Business PlanPalo Alto Software
Here at Palo Alto Software, our goal is to help small business succeed. We believe that small businesses are the engine of our economy and that if we can help more companies survive and thrive, we will all be better off. After all, we're a small business ourselves and we understand what it takes to start from zero, with no outside investment, and build a company from 1 to 50 employees. We understand that challenge, and we also know what it takes to be successful. We are committed to providing that knowledge, experience and expertise to as many other small businesses are possible.
The world’s leading business plan software, built for entrepreneurs like you: Pitch, Plan, and Track Your Business. Anywhere.
Meet the LivePlan toolset — the features that reinvented the business plan.
1. Easy Financials:
Easy, Error-Free Financials Guaranteed:
LivePlan makes it easy to put together your financial projections. Your knowledge about your business combined with LivePlan's powerful forecasting tools will create a bulletproof business plan.
Built-in Formulas Make The Financials Simple:
Write your whole plan without ever having to look at a spreadsheet. LivePlan simply asks you questions about your business and you plug in the answers. The calculations are done behind the scenes. Our team has a combined 50 years of experience creating business plans and business planning software, so you can trust LivePlan to do the math for you.
Llustrate Your Financials with Automatic Charts:
Visuals make your plan easier to digest. So LivePlan creates your charts based on the financial information you've already input. LivePlan's automatic charts will make your plan look great and save you a ton of time.
Full Financials for a Complete Business Plan:
LivePlan includes all the financial tables a lender or investor expects to see, all linked together for you. You input your data, and it's pulled into the right table automatically. You'll create an error-free plan in less time than you thought possible.
Compare Your Plan to Companies Just Like Yours:
We create an automatic report of your key business numbers and compare them to industry averages from companies just like yours. We explain each number and how to improve yours. And when you’re up and running, you can also compare your actual performance against the performance of similar companies so you know exactly what you need to do to grow your business.
Include Just the Information You Need:
You have complete control over your plan. Maybe you only need to forecast sales and expenses and don't want to worry about cash flow right now. Or maybe you want multiple years' worth of monthly data. No problem. With a few simple settings, you can easily choose the level of detail to include in your plan. And you can always go back and change it to adjust your plan for any audience.
Create a Long-Term Plan:
A typical business plan looks three years into the future, but if you need a longer-range plan it's simple to create one. LivePlan lets you include five full years of projections, which you can include in your appendix, so you can show investors or lenders exactly how your business will grow.
Build Your Plan for Your National Market:
No matter what country you live in, you can use LivePlan to write your business plan. You can set your income tax rates (GST, VAT, Sales tax) to your national rate. You can also set the currency to reflect your national currency. And don't worry, you can update your tax rates and currency at any time during your plan if required.
2. Impressive Plans:
Impress Lenders with a Professional Business Plan:
LivePlan gives you all the tools you need to create an accurate, complete, great-looking business plan.
Top-Notch Printed Documents:
You need to put your best foot forward when you present your plan, so LivePlan produces professional, printed plans that will impress any audience. Simply download your plan as a PDF to print or share, or export it to your favorite word processing program to give it some final polish. Your business plan will look like it was created by a professional business plan writer.
The Format Lenders Expect:
Banks, investors, and SBA-approved lenders look at a lot of business plans. If yours doesn't fit the standard format, you might get stuck at the bottom of the pile. After 15+ years in the business planning business, we know what lenders are looking for in a business plan. When you use LivePlan, your plan will meet those standards.
Choose From 10 Document Themes:
When your business plan gets dressed up for the big event, it deserves to have options. That's why, we've created document themes.
The way we do the math, 10 professional designs for your business plan gives you 10x the number of opportunities to make the right impression. Try them all and choose the one that will help your plan stand out to lenders, investors, and in business plan competitions.
Note: themes are currently limited to printing using PDF export
Easy Export to Microsoft Word:
With one click, you can export your plan to Microsoft® Word. Add a flashy cover page or images of your products. Make all the text green and pink if you want to (we don't recommend it, but you can do it). It's easy to make your plan look exactly how you want it to look.
