier, more user-friendly software.

Which Is the Best Business Plan Software?

You know the unique requirements of your startup better than we do. These are all quality services that offer business planning software tools for entrepreneurs like you. Feel free to read over our full reviews if you’d like to know more about any of them or even visit the websites directly.

In general, we do prefer LivePlan because they have a huge library of business plan templates, and we love their convenient dashboard. They’re the planning software that is most likely to help you via customer support, continue updating their tool, and figure out ways to make your business experience better. Enjoy!

FAQs

What is the purpose of a business plan?

The purpose of a business plan is to provide a structured outline and roadmap for a business’s goals, strategies, and operations. It serves as a guide for decision-making, resource allocation, and management. 

Furthermore, it can be a crucial tool for attracting investors, securing loans, and ensuring that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the business’s direction and objectives.

What does business plan software do?

Business plan software assists entrepreneurs and businesses in creating, organizing, and refining their business plans. It provides tools, templates, and guidance to streamline the planning process. 

Features often include financial forecasting, market analysis, visual aids like charts and graphs, collaboration capabilities, and even integration with other business tools. This software aims to simplify the task of creating a thorough and professional business plan.

How do you write a business plan?

To write a business plan, start by writing an executive summary that provides an overview of your business idea, products/services, market opportunity, and projected growth. Outline your company description, industry analysis, target customers, competitive advantage, marketing and sales plans, operations, management team, and financial projections.

How long should a business plan be?

The length can vary based on the complexity of the business, its stage, and its intended audience. In general, it might range from 15-50 pages. However, the key is to ensure that the plan is comprehensive yet concise. 

For many situations, especially when seeking investment, a more detailed one is preferable. Yet, for internal purposes or for businesses at very early stages, a shorter, more concise plan might suffice.

Are there business plan templates on Word?

Yes, Microsoft Word has business plan templates you can download and customize. The templates provide section headings, instructions, sample text, and tables to input your specific business information.

What is Palo Alto Software?

Palo Alto Software is a company that’s been around since the late 1980s. They created business management software for startups and existing businesses. The software has since been updated and rebranded as LivePlan and today happens to be one of the most sought-after business plan software available in the marketplace.

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