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I won't lie, I was a little skeptical about a monthly subscription for business plan writing...
We all know the importance of a business plan...but, I needed to update my business plan and the software I bought years ago was nowhere to be found, so the search was on.
That's when I found LivePlan. I wasn't keen on paying a monthly subscription to write a plan, but it had a 60-day money back guarantee, so I figured 'why not?' and gave it a shot.
And since business plan software can range from about $60 to $200, I could easily take 3 or 4 months of service and still be even. So why not? I have nothing to lose.
This is a no BS review of LivePlan. I've read some of the others out there and they seem like straight sales-pitches. You'll see what I like and dislike about the service and I'll provide a link in case you decide to check it out.
Once you are done reading this, check out my article for a sample Real Estate Investing Business Plan. In it, I use this software to craft a quality business plan for a real estate investing business.
Since we are talking about business plan writing, and the pitch is an essential part of that, let's start off with PaloAlto's pitch, then let's see how my experience stacks up.
Let’s quickly break down this review so you can jump to the part that interests you the most.
Getting started with LivePlan is pretty simple. Once you are set up, it brings you to a screen where you can punch in the company basics.
You can choose how long to make the forecast for and how detailed you want it to be. I think this is great and pretty flexible for a variety of people.
Don’t worry though, you can go back and change any of these options at a later time.
I have to say, the pitch is my favorite part of LivePlan, which is why I’ll lead in with it.
The LivePlan Pitch is beautiful, easy, and easy to make. I also like how you can publish it to a unique url and allow potential investors or lenders check it out online. Here is the example Pitch on the LivePlan website.
You can also check out a pitch I made and posted in my article –
You can see how you punch in just a little information and LivePlan punches out an amazingly beautiful pitch that you can print, make into PowerPoint or publish online for free.
The first time I ever wrote a business plan was terrible. It took forever and I honestly hated every second of it.
Writing the plan with LivePlan was actually kind of fun.
There were good descriptions for every section, and it just pulls you along every step of the way.
There are instructions, video, and examples for every section to help you get through the writing process.
I thought forecasting was pretty straightforward. Punching in assets, monthly expenses, and incomes were all very simple and easy.
You simply click “add a revenue stream” or “expense” and follow the instructions. It walks you through the information you need and…then it auto fills your forecast accurately.
I’ve compiled a couple of the prompts together so you can get an idea of what it looks like.
I like how you can make it constant for something like rents or utilities, or make varying amounts over time.
Expenses can be made constant, variable by direct input, or directly related to a revenue stream. So, you can definitely account for variable costs and fixed costs.
LivePlan does differentiate between “direct costs” and other expenses. LivePlan calls Direct costs what many call “cost of goods sold” or COGS. Either way, it’s just how you account for costs that are related to quantity sold rather than other expenses.
One really cool feature about LivePlan is its integration with QuickBooks Online and Xero. Unfortunately, I don’t use QBO or Xero to test the integration. Everything else has functioned very well so far so I have no reason to doubt the quality.
I was able to get in and manually enter some forecasts though. Check out this video to get an idea how the Scoreboard works:
I must say that my favorite thing was the benchmarks.
For the first time ever I was able to see some of how other companies numbers look like. You can break it down by region, company size, and industry.
They literally have every industry, even something as niche as mine (small real estate investment companies in the North East).
So I’m back to the most important question – is it worth paying monthly for.
Well, it’s currently being promoted at 50% off, which is only $10. So…
My answer – Yes. Here is why:
I can say that I actually enjoyed using the software and I am really impressed by its functionality. I will enjoy using this software moving forward and trying to get some funding as well as tracking my business over time.
I ranked it on 4 categories:
The end results are amazingly beautiful. They look and feel like you think a business plan should.
I give this 5 stars.
The product is intuitive and easy to use. I think there are a few areas that could some minor improvements, but other people may disagree with that, since it’s more of a preference thing. So I gave that 4.5 stars.
This product has more features than any other software I’ve ever seen. The coolest part (to me) was the ability to track and compare to industry standards both nationally and by region.
This is by far a 5 star part of the software.
I struggled with this for a bit. Software of this quality would easily cost a few hundred dollars to purchase. It’s being sold for a very small fraction of what it’s worth.
But, it’s a subscription. Any business chooses this because they know a lot of people will pay more over the life of using it rather than just purchasing it up front.
So, balancing the two aspects of price, I came to a 4.5. 5 because it has a super low entry price and anyone can afford to use it, but it get’s balanced out by the fact that it’s a recurring payment (with no contract though).
Overall Score – 4.8 stars
If you are interested, you can check out LivePlan.
Do you have any experience with this software or other software? I’d like to hear your thoughts
Review of Liveplan
Liveplan is top-notch web-based business plan writing software. You can create excellent business plans, put them into PDFs, presentations, and even pull out just the pitch portion of the plan.
It is the best business plan software this author has ever used.
Eric is an investor that achieved financial independence at the age of 30. He started in 2009 with the purchase of his first triplex and now owns over 470 units. He spends his time with his family, growing his businesses, diversifying his income, and teaching others how to achieve financial independence through real estate. Eric has been seen on Forbes, Trulia, WiseBread, TheStreet, and other financial publications.
I started out as a full-time student, over $60,000 in debt, and didn't even have a full-time job (two part-time jobs). Learn the system I used to create a 6-figure passive income.
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