The best free small business software in 2024

Two orange people icons on a light orange background with a dotted line behind it.

Whether you find them on basic cable or on your parents' Facebook timelines, the top-rated personal finance gurus all agree: free is good. Especially if you're launching a new business venture. To get your company off the ground, you'll need to make every inch of your runway count, which is why free business software can be an attractive—even necessary—option.

It's fair to be worried about quality. Free apps for business often mean undeletable watermarks that ruin your branding or unreliable functionality that can toss a wrench into your workflows at any moment. But if you know which apps to use and how to use them, free doesn't have to mean cut-rate. 

In fact, the right free small business app can give you the power to pull off a successful launch, and then scale up as your margins allow you to grow. Or, when the time's right, you can simply jump ship to another platform that makes more sense for your expanding business needs. 

To do that, you'll first need a solid start that won't bust your bottom line. Here's a roundup of the best free small business software. Since every business has different needs, I'll introduce you to categories of apps you should consider when putting together your small business tech stack, suggest apps along the way, and link you to more top apps within that category.

The best free software for small businesses

Free email marketing services

Free website builders

Free project management software

Free survey tools and form builders

Free graphic design software

Free keyword research tools

Free timesheet software

Free invoicing software

How we evaluate and test apps

Our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. Unless explicitly stated, we spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog .

The best free software for small businesses at a glance 

Free crm software like engagebay.

EngageBay, our pick for the best free lead generation software.

Any successful business is going to need to nurture its client relationships . Some of those relationships, if you haven't noticed, can be high-maintenance. You have to update prospects, coordinate your outreach, manage sales, provide customer support—the list goes on. To help you keep all those workflows humming, you need a CRM .

Don't be fooled into thinking that the high demands of customer relationship management mean high costs, though. EngageBay , for example, gives you the power to manage up to 250 contacts at no cost. Its free tier also includes a ton of useful features like a visual sales pipeline, a full marketing suite, a customer service suite, and live chat.

You can even use Zapier to connect EngageBay with your other apps to automate your business-critical workflows. Learn more about how to automate EngageBay , or get started with one of these workflows.

Add new EngageBay Marketing contacts to Google Sheets as rows

EngageBay Marketing logo

Add new EngageBay contacts from Typeform form

Typeform logo

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button. It only takes a few minutes to set up. You can read more about setting up Zaps here .

For more options, check out this list of the best free CRM software .

Once you've picked your free CRM software, use CRM automation to effortlessly manage leads and contacts, streamline your marketing campaigns, and support internal communications.

Free email marketing services like MailerLite

MailerLite, our pick for the best free email marketing services.

You won't have many customers to manage if you can't get your message across to your prospects. No need for billboards or skywriting—or even a fancy pay-per-click marketing platform . Instead, you can start with a free email service like MailerLite . Its free options include pre-designed content blocks that deliver dynamic, text- and image-rich content to your leads' inboxes. You can even include product details, embedded videos, blog posts, and RSS feeds—all for free.

MailerLite also integrates with Zapier, making it easy to automate your email workflows. Learn more about how to automate MailerLite , or kickstart your workflow with one of these Zap templates. 

Create/update MailerLite subscribers from new Squarespace form submissions

Squarespace logo

Create or update MailerLite subscribers from new Webflow form submissions

Webflow logo

Beyond MailerLite, here are Zapier's other picks for the best free email marketing apps . 

No matter which app you choose, automating your email marketing helps ensure the right message is always getting to the right person at the right time, taking care of the important but repetitive work of managing subscriptions, segmenting subscribers, personalizing messages, and re-engaging cold leads. 

Free website builders like Wix

Wix, our pick for the best free website builder.

Once you've attracted attention with your dazzling email marketing, you'll need a place to send all that traffic. You can try to cut corners with that friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who builds websites on the side until their pro League of Legends career takes off. Or you can opt for a more reliable, still affordable option by going with a website building platform. 

These apps, even in their free tiers, are customizable and easy to use—no coding required—allowing you to build a dynamic web presence that won't get buried in search engine results.

