Which business planning software to choose?
Definitely, the market is flooded and there are multiple alternatives to choose from. However, before we dive further into the subject, you need to know what you are buying.
Many business planning tools won’t have the exact features you need, and will not be the right fit for the business planning stage in which you are now.
Therefore, it is super-important to know how to choose the right tool on which your future business is depending on.
Using business planning software vs. hiring an agency
The most significant benefit of using business planning software is that it will save you a lot of time.
Also, good business planning software gives a step-by-step wizard to guide you through each component of your plan and advise you on including or excluding plan sections.
Another valuable feature of business planning software is that it allows multiple team members to contribute individually to the project. Also, it can help you with financial projections, like making a profit and loss statement or projecting cash flow.
Then, the total cost makes a huge difference between using business planning software and hiring an agency.
Hiring an agency to do the work will likely cost significantly more money. You can expect to pay anywhere from $600 to more than $5,000 for this service. At the same time, a monthly subscription to a web-based business planning software will cost you roughly $20- $40.
How does business planning software work?
Business planning software provides you with advanced tools to help you plan your future business. It walks you through every part of the business plan, ensuring that you know what’s important.
Using software makes it easy to input all information and financial data. Once all of your data is entered into the software, it can automatically turn it into a fully presentable document that provides you with a roadmap for how your business should be run and helps attract investors.
Most important features of a business planning software
Before deciding to purchase a business planning software, there are a few key features you want to make sure the selected software includes.
- One-page business plan
- Step-by-step business planning guide
- Financial forecast with automated calculations
- Business plan builder
- Pitch deck creator
- Tools to help validate your business idea (optional)
Here’s more about the specific features to look for in business planning software:
One-page business plan
It helps you design the basic business model on a single page, share it with others, and better understand your idea before going into details.
- Get an example from your industry
- Structure your idea in less than an hour
- Brainstorm it with others
Business guide for starting a business
The step-by-step planning guide takes you through sketching the concept, researching the market, finding out what’s required to set up your business, and forecast performance.
- Follow step-by-step guidance
- See the relevant examples
- Calculate profit and cash flow without being finance-savvy
- Get a 360-degree view of your idea
Financial planning tools automatically calculate your startup expenses, loan payments, profit margin, cash flow, and many other important business metrics.
- Make cash flow projections
- Prepare a profit and loss statement
- Get various financial calculators
The guided business plan builder
If the tool has a business plan builder, your entire startup journey will be documented in the business plan that you can further edit, export, and present to investors and partners.
- Generate a modern business plan
- Make unlimited edits
- Export and share with others
Pitch deck creator
The pitch deck creator helps you make a professional pitch deck quickly and easily using an intuitive pitch deck creator.
- Business pitch slides and presentation
- Business pitch template includes all critical slides to create a brief
- Present your business pitch online to anyone, anywhere, and at any time.
Idea validation tools
This tool guides you through the process that starts from an idea and typically ends with a paying customer. Idea validation points to expose the idea to the real world’s potential before building and releasing the final product or service.
- Get the feedback from your target group
- Evaluate your business concept
Business planning software: Pricing
The cost of business planning software can vary.
Primarily it depends on how it is hosted. You can pay smaller ongoing fees for web-based software or expensive one-time fees for a lifetime license for the software you download on your device.
Most business planning software offers web-based services that provide users the option of paying monthly or annually for this service.
If you choose month to month, expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $50. Making an annual payment can reduce those costs by 20-50%.
The total price might also depend on the number of plans you want to make, as well as the number of collaborators who will work with you on the project.
Why is web-based software a better solution?
If you go for traditional software that you download on your device. In that case, you will pay a higher one-time payment that can range anywhere from $200-$1,000, depending on the software.
The downside of it is that you can use it only on one device, and you won’t get it updated in real-time.
You also need to make sure the software is compatible with your device and operating system. Most of the business planning software is only available for Windows operating systems. If you use a Mac, you should choose a cloud-based option.
Either way, cloud-based pricing software is definitely a better solution, offering real-time updates and peace of mind regarding data security.
Select a tool based on your planning stage
Most people think business plans are just for startups, back up loan applications, or getting investors.
The truth is that business planning tools offer incredible benefits for everybody in the business, no matter what stage of development your business is.
The development stage is a famously tricky period in the life of any business, as the company’s founders must attempt to develop their business model despite relying on relatively meager and uncertain financial resources.
This is where business planning software can make a tremendous difference, and know what tool to use according to the stage in which your business is.
The business guide feature is useful for developing an idea after an initial assessment. It guides the user through all the steps that need to be covered. Who needs a business plan for investors and a bank loan needs a business plan builder tool.
Pitch creator is also useful for those in the final planning phase when you already have an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and want to present your product to investors.
Newest trends for business planning software
In light of rapid changes in the business landscape, some new trends emerged in the business planning software industry.
Here are a few trends that have the most potential in the future:
- One-page business plan tool – For quick idea realization and pitch presentation
- Collaboration feature – Enable teams to work together remotely
- Business planning guide – A complete guide on how to start a business from scratch
These are just some of the trends that we suggest you look for when choosing the right business planning software.
Read Also: Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
So, what business planning software you should choose?
When you select the right tool for you, it can give you guidance through all the stages between the basic concept and execution.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is to actually to try out the software and decide.
That’s why we suggest you go for IdeaBuddy since you can try it for 15 days for free.
Give yourself an extra boost by using IdeaBuddy to develop your idea in a structured way to double your odds of having a successful business.