You provide the information, they organize it into a plan, and hopefully soon you'll be in business. This is an all-in-one web app that walks users through every step of creating a traditional business plan. Here's how it works: Based on the data you enter into the app, Enloop automatically generates sales, profit and loss, cash flow and balance sheet projections for you, complete with explanatory graphs and other compelling visual elements. Enloop also provides standard, yet customizable business plan text for each section of your plan, including portions focused on key company information and financial data.
Enloop is only web-based and not yet available for mobile devices. Related: Reworking Your Business Plan? Consider These Tips. Alex Glassey, who designed this iPad-only app , describes it as "a strategic-planning app that helps entrepreneurs with the thinking and decision-making process. It is packed with several free how-to tools for beginners, including a page business strategy tutorial, view-on-demand training videos, email-based customer service, and more.
A free basic StratPad edition is available for students. The more you pay, the more advanced business plan options you get. The easy-to-use app guides users through a series of simple questions and prompts. Your answers are used to develop a summary business plan, complete with revenue projections and full-color graphs and charts.
Business Plan Premier. Business Plan Premier leads you through writing your prospective company's vision and mission statements, product descriptions and marketing plans. You can also use it to complete competitive and SWOT strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis, outline your management scheme, identify your startup expenses, define your target market and more depending on your needs.
Your completed business plan is exported as a Microsoft Word document that you can edit, print, email or upload to Dropbox. Business Plan Lite is the free but much less functional version of the app. Entrepreneur Media, Inc. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site both directly and through our partners. The table below describes in more detail the data being collected.
Don't treat these tools as all-in-one solutions to your problems.
Set your expectations correctly and you'll find these business plan software solutions to be far more helpful. But I promise you that, at least once while you use these business plan software solutions, you will say, "Gee, I don't know; I have to look it up. For any but the simplest of proposals, it's an iterative process.
So, you need to highlight the parts to come back to after your accountant responds, for example. Or, the software should at least save data in some kind of draft status. However, across all of these apps, some forms insist you must enter something in a field before it will save everything on the page, which is irksome. Worse, it could lead to errors because you might not remember to go back and fix the temporary guess.
I kept wishing for a way to bookmark "temporary" data that needs to be double-checked "I'll write in for now…" ; the best answer to this was Palo Alto Software LivePlan's comment field but it would be nice to see a business planning software solution that let me mark a field as "Don't forget. You Still Need a Spreadsheet In general, these business plan software solutions will act as though you are reasonably organized before you log into their websites wherein you will paste summary information.
However, based on my hands-on experience, I advise you to still expect to do background math yourself. For instance, if you need to fill in the projected head count for marketing for the next five years and you keep adjusting the number of people to hire based on your spreadsheet guesswork , expect to keep manually updating the total in the software rather than having the data automatically sync. In other words, these business plan software solutions are helpers, not "I will do the thinking for you" kind of apps.
And this is okay, as long as you don't expect them to be something they're not. These are all SaaS apps, some of which have a free version with the basics as well as a paid version with more feature depth. If your needs are incredibly simple and you just need "fill-in-the-blanks" forms to give to a banker, then you may find several completely free options that do the trick.
A Plan for All Businesses These business plan software solutions must be relevant for everyone, from a solo entrepreneur trying to open a small to midsize accounting firm to an established manufacturing company aiming to fund a new factory. To judge suitability to task, I used data from two real business plans: a New Jersey restaurant startup and a nine-year-old horror film festival. I also measured the software against the business plan I once wrote with the help of professional advisors back when I sought significant VC. All of these business plan software solutions are good apps; none of them gravely disappoint.
It won PCMag's admiration based on the clarity and understandability of their documentation and the impressive depth of their features and options. However, each of the 10 business plan software solutions reviewed has strengths that may make one a better choice over another for your business. So, look at all of the options to see which one is the best fit for you. Lots of online learning help. Cons: Loads of customizable features necessitates a learning curve. Limited third-party integrations. Bottom Line: Delivered in slick, cloud service packaging, Palo Alto Software's LivePlan is a very nice business planning tool that comes complete with loads of customizable features and solid online help and learning resources.
Even so, the products sheer depth means you're still facing a bit of a learning curve. Pros: Highly configurable and detailed business plan. Advice from business experts. Able to generate financial statements and projections without outside spreadsheet software.
Links to third-party services. Cons: Few sample business plans. Pros: Offers unique services that match entrepreneurs with investors, with business plan features to enable that process. Cons: Its design is in the framework of crowdfunding investments from people you don't know. If you simply need a plan to sell your local Angel investor on your process, EquityNet probably is overkill. Still, its bundled business planning tool is solid and can help speed startups toward getting funded. Pros: Strong budgeting and forecasting features. Links to analytics add-on. Breakeven analysis. QuickBooks support available.
Cons: Requires some financial sophistication to use. Lacks sample business plan templates. Still, rank beginners or those less focused on financial calculations might need to look elsewhere. Pros: Adds project management tools to business planning.
The price is unbeatable. Cons: It's a starting point rather than an entire toolkit. Expect to do more work on your own. Bottom Line: If you've got a clear idea of what you want your burgeoning organization to accomplish, but you just need some help with organizing and project management, then StratPad may be your ideal solution. Pros: Interview-based format. Useful graphics. Sample business plans.
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QuickBooks import. Cons: High degree of manual input and spreadsheet work needed. Unfortunately, that process is marred by the need for extensive manual data entry and spreadsheet work. Pros: Plenty of customization options. Excellent automation of variable data. Cons: Doesn't provide much guidance for some important elements including how to enter some required fields.
Not much help text provided for how to create missions and operations statements. While its help resources leave something to be desired, Enloop is a good choice for those with relatively simple planning needs.
LivePlan by Bplans.com asks you questions, you fill in the answers. It's really that simple.
Pros: International, multilingual approach. Simple user interface. Variety of currencies and templates. Cons: Rudimentary set of options. Limited flexibility. NET from NetEkspert is a fairly easy way to build a quick business plan, but the company seems more focused on helping consultants build plans for clients rather than on folks building business plans for their own use. On the other hand, fewer features mean a simple process and it's even got a fairly nice price.
Pros: Team-based collaborative approach to business planning. Ability to bring in outside parties through the portal.
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Detailed project and task management. Cons: Lacks templates for creating a business plan. But once you dig into it a bit, you'll find it's far more capable as an online collaboration and project management tool than simple document creation.
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Pros: Lots of opportunity to customize business plan elements. Cons: Not much education or encouragement about what to say in a business plan. You get good structure but little inspiration. Beginners or those looking for plan writing guidance will need to keep looking.
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The Best eLearning Authoring Tools of She is a product reviewer, and also a columnist for PCMag's Powercord editorial and event series, which is aimed at empowering women in the tech industry to connect with each other, further their careers, and even get VC funding for their startups.
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