Take Wix as an example. It has an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that allows you to build a site using one of over 300 template designs that best match your business. Include a blog, live chat, forms, or even an online store. You'll also get predictive text when building your pages, as well as marketing integrations, SEO ranking assistance, and more—all for free.   

Learn more about how to automate Wix with Zapier , or get started with one of these pre-made workflows.

Add or update Mailchimp subscribers when a new Wix Form is submitted

Wix logo

Send private channel messages in Slack for new forms in Wix

Slack logo

And to explore your options, here are more of the best free website builders .

Free project management software like Trello

business planning software free download

When looking at free software for small businesses, you need to think about your internal operations, too. For all your core processes, it's about organized projects that are planned and executed with maximum efficiency. 

To help pull that off, you can use a project management tool. Once again, free is a price point that provides you with more functionality than you might expect. An app like Trello offers a free tier that gives you up to ten Kanban boards per workspace, countless template options, and unlimited users, so you can keep using it even as your team grows.

Connect Trello to Zapier to streamline your project management workflows even more. Learn more about how to automate Trello , or use one of these workflows to get started. 

Create Trello cards from new Google Forms responses

Google Forms logo

Create Trello cards from new rows on Google Sheets

If Trello isn't right for you, check out Zapier's picks for the best free project management software .

Free survey tools and form builders like Google Forms

Google Forms, our pick for the best free survey tools and form builders.

To make your business more relevant to current and prospective customers, you need to know what they want in the first place—or, at the very least, who they are. Once you have a budget, you can invest in complex market research surveys and customer feedback software. Until then, free survey tools and form builders will get the job done. These powerful platforms can help you register subscribers, segment audiences, collect lead data, and much more—again, for free.

Google Forms is unique in that it's all free. If you have a Google account, you can use all its features , including unlimited forms, questions, and submissions—not to mention collaboration options, customizable templates, and visualized data in the form of lists, charts, and graphs. 

Learn more about how to automate Google Forms with Zapier . These pre-made workflows are also a good place to start. 

Send new Google Forms responses to Notion databases

Notion logo

Share Google Forms responses in a Slack channel

And here are your other options for the best survey tools and form builders .

Once you've picked your app, gathering form responses is one thing—doing something about it is another. Follow up with respondents faster , add customers to your CRM, and track user feedback with automation. 

Free graphic design and photo editing software like Canva

Canva, our pick for the best free graphic design and photo editing software.

You're likely already thinking about (or using) social media as a way to keep in touch and nurture customer relationships. More than just collecting likes and hearts, the right social media presence can boost customer engagement and drive traffic to your door. 

That kind of dynamic profile doesn't just happen, though. It takes creative vision and savvy planning. One thing it doesn't have to take: money. As you're getting started, take inspiration from others who've been able to make the most of social media without a budget .    

The main thing that can drain your budget is visuals. But there are plenty of apps that help you get brand-aligned graphics for free. Canva , for example, is a powerful design tool that gives you the power to create brand visuals for free . Craft logos, website banners, profile pics, and headers to create a consistent and eye-catching brand identity. It also offers a limited selection of high-quality free stock photos. If those aren't cutting it, though, consider taking advantage of free stock photo sites . 

If Canva doesn't fit the bill, here's Zapier's list of the best free graphic design software . Or, if you have original images that you want to tweak and share instead, check out this list of the best free photo editors .

Then, equipped with a library of beautifully designed graphics, use automation to share your content across social media , keep your followers in the loop, and track your profile performance.  

Free keyword research tools like Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer, our pick for the best free keyword research tool.

Another way to make sure your business is doing all it can to attract leads is keyword research. Finding out exactly how your prospects are searching for you (or your competitors) will help you make the most of your search engine ranking and keep you off that dreaded second page of results.

There are a number of free keyword research tools that can take that work off your plate. Moz Keyword Explorer is one, providing you with easy-to-grasp metrics that will help you fine-tune your web presence for maximum exposure. Generate a priority score that lets you know whether or not a keyword is worth including in your content. You'll also get a keyword gap feature that shows you all the keywords your competitors rank for that you don't.

