LivePlan Review: The best business planning software?



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Here’s what the experts have to say…

John Jantsch

John Jantsch

Consultant and Author of
Duct Tape Marketing

LivePlan has reinvented business planning. It’s the only tool that helps entrepreneurs track their progress with a unique dashboard specifically designed for small business.

Pamela Slim

Pamela Slim

Business Coach and Author of
Escape from Cubicle Nation

I worked with many entrepreneurs who felt like planning would slow them down and restrict choices. After I shared LivePlan, they realized the opposite was true: data, charts and living plans allow you to make better informed choices that deliver growth.

David Nilssen

David Nilssen

Ceo & Co-Founder
Guidant Financial

LivePlan's unique Dashboard feature gives entrepreneurs a one-stop dashboard that tells them exactly how their business is doing and how to grow.

Trusted by over 500,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses

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If I could dream up a business plan creation system, this would be it! This is exactly how I want to create a business plan.

Kyle B. Ultrasounds Dimensions

LivePlan Reviews

LivePlan is incredibly simple and easy to use. The financial sales forecasting tool is very intuitive and makes writing a business plan more fun. I would highly recommend this product to anybody starting a business or revising their business plan.


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Helga D.

Svala

The encouragements I have received through the LivePlan newsletter and website have been very useful for the development of my business plan for my concierge business in Lagos, Nigeria. LivePlan is indeed a great guide to writing a good business plan.


review image of Oyegunle K.

Oyegunle K.

Quest Executive Errands and Delivery

I needed to write a business plan for my investors. I was going nuts trying to create charts and properly format them. Then a friend recommended LivePlan! The financials were so easy to use and I liked knowing the calculations were all correct. It helped me create a precise plan to confidently share with investors, and I’ve raised $3M so far!


review image of Rachid T.

Rachid T.

Olive Oil USA, LLC

I researched business plan templates online to help me write my business plan, and they were not unique enough for my business idea. I was so pleased when I discovered LivePlan. It’s helped me think through my business strategy, and take a sophisticated approach to writing the core components of my business plan – especially my financials. I appreciate the structure, flexibility and built-in financial calculations that LivePlan provided.


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Shaun S.

TransNet Universal

LivePlan is awesome. I love what you guys are doing. You actually helped my startup win a national business plan competition! I’ve created a business plan by scratch on my own before and I was able to GREATLY reduce the time it took me to complete it using LivePlan.


review image of Sulaiman S.

Sulaiman S.

WeDidit, Inc

I’ve checked out no fewer than 10 other options. This is by far the most simple, the most user friendly, and the most feature-rich option out there. It’s not only the cleanest and best-working (no bugs!), but it actually gives you the tools you need to cover a wide variety of business planning needs. Given the range of functionality (for example, you can do month-by-month sales forecasting for 36 months at the basic price level – something that most other services charge you an arm and a leg to upgrade tiers to gain access to), no other software comes close to this. And the final output of the business plan is SO CLEAN. A nice variety of example plans are available, and the “guided” element of going step-by-step is really actually helpful (instead of prohibitive, as I’ve found some guided software just takes you too far away from what you should really be focusing your time on).


review image of Allan D.

Allan D.

Rappahannock Distilery LLC

I was really stuck on a business model I had created for a renewable energy company. I decided to take a chance on LivePlan and was not dissappointed. I raised $1.3 million for my client in private capital as a result. On my second plan I was able to secure capital improvements for a client from their landlord in the amount of $250k. While the capital is important, it will be the implementation of the plan(s) that yields the most benefit for the client.


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Gary F.

Matrix Group 360

Prior to using LivePlan, I provided students with a Word document template for their business plan. Even though I encouraged students to use a collaboration tool such as Google Groups, many did not. They were emailing the plan back and forth between each other and it was difficult to keep track of versions and changes. LivePlan really facilitated communication between students who were in a team on the business plan project. Students could comment on sections of their business plan and collaborate on what to change in their plan without having to meet face-to-face.


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Amy V.

