Creating a strategic plan is essential for any business to succeed, but the thought of writing one can be overwhelming and the process can be time-consuming. Luckily, there are now affordable and user-friendly planning platforms created with small to medium business owners in mind. Here are my top three recommended digital tools to create your next business plan.
Used by almost one million small and medium business owners, LivePlan is the most popular business planning tool on the market. Its step-by-step instructions and a user-friendly design make it easy to map out your business’s goals and complete a thorough business analysis. A LivePlan subscription comes with a library of over 500 business plan templates from different industries, which makes it easy to find an existing template to match your business’s needs. The best part of LivePlan is its simple and efficient budgeting and financial forecasting tools that prioritize clear presentation and involve no math or complex spreadsheets. The platform also encourages collaboration amongst team members while ensuring necessary privacy – it’s easy for multiple people to work collaboratively on a plan while restricting different users’ access to certain modules. A LivePlan subscription ranges from $15 to $20 a month.
Pitching to investors, friends or family? Cuttles is a Denmark-based company that markets itself as the platform for dreamers and entrepreneurs. The platform’s Startup Builder guides users through each step from planning to presentation. Once you create your overall business plan, you’ll start to create a detailed roadmap with a timeline to ensure your business goals are on track. Cuttles library is full of beautiful and design-savvy business templates. so you’ll be proud to show it to friends, family and future investors. In addition to the planning software, Cuttles offers a Startup Learning Academy that provides free online courses like ‘How to Plan a Pre-Launch’ and ‘How to Develop Key Metrics’. Cuttles monthly memberships range from $20 to $60. You can also try it for 14 days free.
If you’re toying with launching a new service offering or product, IdeaBuddy is the tool to quickly validate and test its success. Taking you from concept to completion, IdeaBuddy is intended to be used by future entrepreneurs and small business owners. The platform’s cool and unique ‘Story Mode Feature’ guides customers through a five-stage business planning process so there’s no need to be afraid of customer profiling, process work or financials. You can also share your concept with others to get feedback to get an ‘Idea Score’ so you can determine if you truly want to take it to market. Monthly prices range from $20 to $50, but you can try a free 15-day trail at any time.
It’s time to start planning. Studies show that businesses with plans grow 30% faster than the ones that do not. With these easy-to-use platforms you don’t have an excuse. Get started with one of the free trials today!
Linley McConnell is the sales and marketing manager of Gibson's Cleaners in Toronto. She can be reached at email@example.com. She writes on industry issues from a Third Generation perspective.