Still in the process of crafting a business plan? Thinking about using business planning software to organize your thoughts and make sure nothing slips through the cracks? There are tons of providers to choose from, but based on countless hours of research we’ve arrived at a few favorites - two of which are Business Plan Pro and PlanGuru.
In this Business Plan Pro vs. PlanGuru comparison, we’ll take a look at the differences we’ve found in their pricing, features, customer reviews, and more to help you determine which - if either - will suit your needs. But first, let’s go over the things they have in common!
What They Have In Common
- Both must be downloaded to your computer and are only compatible with Windows.
- Both sync with accounting software to make importing and managing finances a breeze.
- Both offer tons of educational material like video tutorials and live demos.
- Both have high-quality, super-accessible customer support.
- Both come with money-back guarantees.
What Sets Them Apart
Business Plan Pro
- Business Plan Pro has more experience than PlanGuru. They’ve been in the business planning game since 1991, and have helped over a million businesses.
- Much cheaper than PlanGuru, especially for prolonged use. BPP’s one-time download cost is $99.95, the same as PlanGuru’s monthly service fee.
- They offer live chat, phone and email support for the current version of the software.
- No collaboration capabilities. Only the user who downloads it to their computer has access.
- Unlike Business Plan Pro, PlanGuru offers a free, fully-functional 30-day trial - it just doesn’t let you print or export reports.
- No additional users are included, but you can add extra collaborators for $29 per person per month.
- Their in-depth PlanGuru University classes are free for PlanGuru users.
- They offer a cloud-version of the software that works on any OS, anywhere with internet access. It’s available for an extra $45/mo.
Business Plan Pro
Business Plan Pro’s reviews are a little mixed - the software was designed by Palo Alto, which also created LivePlan and some other software products. Palo Alto’s Shopper Approved page has 3000+ reviews, some of which are about Business Plan Pro, others about LivePlan, but the vast majority are ambiguous.
Their average customer satisfaction rating on Shopper Approved is 4.6/5 stars, but unfortunately we can’t say how well this translates specifically to Business Plan Pro user-experience. That said, here are a couple BPP-specific testimonials:
"Business Plan Pro was an essential tool during the strategic planning stage of our start-up. The profit and loss helped us focus our resources on the most profitable channels, and the sales forecasts were useful in keeping us on track."
"Business Plan Pro allowed us the opportunity to make a great presentation for our investors, as well as helping us set our sales and marketing goals and projections. It also helped us to really sit down and understand every aspect of our business and how it affects the bottom line."
It’s also worth noting that the current version of BPP Premier is also available on Amazon.com, where their customer feedback is a bit more on the critical, but overall positive side.
Virtually, all of their negative reviews are from folks saying the software didn’t meet their expectations and now they’re out $100+. Of course, the 60-day money back guarantee takes care of this problem.
Whether these folks simply weren’t aware of the money-back guarantee or the Amazon version doesn’t include one, we’re not sure. Either way, if you choose to buy Business Plan Pro, make sure to order it directly from the BPP or Palo Alto website rather than a third-party - just to be safe.
PlanGuru hasn’t focused much energy on accumulating reviews on one centralized platform. They have a couple dozen across the web, though - see their rating breakdown on TrustPilot and GetApp below:
So, about 80% customer satisfaction. Many of their reviews discuss the high-complexity of the software and the consequential learning curve. However, lots of folks say the abundance of educational resources makes up for it. Check out a couple of their customer testimonials:
“Perhaps, the tool’s greatest benefit lies in its ability to automate and simplify complex budgeting and forecasting practices. That it does this without the help of messy and unwieldy excel sheets is fantastic.”
“Anytime when I have questions or need help, I always get tremendous support from PlanGuru. The people work there care about their clients. That is important to us. I want to give special thanks to Thomas Murray, Tripp Graham, and Christian Wielage.”
It seems to depend on how much effort users are expecting - and willing - to put in, especially in the beginning stages. PlanGuru’s platform was designed to be more elaborate and robust than their competitors, hence the higher price tag. If you don’t need the 20+ forecasting methods and all the other fancy features, you might find PlanGuru unnecessarily difficult to navigate.
Pricing & Feature Differences
Business Plan Pro
As we mentioned, Business Plan Pro requires a single upfront payment of $99.95 (Standard) or $159.95 (Premier). In the pricing breakdown below, their features are advertised alongside LivePlan, since they’re both Palo Alto Products. Take a look:
So, regardless of which package you choose, you’ll get everything listed above: their comprehensive financials, 500+ sample plans, industry profiles, etc. That said, here’s what you’ll only get with BPP Premier (or LivePlan):
So for an extra $60, you get access to their management dashboard, hypothetical cash-flow scenarios, and a few other bonuses. LivePlan, as you can see, has all the features of BPP Premier and many more… but we’ll save that for another review.
Now to get a feel for what it’s like to actually use Business Plan Pro, take a look inside the software:
Pretty basic, no-frills aesthetic. Palo Alto designed BPP to be super-pragmatic and utilitarian, and put more effort into making LivePlan a sleeker, more modern software option. We’re not saying one is better than the other - many folks are much more comfortable with this straightforward spreadsheet-style design. It’s all a matter of preference!
For a closer look at their pricing and features, check out our Business Plan Pro Review.
Unlike Business Plan Pro, PlanGuru offers only one package that requires month-to-month or annual payments.As we’ve discussed, PlanGuru’s rates are significantly higher than Business Plan Pro, especially if you’re planning on using their services for several months or years. But again, they’ve got a lot to offer entrepreneurs seeking super-comprehensive business planning and financial management tools. Take a look at some of their package features below:Their super in-depth training/support resources and 20+ forecasting methods are two characteristics that really set them apart from other providers. PlanGuru University is a highly interactive 3-part training course from which you can earn a certification as a PlanGuru expert - and it comes free with their packages. We love the way they set their users up for success!
Now, here’s a peek inside their software:
PlanGuru and BPP are actually pretty similar in the aesthetics department. If the Excel-style format suits your fancy, you’d probably thrive in either platform.
For an in-depth assessment of their features, head over to our PlanGuru Review.
Which is Right For You?
Business Plan Pro and PlanGuru are both reputable and reliable business planning software options. We believe with either one, you’d be in good hands.
That said, each provider is designed to meet different needs, and many startups may not require, or even have time to use, all the tools PlanGuru provides. Based on our research, we prefer Business Plan Pro for their lower prices and decades of experience.
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