Cayuga Community College

“Excellent tool to simplify a complex task.”
Getapp.com

Getapp.com

“An essential tool for launching a start-up.”
Inc.Com

Inc.Com

“LivePlan won our admiration based on the clarity and understandability of its documentation and the impressive depth of features and options.”
PC Magazine

PC Magazine

“LivePlan outpaces every other service in this category.”
Top Ten Reviews

Top Ten Reviews

As a Virtual CFO, LivePlan is instrumental in making the financial stuff simple and less intimidating for my small business and solopreneur clients. The easy to navigate dashboards, budgeting/forecasting, and projections features enables me to quickly provide and present financial data in a way that makes sense to them. Additionally, this empowers and positions my clients to better utilize the financials for making informed business decisions for improving cash flow and catapulting business growth.


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Antonina G.

Simplistic Financials, LLC

LivePlan is great! I actually just recommended it to a friend who’s starting a new business.


review image of Jacen G.

Jacen G.

Social Innovation Incubator

LivePlan was user friendly, supportive and provided meaningful guidance all while remaining very flexible. With LivePlan, I was able to build a logical and cohesive business plan that accurately reflected the unique nature of my business. Thank you very much!


review image of Freja N.

Freja N.

Freja Foods

LivePlan set me off on the right trajectory at the earliest, most critical stages of conceptualizing and launching my business. It helped me think through my business holistically – prompting me to develop plans for vital areas I might have otherwise shied away from. The experience of using LivePlan was actually inspirational, as it kept me laser-focused on my company’s potential. I had so much fun creating the future, it was hard to walk away from my plan! With my initial plan complete, I now have a “compass” to constantly refer back to to keep me on track for growth and remind me of great ideas I intend to pursue. LivePlan also helps me monitor what I’ve accomplished – and that’s always motivating.


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Heidi L.

The Moksha Group

Most people are intimidated by the financials, but LivePlan made planning simple, saved me so much time and just knowing that the calculations are correct makes this tool worth every penny!


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Brandie S.

Noelle Notals, LLC

LivePlan was so great that I don’t have one recommendation for improvement! I really liked how it forced me to think through key parts of my business, like my competition, market research, and calculating my margins. We’ve only been in business for 6 months, and we’ve already exceeded our sales projections by about 100%. I attribute a lot of it to the way the business plan was organized. It helped shape the marketing message, and the consistency in which it has been delivered.


review image of Bob K.

Bob K.

Now Hear This

You guys rock. My accountant was amazed that I was able to put such a plan together. He noted other clients with bigger bank accounts that had a much less appealing and straight forward plans. Thanks guys.


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Robert A.

Ramp Care

LivePlan helped focus me. I was able to document my goals and milestones, and it helped me realize how many clients I need in order to hit my revenue goals. I don’t really enjoy writing, so the sample plans included in LivePlan nudged me along and really helped me write a solid plan.


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Teasha W.

Be Relaxed Destinations

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Business Plans

The Best Business Plan Software of 2018

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The Best Business Plan Software of 2018

Business plan software makes it easy to create a business plan. / Credit: Business plan image via Shutterstock

Is a business plan really necessary? If you want your business to have the best shot at succeeding, a well-crafted business plan is the way to go. Having the right business-plan software can help you get there. Business-plan software takes the legwork out of writing a business plan by simplifying the process and eliminating the need to start from scratch. Using software from our best business plan software picks of 2018 can help you build the right plan for your business.

Business plans serve many purposes. Before starting a business, a simple business plan enables would-be entrepreneurs to flesh out their ideas and lay out their vision. When it comes to seeking funding or planning for expansion, a comprehensive business plan is almost always a must. And when it comes to problems down the road, business plans help business owners foresee issues, make adjustments and plan their attack.

"A business that operates without a business plan is a business that is on the road to financial failure," said Joe Geiger, president and CEO of First Nonprofit Foundation and an adjunct professor at Duquesne University’s Graduate Program for Leadership and Ethics. [ Free Business Plan Templates for Startups ]

Of the several million startups that launch each year, the vast majority fail within the first few years, he said. "The primary reason for all of these failures is that they run out of money," Geiger said. "The fundamental reason for their financial problems is lack of planning."