For more options, check out the best free keyword research tools . 

F ree timesheet software like Toggl Track

Toggl Track, our pick for the best free timesheet software.

If you're employing others, timesheet apps are an indispensable tool for equitable resource allocation, transparent invoicing, budgeting, and oversight. To track time effectively, however, you need user-friendly software that integrates into your workflows. 

Take Toggl Track . For the free plan, you get quite a few premium perks that other free plans tend to exclude, like a Pomodoro timer , idle time detection, automated time tracking triggers, team access level management, and exportable reports. Users can also track their time on the go from a browser, desktop, mobile app, or within over 100 third-party applications via browser extensions—or just by typing it into the timesheet or timer module manually, the way our ancestors did. Toggl doesn't give it all away, though. You'll have to pay if you want to change billable rates, save reports, use pre-populated project templates, and—notably—divide projects into tasks.

Connect Toggl Track with Zapier to streamline your timesheet workflows even more. Here are a few Zap templates to get you started. 

Create new Toggl Track entries for every new Google Calendar event start

Google Calendar logo

Create new Toggl Track projects from new rows in Google Sheets

And if you're looking for more options, here are Zapier's picks for the best free timesheet software .

Free invoicing software like Wave

Wave, our pick for the best free invoicing software.

At the end of the day, you need to get paid for the goods and services you provide—hence the whole "business" aspect of launching a business. You can bring that money in the door faster, and with less effort, by using invoicing software.

Wave , for instance, saves you from manual accounting chores by tracking your expenses, relaying invoices, generating reports, and even reconciling accounts. Its free tier also handles payroll and tax filing, giving you all the benefits of an in-house accountant without any of the costs (and you also won't need to feed them at the holiday office party). 

Plus, you can connect Wave to Zapier , so you can automate even more of your invoicing workflows. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Create Wave customers from new Pipedrive deals

Pipedrive logo

Create Wave customers from new changes to properties of HubSpot contacts

HubSpot logo

If you decide Wave isn't a good fit, here are your other choices for the best free invoicing software .

Once you've made your pick, you can make your free invoicing app even more dynamic by automating your payment processes . Manage contacts, log invoices, and stay on top of paydays effortlessly simply by activating a few well-placed integrations.

Connect your free small business apps with automation

The best free apps for small business owners can be a boost on their own. But to really move the needle, your apps need to talk to each other.

By connecting your software and automating your workflows, you'll have smoother operations early on and more opportunities for growth. And as your business grows, you'll be able to make more of an investment in automation to reap an even higher ROI. 

For now, though, it's free to get started with Zapier .

Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works .

Related reading:

When is it time to start paying for software?

How to start a business with no money: 22 low-cost business ideas

Free business plan template—and how to write your own

Free small business budget templates

This article was originally published in February 2023. The most recent update, with contributions from Jessica Lau, was in February 2024.

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Toby Peterson

Toby Peterson is an educator, writer, and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He enjoys unironically British food and the Oxford comma. Visit him at tobiaspeterson.com.

  • Small business
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Starting a Business | Buyer's Guide

23 Best Free Business Software Solutions

Published October 16, 2020

Published Oct 16, 2020

Blake Stockton

WRITTEN BY: Blake Stockton

This article is part of a larger series on Starting a Business .

Free business software helps your company save money and become efficient. You can use free business tools to do accounting, accept payments, and pay employees. To evaluate and rank this kind of software, we analyzed features, overall quality, online user reviews, and our personal experience with the tools. Below is our list of 23 of the best free business software solutions available.

1. Wave: Free Accounting Software

Screenshot of Wave Dashboard

Wave has an easy to use dashboard that allows you to manage sales, accounting, banking, and payroll from one account.

Wave is an accounting, invoicing, and receipt tracking software for small businesses. We rank it as one of the best free accounting software available. Its free plan includes bank and credit card connections, unlimited income and expense tracking, and unlimited receipt scanning with Android and iOS apps.

