- Experience: Business Plan Pro’s been on the market since 1991 and used by over a million businesses. Needless to say, they’ve come a long ways.
- One-time Payment: Unlike cloud-based software, Business Plan Pro doesn’t require any recurring payments. It’s a one-time upfront fee.
- Money-back Guarantee: Each of their plans come with a 60-day money back guarantee if you’re not totally satisfied.
- Educational: The software includes tons of educational content by founder and business guru Tim Berry, including a step-by-step video course on how to take advantage of every aspect of Business Plan Pro.
- Accessibility: Since it’s not cloud-based, accessibility and collaboration opportunities are limited.
- Compatibility: Business Plan Pro is only compatible with Windows, so if you’re a Mac user, there are definitely better options out there for you.
- Design: The software doesn’t look as modern as platforms like LivePlan or StratPad. Pretty basic, old-school design aesthetic.
Business Plan Pro comes in two packages: Standard ($99.95) and Premier ($159.95). Palo Alto also advertises LivePlan alongside BPP, as its younger, more modern flanker.
Standard Package = $99.95 (One-time purchase)
Looking first at the Standard Package, Business Plan Pro offers customizable business plans along with useful tools like financial forecasting, industry profiling, 500+ sample plans, lender-approved formatting, currency support, and support resources.
Unlike companies that offer online subscription-based services, if you want to upgrade, you’ll have to pay the full sticker price, which can seem like a lot for some folks. Do keep in mind though, regardless of your package selection, you’ll have access to their services for life.
When to use: I recommend this package most if you want a pretty extensive suite of features, but don’t want the heavy duty subscription plan that often comes with them. All and all, it’s a pretty sweet deal for small businesses, that oftentimes don’t really need all the bell and whistles.
Premier Package = $159.95 (One-time purchase)
With Premier, you’ll get access to their Management Dashboard, hypothetical cash-flow scenarios, and some other advanced features. If all of these extra capabilities sound helpful, it might be worth spending the extra $60.
However, most small business owners really don’t need all of these or even have time to utilize them. Think critically about how much time you’re going to dedicate to the data and what features would actually come in handy before deciding on a plan!
Quick Note: As you can see, the makers of Business Plan Pro are essentially phasing out the software and putting the majority of their attention on LivePlan. To see why, check out the 50% off discount they offer our readers.
When to use: This package makes a much better fit for larger organizations and established businesses. Because it also helps with the daily management of your business going forward, it makes for a solid service for those of you who don’t want to find 4 or 5 different tools for business management.
For most of our readers, I’d recommend starting off with the Standard Package. They offer a whole slew of features and a one time purchase option so that you can use this software for as long as you like, without getting roped into a long-term subscription plan.
Looking into their customer reviews, there’s not a whole lot to go off of. While they have had a million users over almost three decades, we were only able to find a small handful of reviews.
Customer Reviews as of 9-17-2017:
- GetApp: 5/5, 1 vote
- Amazon: 3.8/5, 31 reviews
Now, I tend to see this as a positive thing. If the software was buggy, clunky or unusable, there would have been negative reviews cropping up all over the place. But that’s not the case.
In fact, the reviews that we did find were mostly positive. Most customers felt that the product did exactly as advertised, worked well and was surprisingly easy to navigate.
There are, however, a few things to keep in mind. If you choose to go with Business Plan Pro, plan accordingly. Customers have reported some confusion during set up, so it’s best to allow yourself some time to get used to the platform.
Business Plan Pro has a lot of strengths, but it also has its weaknesses.
That’s why Palo Alto developed LivePlan, to begin with – they addressed the issues with BPP by creating an overall more streamlined software. Speaking of which, my team and I have put these two flankers from Palo Alto Software head to head so that you can see how both stack up.
Pricing: For these two, it really comes down to personal preference. Business Plan Pro allows you to purchase the whole software package for a one-time flat fee, so you don’t have to worry about it again.
LivePlan, on the other hand, offers a monthly subscription fee of a little over $11 a month. With LivePlan the upfront cost is significantly cheaper, but those do add up, so if you just want a one and done option BPP might suit your needs better.
Features: While both options are pretty jam-packed with features, LivePlan offers just a little bit more. They have tools available like performance checks, collaboration, data backups and more.
Because these two platforms come from the same company, Palo Alto Software has been actively trying to sort out some of the issues that Business Plan Pro has had in the past including Mac compatibility and online access, so if you’re looking for updated software, LivePlan is your best bet.
Customer Support: Business Plan Pro offers their customers phone and email support, but LivePlan wins out in the end. They offer phone, email and a responsive LiveChat option.
Additionally, Business Plan Pro offers a 30-day free trial of their specialist line to help you during the transition. Do keep in mind though, if you opt for this trial, you will be charged $29.95/mo after the first 30 days.
Number of Businesses Served: Here is where Business Plan Pro shines. Because they’ve been in the industry for so long, they’ve served over 1,000,000 customers. LivePlan has served roughly half that, coming in at about 500,000.
Explore Your Options
500,000+ Businesses Planned So Far
Perfect for: Anyone wanting a full featured business plan software that walks you through the entire process
Business Plan Pro
Pricing $99.95 or $159.95
1 million+ Businesses Planned So Far
Perfect for: Anyone wanting a downloadable software with tested professional plans & tools
Is it user-friendly?
For most folks, yes. It’s a dynamic software that can be put to use at multiple levels of complexity. Plus, helpful videos and other educational content by Tim Berry will be accessible every step of the way.
What about ongoing-support?
Their customer service is available via phone or live chat on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time).
What’s their return process?
They offer a 60-day money back guarantee, so if you don’t love the software you can get a full refund.
Is there a trial version?
No, but if you don’t like their services you can return the software for your money back within 60 days of purchase.
Based on everything we’ve talked about here, I’d give Business Plan Pro a 4.1 out of 5. They offer a ton of features to help with the business planning process and they’ve got decades of experience. If you’d like to learn more about Business Plan Pro or want to check out the alternatives, click either of the links below. Cheers!