In this article, we will compare the two leading cloud based business plan software options: LivePlan & Enloop. Both will enable you to create a professional business plan, including charts and spreadsheets with financial projections. Also included in the comparison table is the free SBA Business Plan tool for those needing a basic plan. Ultimately, we recommend LivePlan as the best business plan software for small business owners because it offers the most features and sample business plans to help you get started.
Best Business Plan Software: LivePlan
We chose LivePlan as the best business plan software because they have more features and functionality than their competitors, including a large library of sample business plans. While LivePlan is a bit costlier than Enloop, this is one case where the extra few dollars are worth it. At Fit Small Business, we have used LivePlan software ourselves to create a business plan, and it was the most user-friendly software out of everything we tested.
Best Business Plan Software Summary Table
$140/yr if paid annually or $19.95/mo. if paid monthly
$132/yr if paid annually or $19.95/mo. if paid monthly
None, but few examples sprinkled throughout
Easy to Build Financial Projections
Yes (up to 5 year projections)
Yes (up to 3 year projections)
No (manual input)
Business Plan Can be Easily Shared
Yes (unlimited recipients)
Yes (up to 5 recipients in Advanced edition)
Business Plan Can be Easily Customized
Yes, but limited.
Phone, email, and live chat support
Email support (only in Advanced edition)
Why We Chose LivePlan as the Best Business Plan Software
Liveplan takes the tedious, intimidating process of creating a business plan and makes it interactive, easy, and dare we say it, fun. LivePlan costs a bit more than its leading competitor Enloop, but it provides much more functionality and help in building a business plan. Here are the main differences:
- LivePlan provides 500+ industry specific business templates. Enloop doesn’t.
- LivePlan provides video tutorials for each section of the business plan. Enloop doesn’t.
- LivePlan provides the ability to customize financial projections. Enloop limits financial projections to 3 years.
- LivePlan provides the ability to collaborate with co-founders and employees in real time to create the plan. After the plan is created, you can easily share with business partners, lenders, angel investors, and VCs. While Enloop provides this functionality, the Advance edition limits the number of people that can participate to 5. For unlimited collaborators, you have to pay more on Enloop than you would pay for LivePlan.
- As users of LivePlan ourselves, what we like most about it is how user friendly it is. There are simple drag and drop content blocks, and you can customize different sections of your plan. Enloop has more limited customizability.
In sum, LivePlan is leaps and bounds ahead of competitors, making it the best business plan software for small businesses. Even if you know nothing about creating a business plan right now, using LivePlan you should be able to complete something like this.
Enloop: Good for businesses on a budget
We think Enloop falls short of its competitor LivePlan for the reasons mentioned above, but it does have two primary benefits:
- Enloop has a free plan that is good for small businesses on a budget that need a simple business plan. The free plan is very bare bones (e.g. no collaboration with multiple people), but LivePlan does not have a free option.
- As you’re creating your business plan, Enloop will give your business an Enloop Performance Score (EPS). EPS is a guide to follow to make sure you are creating a professional plan that will be presentable to lenders, investors, and other third parties.
If you need basic free software or the scoring feature, consider using Enloop.
SBA Business Plan Tool: Good for those who don’t need much guidance
The SBA also has free business plan software. It’s even more basic than Enloop’s free plan. There’s no collaboration, no simple way to make financial projections, and just 3-4 examples to follow as you’re going along. In addition, one of the main benefits of the other two products is that the business plan adjusts in real time as you add or edit financial information. This is not available with the SBA’s free tool. The SBA tool is really designed for those business owners who don’t need much guidance or collaboration in creating their plan and just need a forum for typing in data and making a professional-looking plan.
Another option is to use a business plan writing service, through which a professional will write your business plan for you. These are typically more expensive, but worth considering if you would like to take a hands-off approach. You can read more in our complete guide to business plan writing services.
In-Depth Review and Comparison: LivePlan vs. Enloop vs. SBA Plan
The two leading providers of business plan software–LivePlan and Enloop–both offer annual and month-to-month pricing. Both charge the exact same price when purchasing the product month to month, $19.95. Annual pricing means that as a buyer you are committed to paying for at least one year of the service up front. Both firms provide deep discounts on annual pricing. LivePlan charges $140 per year, and Enloop charges $132 per year, which works out to $11.66 per month and $11 per month respectively.
Most small business owners think that they will create a business plan just once and never need it again, so they choose month-to-month pricing. However, business plans aren’t just needed when you’re trying to raise venture capital or get a loan. They are also a good way to gather your own thoughts about the business and are a great way to forecast and manage growth.
Industry Specific Business Plan Samples
A business plan for a nail salon should look different than a business plan for an accounting firm. However, what should the differences be? To answer this question, you have to have knowledge of both how business plans work in general and the specifics of each industry. The only product offering that can help you create the right business plan for your industry is LivePlan, and that’s one of the main reasons we choose them as the best business plan software. They have over 500 industry specific business plan samples. While you shouldn’t get too hung up on emulating a sample business plan, it does help to have some guidance as to how your plan should look.
Easy Financial Projections
The section of the business plan that generally causes the greatest heartburn is financial projections. It’s essential that you make at least 3-5 years of financial projections. LivePlan, Enloop, and the SBA’s Business Plan tool all enable you to present historical financial data and build financial projections without having to have a background in accounting. They calculate key financial ratios which investors and lenders will be interested in. LivePlan is still the clear winner here because it lets you project up to 5 years (Enloop is limited to 3) and pulls numbers from QuickBooks or other accounting software that you might use.
Sharable Business Plans
You can create a great, professional looking business plan to share with angel investors, VCs, or bankers with both LivePlan and Enloop. The presentation can artfully include a company’s logo and charts which cleanly display financial data. If you don’t want the business plan out in the public or want to get feedback first from business partners or employees, both companies allow you to send visitors a link and password to the business plan.
Customizable Business Plans
Business plans are not made to be one size fits all. While there are certain sections that are common to all business plans, every business will have different areas of emphasis or want to arrange the sections of their plan in a slightly different way. LivePlan is the best business plan software when it comes to easy customization, and Enloop comes in second. SBA’s free tool allows no customization.
Finally, we looked at customer service in evaluating business plan software. Since the process of creating a business plan can seem overwhelming at times, it’s good to have someone you can reach out to with questions. LivePlan has the best accessibility to support.
There is a clear winner in the business plan software space, and it’s LivePlan. We recommend LivePlan as the best business plan software because it offers more features and functionality for your dollar than the competitors. After using LivePlan ourselves at Fit Small Business, we have found that it makes the process of writing a business plan simple and even fun.