Wave’s invoices have professional templates you can customize based on your business needs. The accounting software is cloud-based, so you can access it on any device with internet access.

With its free software, Wave is missing payroll abilities. For an additional monthly cost, you can do employee tasks like manage vacation time, calculate benefits, and pay your employees. Overall, Wave’s online user reviews indicate that users enjoy the software’s overall ease of use. User complaints center around tech issues and poor customer service.

2. Square: Free Point-Of-Sale Software for Small Retailers

Square magstripe reader for Android

The Square magstripe reader is available for both Android and Apple phones and tablets.

Square is a free point-of-sale (POS) software . A point-of-sale records and processes payments from customers. Overall, we consider Square the overall best free POS software .

When you sign up for a Square account, you receive a free magstripe reader. Included with the Square software are analytics and reporting, inventory management, and a basic customer relationship management (CRM) system. Additionally, you get a free Square online store that syncs your in-store and online inventory, so you know exactly how much product you have in stock.

The costs of Square come when you process a payment. For every swipe, Square charges 2.75%. So for every $100 paid from customers, you have $97.25 deposited in your bank account. The 2.75% rate is competitive with other payment processors.

Visit Square

3. Zoom: Free Video Conferencing Software

Screenshot of Zoom App on Mobile

Zoom is a cloud-based platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. Its free accounts provide unlimited one-on-one meetings and group video conferences limited to 40 minutes and 100 participants. All video calls are fully secured with SSL and AES 256-bit encryption.

A unique feature of Zoom is its active speaker view, which is a dynamic technology that shifts the video feed to the current speaker. With this, you don’t need active video management.

Zoom’s free version is missing reporting features. So, you can’t see how many meetings are being held in your organization or how many people are attending.

If you’re a consultant or coach doing one-on-one meetings, the free version of Zoom is all you need to have successful video calls. During video meetings, you can teach and show examples by sharing your computer screen. You can also record your screen for the client to listen to or watch at a later date. Additionally, during the meeting, you can send links from Zoom’s chat feature.

4. Google Docs: Free Document and File Storage

Screenshot of Google Docs Personal and Business

Google Docs allows users to edit a document at the same time from two different computers and locations.

Google Docs is part of a suite of free cloud-based tools provided by Google. With Google Docs, you can create word processing documents and share them with team members. The team members can edit the documents at the same time.

All the writing and edits are saved in real time. Google Docs is a great free alternative to Microsoft Word. A downside of the free version of Google Doc is its storage is capped at 15GB.

Many business owners struggle with figuring out how to share documents, photos, and videos with co-workers or remote workers. Something unique about Google Docs is the ability to upload photos, images, and documents and share a link with whoever needs to download them. This saves time because you don’t have to share the photos or documents from a physical device like a USB flash drive. Additionally, your business documents, photos, and videos will never get lost or misplaced because they are stored in the cloud.

Visit Google Docs

5. Zoho CRM: Free Customer Relationship Management Software

Screenshot of Zoho Crm Marketing Attribution

Zoho CRM’s marketing attribution dashboard

A customer relationship management (CRM) system helps businesses and sales teams manage customer relationships. Zoho CRM is the most comprehensive free CRM solution on the market. We consider Zoho CRM to be the best free CRM available.

One of its top free features is its marketing automation, which other free CRMs typically charge for. Along with 10 email marketing templates and email marketing authentication tools, Zoho CRM includes a website visitor tracking system that tracks leads as they go through your sales pipeline.

Visit Zoho CRM

6. Homebase: Free Employee Scheduling Software

Screenshot of Homebase Mobile App

The Homebase mobile app allows employees to see their upcoming shifts and schedule shifts in advance.

Homebase is a software that helps you manage appointments or shift scheduling. It is one of our top-rated free employee scheduling software .

The free version of Homebase is for one location and an unlimited number of employees. It includes features like scheduling, time sheets, a time clock, reporting, and the mobile app. Restaurants, hair salons, retail stores, spas, and massage businesses all benefit from a scheduling software.