Personalize Your Plan for Your Business:
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and so do business plans. That's why LivePlan makes it easy for you to add, subtract, rename, and rearrange the components of your plan to suit your particular situation. Far from a cookie-cutter business plan, you'll create a truly unique plan that's just right for your business.
3. Samples and Examples:
Real Business Plans to Inspire You:
If you're new to business planning, it can be really helpful to see some samples before you start writing your own plan. That's why LivePlan includes an extensive library of real sample business plans.
Save Time and Get Inspired with Over 500 Sample Plans Included:
Read through as many plans as you like to see how it's done and get inspired. And if you really want to, you can even copy and paste sections to use in your own plan.
We've collected these sample plans over 15+ years, most through generous donations from happy customers who used our software and wanted to share their successful plans with others.
Plus Plenty of Examples Built In
In addition to all the complete sample plans, LivePlan includes example content for every text item in your business plan. Browse through a few examples to get an idea how others have worded their Executive Summary, for instance. Find an example that really works for you? One click adds it right into your plan. Then you can personalize it to fit your business and move on to the next task.
4. Build Your Pitch:
Pitch Your Business on a Single Page:
The #1 goal of a pitch is to get the right people excited about your business. A solid pitch helps entrepreneurs demonstrate experience and capabilities, determine the viability of a business idea, quickly gain valuable feedback, and stand out from the crowd.
Easily Build a one-page Pitch:
Quickly and easily build a one-page infographic that visually represents your business opportunity. Share your professional pitch page with lenders, investors, business partners or advisers, and tell the story of your business.
Your Pitch Will Allow You to Highlight:
- Company summary
- Market problem
- Sales channels
- Marketing activities
- Target market and segmentation
- Market size
- Competitive advantage
- Funding needs
- Big picture financial projections
- Key milestones
- Team members and advisers
Refine Your Business Model:
The LivePlan Pitch feature is a core tenet of LivePlan’s Lean Planning methodology that combines elements of the Lean Startup movement and the best parts of the traditional business planning process.
Lean Planning encourages early-stage startups to stay nimble and adaptive by building a business model and a financial forecast that can be easily measured, tracked, and refined. The LivePlan Pitch helps startups refine a business model quickly and easily as you validate core assumptions.
Make Your 60 Seconds Count:
You’ve probably heard of an elevator pitch, but do you have one? The LivePlan Pitch helps you communicate the value of your business in as little as 60 seconds. It’s the easiest way to highlight the most important parts of your business on a single page.
Share Your Pitch and Get Noticed:
Your business is unique, so why not share your business opportunity in a unique format.
You can easily share a customized web link that we provide for you, or invite others to view your pitch in your LivePlan account via a secure login.
5. Expert Guidance:
Created by Experts for Expert Results:
LivePlan isn't just another product created by a giant software publishing house. It's the next generation in our line of business planning products that have helped small business owners and entrepreneurs for over 15 years.
Expert Guidance at Every Step:
LivePlan provides tons of built-in guidance, including video instructions from renowned business planning expert Tim Berry. You might not be familiar with his name, but Tim literally wrote the book on business planning (The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan), and it's included with your LivePlan subscription.
With LivePlan, you get the peace of mind and the professional plan that you'd expect from working with a planning consultant. Without having to pay consulting fees.
You don't have to know everything about business planning to get your plan done. LivePlan is packed with easy-to-follow instructions, helpful advice, and additional reading (if you want to dive even deeper). You get to focus on what you know best — your business — while LivePlan provides the support you need to turn your great ideas into a great business plan.
We’ll Make Sure You’ve Got the Numbers Right:
Before you take your plan to the bank, we’ll compare your numbers to other businesses in your industry and your location to make sure you’re on track. We’ll tell you exactly where you might have a problem and exactly how to fix it.
Best-selling Planning Book Included:
The PDF version of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan is included with LivePlan. It details Tim Berry's no-nonsense approach to business planning, helping you break away from cookie-cutter business plans to embrace an easier, more practical plan that will evolve with your business.
Video Instructions and Tutorials:
Create the best possible plan for your business by watching Tim Berry's planning tutorials. Originally created for the Small Business Administration, the tutorials break planning into manageable pieces and help you understand the principles behind the process.
