No matter what stage of your entrepreneurship journey you’re at – whether you’ve only just decided to make the leap or are a full-fledged business superstar – it’s essential to have a well-thought-out plan for where you and your company are heading.
Luckily, the internet is full of handy tools that can help you create and structure your business plan. Rather than resorting to guessing, with these tools you’ll know exactly what should go into your plan and in what order.
Some tools are for small businesses, others for
Business Plan Pro
This tool is specifically aimed at helping people who are just getting started with their plan. It takes you through the process step-by-step.
We like this tool because it lets you update your plan whenever you need, so when things take a different turn, you can make changes right away. After all, there are always unforeseen situations!
On top of that, you can download a PDF version of your plan to refer back to easily. That way, you can have a clear vision of where you’ve been and where you’re going to.
Another tool aimed specifically at small business owners, so you can get everything just right, this one lets you create a business plan with tons of detail included. Once it’s done, you can export it to PDF or Word.
One element that makes GoSmallBiz different from other business planning tools is that it offers lots of mentoring and advice from experts. That means you can get tips on what might be a helpful next time, and reassurance when you’re not sure where to go. The tool is also really easy to use, which is always appreciated.
A popular choice among all sorts of businesses, from startups to big-name brands, LivePlan is not only really user-friendly but it also has tons of tools that can help you perfect your plan. For creating the business plan itself, the software offers a simple step-by-step approach.
Once you’ve created it, there are lots of bonuses here. For instance, you can use LivePlan’s financial services, which give you automatic predictions for where your business will be five years from now. This makes it quick to get a snapshot of your financial situation.
LivePlan uses a subscription service, where you can choose whether to pay annually or monthly. But if you’re not ready to splash out the cash right away, they offer a 60 day free trial period.
If you’re a freelancer, OnePlace is a good choice to cover your business planning needs. This tool’s standout feature is that it shows you how much time you spent on a task. Then, it calculates the effort you have leftover – in other words, the effort you can put towards growing your business further.
Another nice feature is that they work from a freemium model, meaning that the basic features can be free to use. Of course, if you pay a bit, you get a bit more, but freelancers will appreciate the chance to test out the tool to see if it’s a good fit for their needs.
If you’ve got a strong head for numbers, PlanGuru might just be the business plan tool for you. This one is great for people whose focus is on the budget and financial future of their companies. It’s packed full of analytics features to help you figure out what’s working and what you can improve.
Because it’s got a financial emphasis, it works with QuickBooks so you can get an overall picture of what’s happening when it comes to the cold, hard numbers. PlanGuru might be a little bit intimidating if you’re not familiar with financial reporting, but if you are, it can yield lots of invaluable information.
Are you looking for a business plan you can customise to your heart’s desire? You might want to take a look at Enloop. This tool lets you create your business plan quickly and add in lots of custom information. It works best for simple plans, and it also automates some of your data to take some of the work off your hands.
In other words, you add in the information, and the program will do some of the work for writing your plan.
The Business Plan Shop
For those of you who’ve written a business plan before or are clear about what you’d like to say in yours, The Business Plan Shop is a handy tool for you. What it really helps you with here is structuring your overall plan, and then customising it to your specific needs.
This tool might not be the right fit for you if you need a bit more support figuring out what to write in your plan. But if you do have a clear idea, it’s simple and has a great structure to work with. The overall plan you can create with this tool is geared towards making your business plan ready for investors. Test it out with a 7-day trial if you’d like to see if it’s the right option for you.
This tool belongs to Startups.co, giving you a clue as to what sort of businesses this tool is helpful for. One thing we love about Bizplan is how user-friendly it is to work with, making it a breeze to get started. It offers tons of online tools geared directly to startup founders.
The plans you get have instantly comprehensible graphs and charts to help you visualise the information you need to help your startup hit the big time. It also has a handy guided business plan creator, which is helpful as it gives you small sections to work with at a time. Rather than having to tackle an entire plan at once, you can go in bite-sized pieces.
BizPlan may not offer as many integrations as other platforms that have been around for longer, but it is growing quickly, so we’re expecting to see lots more in the future. They currently count 30,000 startup founders among their users – and growing!
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