Is It Right For You?
Does the thought of writing a business plan have your head spinning? Does tracking your financials and crafting value propositions sound like something less than a walk in the park? Using business planning software like iPlanner.NET (not to be confused with the iPlanner calendar app) is a great way to approach these tasks head-on.
In this iPlanner Review, we’ll talk about pros and cons, pricing and features, customer reviews and more. Once we’re through, you’ll have a sense of what it’s like to use their services and be able to decide whether or not they’re right for you. Sit back, and enjoy!
Experience: iPlanner has been in the business planning game since 2007, so they’ve got a solid amount of industry knowledge and experience.
Options: They’ve got two trademarked business planning services, Startup Framework™ and Strategy Designer™. This can be confusing when you’re navigating their site – to be honest, we got a bit lost ourselves – but it’s good to have options, right?
Unlimited Users: All of their business planning packages allow you to have unlimited collaborators and assign people three different roles: Project Owners, Advisors, and Viewers.
Cost: iPlanner’s rates start at only $49/year, which is much cheaper than many comparable services on the market.
Modeling Capability: 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 business plan.
iPlanner 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 also don’t offer refunds, which is a bummer since you’re locked into committing to a minimum of 3 months of their services.
Their website is pretty old school and tough to navigate. For example, initially we found it difficult to find the checkout page for the Startup Framework software. Their Strategic Designer page is a bit better, but still not super sophisticated.
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 pricing model is a bit more complex than other providers since they offer two different software choices: Strategy Designer and Startup Framework. Based on their reviews, Strategy Designer seems to be the more popular choice, but we’ll outline both of them regardless.
The Strategy Designer packages include custom business plan templates, a real-time dashboard, collaborative document management, integration with Excel, and more. The software can be purchased at six different price points:
Of course, the vast majority of Startup Savant readers opt for A, as they don’t need 5 or 10 different business plans. But for agencies, success coaches, and larger corporations, having access to this much strategy is critical. Here’s a peek inside Strategy Designer:
Much like their website, their software aesthetic is pretty dry, but it’s not such a pain to navigate. All your stats, documents, etc., are accessible via the drop-down list on the left.
Here’s a look at the Target Customers section:
Not as sleek as some other software out there, but it gets the job done. You can still generate graphs and incorporate images and other files in your plan.
Now let’s dig into Startup Framework. It’s their lesser-used software, but it has more to offer new businesses.
Startup Framework has two packages: Professional and Corporate. The Professional plan is designed for entrepreneurs and startups, while the Corporate plan is for business coaches and the like – hence, the Professional package is the one you should keep your eye on. It can be paid for in 3, 6, and 12-month increments, while the Corporate plan can be paid annually or biannually.
See the pricing model below:
The Startup Framework dashboard is a little different than Strategy Designer since it’s focused on business modeling in addition to business planning:
Still pretty straightforward, but you’ve got some tabs at the top to choose from rather than a single drop-down list. Here’s a look at their business model canvas (inside the Business Model tab):
We love that Startup Framework includes a business model canvas. Sure, you can create one for free through Canvanizer, but it’s nice to have everything in the same place for frequent referencing.
iPlanner also has tons of templates for financial plans, marketing strategy, business models and more, which you can leverage to make sure your reports look presentation-ready.
iPlanner has a few customer reviews, but oddly a lot of them are duplicated across platforms. This makes it difficult to tell how many folks have actually reviewed them, but it seems to be about a dozen in total so far. Unfortunately, all of their reviews are from users of Strategy Designer, so there’s really no way to get customer insight yet into their Startup Framework.
Most of them are 5-stars, and we haven’t found complaints about them anywhere. Here’s a pretty informative review from a fellow on GetApp.com:
“iPlanner is a great productivity tool for those understanding the basic concepts behind business planning, especially what comes to financial stuff. If you feel comfortable with accounting terms, you can create a complete business-financial plan in an hour.”
He raises a good point, namely that iPlanner doesn’t offer as much educational support as other providers, so it’s really best for folks with a working knowledge of business and financial planning.
They’ve also been reviewed by a few software-focused review sites like PC Mag and FinancesOnline. In fact, TopTenReviews.com situated iPlanner.NET 9th in the Top 10 Business Planning Services available. Point being, they’ve established a decent amount of credibility across the web.
iPlanner is a reliable option, but it’s certainly not for everyone. If you don’t particularly thrive in the basic html-style design, or you’d prefer software that provides tips and educational resources, there are better services out there for you.
Our favorite is LivePlan, but each provider is someone’s perfect match. Weigh your priorities (price, desired features, etc.) and do some more research. There’s no reason to settle for anything less than your ideal!
Pricing Starts at
400,000+ Businesses Planned So Far
Anyone wanting a full featured business plan software that walks you through the entire process
Pricing Starts at
$49 – $55/year
Unknown Businesses Planned So Far
Anyone wanting a software that provides collaborative business planning, modeling & financial forecasting
It really depends on where you’re coming from. If you’re business-savvy enough that you don’t need much step-by-step help, and you’re fine with the html-style, no-nonsense aesthetic, you’ll probably have no trouble using iPlanner.
iPlanner doesn’t offer any refunds, so make sure you do plenty of research before committing to their services!
Nope. They offer a free tour of Startup Framework and a demo of Strategy Designer, but only to give you an idea of what their completed plans look like. Think of it like a teaser version of the software.
Email support only. Currently, their only Contact button (for desktop screens) is located at the bottom of their Strategy Designer page. Mobile users may have a little more trouble spotting it.