Legal Advice and Forms:
From choosing a legal structure to understanding trademark basics to a collection of ready-to-use legal forms, LivePlan includes additional resources to help you succeed.
The Marketing Expertise You Need:
You'll find tons of helpful marketing tips and guidance built right into LivePlan, including a valuable ebook from John Jantsch, of Duct Tape Marketing fame.
6. Access Anywhere:
Everywhere You Go, Your Plan is There:
At home, at the office, on the road...
Regardless of where you are or what computer you're using, LivePlan is there. When you want to work on your business plan, log in from any modern Internet browser - Internet Explorer, Safari, FireFox, and Chrome are fully supported.
Works on Macs or PCs:
It doesn't matter if you use a PC at the office and a Mac at home, or both. You can access LivePlan on any and all the computers you own or work on, including your iPad. It's the beauty of online business planning software - it works on any computer, everywhere there's an Internet connection.
Team Up with Colleagues Across Town or Across the Globe:
Because your business plan is online, you and your partners can work on your plan from anywhere.
7. Team Collaboration:
Business Planning for Teams:
Share your workload by having colleagues work with you on your business plan or give an advisor access to provide feedback and guidance. With LivePlan, you don't have to plan alone.
Truly Easy Collaboration:
Finally, it's easy to collaborate on a plan with your partner or team. No more emailing files back and forth or losing one person's changes because you accidentally saved over them. And forget having to figure it all out by yourself because of a restrictive software license. LivePlan makes business planning a team activity.
You Choose who Sees What:
If you've got several versions of your business plan, or multiple partners and multiple different plans, it's easy to manage permissions. Allow specific collaborators to see and work on only the plans you want them to see. The plan owner decides who can access what, on a plan-by-plan basis.
Get comments and Advice From Your Team:
You don't have to give somebody access to edit your plan to get their insights. Invited users can comment on any section of a plan. You get feedback that you can implement (or ignore) without worrying about somebody actually changing the work you've done.
Share with Advisors or Investors:
Say you want advice from your accountant. Give him instant access by inviting him right from your laptop or even your smart phone. Meet a potential investor at a networking event? She can be reading your plan and thinking about investing in your business — in minutes. You can invite unlimited readers to view your plan — for free! And don't worry, you can take access away from any guest, at any time.
8. Tracks Your Progress:
The Insights You Need to Grow your Business:
Connect LivePlan to QuickBooks or Xero accounting software and get instant insights that will help you grow your business, starting today.
Track Your Progress:
Once you’ve forecast your revenue goals and created a budget for your business, the next step is track your progress towards those goals. LivePlan connects to your QuickBooks or Xero accounting data so you can see how your actual performance matches up with your expectations. Get the instant updates you need to stay on track with your financial plan.
Make Better Decisions:
Don’t let your key business numbers stay buried in your accounting system. LivePlan gives you easy-to-understand insights for your key business numbers so you know what you need to do to grow your business. Do you need to charge more? Should you collect money faster? How are your profits? LivePlan makes those decisions easy.
Know How You Stack up Against the Competition:
With LivePlan, you can see at-a-glance how you compare to companies just like yours. Tell us your industry and location, and we’ll tell you if you’re doing better or worse than your competition and how you can improve. These kinds of insights are critical to growing your business.
Plan and Forecast in Real-Time:
The Scoreboard empowers you to quickly and easily maximize profit centers within your business; identify and correct loss centers; and adjust payables and receivables (e.g., payment schedules, contract terms) in order to improve your business’ overall financial performance.
Comparing your sales and expenses to your budget, last month’s performance, and last year’s data is a time consuming and frustrating process. LivePlan lets you skip the spreadsheets and hard-to-read reports from your accounting system. Instead, you get great-looking, useful reports that help you grow your business.
Share your reports with your business partners, investors, and other advisors. They’ll thank you!
Access Key Quick Books or Xero Data Anytime, from Anywhere:
If your company uses QuickBooks Online (QBO), QuickBooks for Windows, or Xero, you probably know what a hassle it is to get at that valuable data. It’s locked up on someone’s computer and hard to access from elsewhere. With LivePlan, you can bring your QuickBooks or Xero data automatically into the Scoreboard and see how your business is doing from any computer with Internet access.