Some of these failures could have been prevented by having a business plan. Yearly business plans with cash-flow forecasts enable businesses to discover their impending cash shortages months, if not years, before they run short of money, Geiger said.

To create a well-crafted business plan , your chosen business-plan software should cover the two critical parts of a business plan. The first part outlines the business’s goals in the coming years and how they will be accomplished, Geiger said. "Who is going to accomplish the goals? What are the milestones on the path to accomplishing the goals? And what people, tools and funds will be needed?" he said.

The second part is a cash-flow forecast, which typically covers a three-year span — the first year includes monthly forecasts, and the second and third years have quarterly forecasts, Geiger explained.

However, most entrepreneurs don’t have an accounting background to help them make proper forecasts, he said. Business planning tools should fill that gap. Geiger’s own cash-flow forecast template forces entrepreneurs to carefully forecast all revenue and cost items; tells them how much money is needed and when it is needed; and warns them of financial problems before they occur. Similarly, the business-plan software you choose should delve deep into financial details, he said.

"The more specific a cash-flow forecast is, the better it is," Geiger said. For instance, "listing a general overhead expense item is meaningless, while using rent, electric, etc. results in a meaningful forecast," he added.

To help you choose the best solution for your business, our sister site Top Ten Reviews does extensive in-depth reviews of business-plan software. Here are the top three recommendations:

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#1 Business Plan Pro

Business Plan Pro leads Top Ten Reviews’ rankings for business plan software, as it provides everything beginners need to develop a professional business plan, and also has several options for advanced users. The Standard Edition of the software has many features, including more than 500 sample business plans, industry profiles and planning e-books. The Premier Edition adds the ability to import data from QuickBooks or Excel, visual cash-planning capability, valuation-analysis tools and additional financial tools.

Research and Forecasting Tools: Business Plan Pro provides more than 500 sample business plans covering several diverse business concepts. Additional resources are available to determine the best way to forecast numbers for marketing, cost per unit and other industry expenses. The "drag and drop" graphic forecaster lets users quickly and easily create graphs and charts.

Help & Support: Business Plan Pro provides beginners and professionals with a business-plan wizard, step-by-step guidance and informational videos.

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#2 Biz Plan Builder

Biz Plan Builder ranks highly for its multiuser capabilities, including the ability to share securely stored files over the Internet. The software includes everything needed for a customizable, professional business plan. It also helps users create an understanding of their business to help sell themselves to investors and bankers. It includes future strategy development to review the prospects of an acquisition through valuation analysis, adding value for a potential merger and cultivating ideas and advice on restructuring or reorganization.

Research and Forecasting Tools: Forecasting tools include a comprehensive budget/feasibility analysis using a "best/worst" case analysis. Models and financial analysis are also available to help users make the best assumptions, projections and financial determinations.

Help & Support: Supporting documents include business forms such as articles of incorporation, résumé templates, team responsibilities and general partnership agreements, as well as personal financial statements, press releases , private offering disclaimers and stock-option tracking worksheets. Business-plan updates, business-plan FAQs, an online business-plan workshop and an expert referral network are also part of the program. Built-in advice and support include interactive guides, built-in sample plans and expert explanations.

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#3 BizPlan.com

BizPlan.com earned Top Ten Reviews’ Bronze Award for offering a contemporary online interface that is simple to use, while also providing enough flexibility for the advanced user. The software allows other collaborators to access, edit and share information easily. BizPlan.com has recognized the significant advantage of providing applications that allow for online collaboration and integration with other services and products.

Research and Forecasting Tools: BizPlan.com provides spreadsheet forecasting templates that can be customized and then imported with the final business plan. A full marketplace will soon be launched, which will include access to business resources, as well as the abilities to add features to the business plan and send a completed plan to professionals for printing and binding. Sample plans are also included in the professional package.

Help & Support: Both email and telephone support is available for new subscribers.

Additional reporting by Sara Angeles.

Matt D’Angelo

Matt D’Angelo is a B2B Tech Staff Writer based in New York City. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in Journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. Matt joined the Purch team in 2017 and covers technology for Business.com and Business News Daily. Follow him on Twitter  or email him .