9. Safe and Secure:
Your Data Security is Our Top Priority:
We do everything possible to keep all your data safe and private. We'll never lose it, sell it, or let it be compromised.
We understand how important your personal information is to you and we are committed to keeping it strictly confidential. Your privacy is not for sale. We will never sell, rent, or otherwise abuse the private information you have trusted us with.
The Most Trusted Name in Business Planning for Over 15 Years:
For over 15 years, business owners all over the world have trusted Palo Alto Software. They've used our software to write their plans and we've protected over a hundred thousand business plans on our secure servers. You can count on us.
We use the same security and safety measures as the world's top financial institutions and undergo regular security audits to ensure that our service is as safe as it can possibly be, at all times.
All account and plan data is written to multiple disks instantly, backed up daily, and stored in multiple locations. The servers we use take advantage of the most modern techniques to remove bottlenecks and points of failure.
Automatic Saving and Backups:
Your plan is saved automatically every few seconds, so you don't have to worry about losing data. Ever. Power outage while you're working on your plan? No sweat, your plan's backed up. Stolen laptop? At least they won't get your plan files. Virus wipes out your hard drive? Rest easy knowing that your business plan isn't at risk.
Investor-Ready Business Plans:
One of our happy customers summed our offering up right: “LivePlan is like hiring an expert consultant combined with a professional designer coupled with a financial wizard.” Here’s the guarantee: your plan’s financials tables and charts will be error-free and your final plan will look polished, customized to your needs, and ready to impress investors, business partners, banks and SBA-lenders.
Modern, Intuitive Interface:
We’ve learned a few things over our 15-year history designing the #1-selling, business-planning software for small businesses. With LivePlan, we’ve taken all of the friction out of the equation allowing you to move seamlessly and intuitively from section to section, allowing your ideas to come to the forefront. Plus, there are helpful videos and examples every step of the way.
Tracks Day-to-Day Performance:
LivePlan’s Scoreboard feature is a visually-and-information rich business dashboard that keeps your finger on the pulse of the health of your business, highlighting the most crucial information you need to track in your business. It syncs in real-time with QuickBooks and Xero accounting software, making Excel and cumbersome reports a thing of the past. Know exactly how your business is doing and create impressive progress reports in minutes when you use LivePlan.
500+ Sample Plans Included:
Get inspired and keep writer’s block at bay with our included gallery of over 500 example business plans spanning all major industries. With LivePlan, you can save hundreds of hours using our sample plans as a starting point for your own plan, customizing for your business as you go.
Compare your Business to your Competition:
With LivePlan, you can compare your plan (and your actual performance) to real businesses just like yours. This ensures that you have an accurate and realistic plan when you are building your budgets, and helps you stay on track once you are up and running.
Everything below is included:
- Automatic Financials: No hassling with formulas. Financial tables, charts, and reports automatically created
- Step by Step Instruction: Fill-in-the-blank simplicity walks you through entire process beginning to end
- 500+ Sample Plans : 500+ sample business plans covering all industries to defeat writer’s block
- Expert Advice: Expert video tutorials and definition of key terms from renowned business plan expert
- SBA-Approved Form: Produces lender-approved, professional, visually impressive documents
- One-Page Pitch: Build an infographic executive summary for quick pitching
- Performance Dashboards: Visual dashboards for real-time tracking against budgets and sales goals
- QuickBooks & Xero Integration: Real-time syncing with your accounting software for at-a-glance reports
- Access Anywhere, Anytime: Update your plan and track your business health from anywhere with internet
- Customizable Themes: Choose from 10 different eye-catching, professional themes when you print or export your plan
- Export Your Plan: Export your business plan at anytime to Powerpoint, Word or PDF format
- Collaboration Tools: Collaborate easily across your team. Share plans securely with partners and investors
- Multiple Plans: Supports working on multiple business plans
- Benchmark Data: Find out how your company is doing compared to others in like industry, size, or locale
- Milestones: Create milestones for the key events in your plan and start tracking your progress
- Multi-Device: We’re cloud-based so PCs, Macs, and tablets are all welcome
- Expert Toll-Free Support: Phone, email, and chat support
- Secure & Confidential: Your business data is complete locked down and safe. Guaranteed