What the free version is missing is SMS messaging and mobile GPS clock-in. If you need to send reminders to customers about their upcoming appointments, you have to pay an additional cost. If you have off-site employees and want to use the GPS clock-in to confirm their locations, you need to pay an additional cost as well.

Visit Homebase

7. Freshdesk: Free Customer Support Software

Screenshot of Freshdesk Dashboard

Freshdesk gives you the ability to track customer support tickets with an analytics dashboard.

Freshdesk is a customer support (help desk) software that helps organize support request tickets in order of receipt and ticket communication with customers. This is helpful for businesses that have a product or service that customers may need assistance with.

Many business owners use a support ticket software if they find email to be too complicated to manage their customer support. A con to Freshdesk’s free version is the inability to automate tickets using time and event-based triggers.

The Freshdesk software also helps you create a “knowledge base” to display on your website. A knowledge base is similar to an in-depth frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on a website. Customers use the knowledge base to answer their own questions and resolve their issues. Additionally, if you’re communicating with the customer through email, you can link to your article, answering the customer’s question without having to type out the full answer.

Visit Freshdesk

8. Mailchimp: Free Email Marketing Software

Screenshot of Mailchimp Dashboard

The Mailchimp dashboard provides easy to read analytics on recent analytics and overall email list growth.

Mailchimp is a web-based email marketing software. You need an email marketing software, in addition to using an email provider like Gmail, so you can send an email out to hundreds or thousands of customers at once.

Additionally, you can use Mailchimp to tag customers based on certain behaviors, like purchasing, and to send emails to targeted customer lists. This is helpful when you want to send a specific message to a group of customers.

For example, if you operate a residential maintenance business, you can tag customers by certain services they received, like gutter cleaning, pressure washing, landscaping, and snow shoveling. Once you tag customers according to their previous service, you can send a targeted email reminding them they can receive the service again. As a general marketing rule, the more targeted an email is, the more likely a recipient will open and respond to it.

There are a few downsides to Mailchimp’s free email marketing plan. You won’t be able to use custom branding on the emails. You also cannot A/B test different subject lines in the same email campaign; this determines which subject lines receive a higher open rate. Additionally, you don’t get access to all email templates.

Visit Mailchimp

9. Payroll4Free.com: Free Payroll Software

Screenshot of Payroll4Free Features for Under 25 Employees or Contractors

These features are all free if you have under 25 employees or contractors.

Payroll4Free.com is a completely free payroll software—we rated it as the best free payroll software available for under 25 employees. The program’s free features include pack check calculations, form preparation, and reports on earnings. Payroll4Free.com also includes QuickBooks integration.

What the software is missing is that it doesn’t file your taxes or provide year-end W-2s or 1099s. Overall, the reviews for Payroll4Free.com are positive. However, there have been complaints regarding its slow customer service for free users of the software.

Visit Payroll4Free.com

10. Canva: Free Graphic Design Software

Screenshot of Canva Dashboard

Canva has dozens of photo editing tools like cropping photos to get the perfect image for your business’s marketing.

Canva is a free tool that helps you design graphic images such as logos, posters, flyers, and social media photos. Many small business owners use Canva to design social media images. Canva has preset sizes for social media images like the Facebook banner and YouTube thumbnail.

One great part of Canva is its free educational tools. You can enroll in its free online design school to watch tutorials on applying color palettes, creating animated GIFs, and designing Instagram Highlights.

Canva’s free version is missing some features like downloadable designs with transparent backgrounds. With paid versions, you receive access to over 400,000 free photos, templates, and illustrations; you can also use branding features with the ability to upload custom fonts and color palettes.

Visit Canva

11. Sumo: Free Website Tools to Automate Growth

Screenshot of Sumo for Desktop and Mobile

Sumo provides free tools to grow your email list like a customizable pop-up to collect emails, which is optimized for both computer and mobile.

Sumo provides a suite of free tools that help you turn your website visitors into customers. All tools come with free options that can be upgraded for additional customization, features, and analytics. One of Sumo’s appealing aspects is that it’s no cost to integrate its tools with platforms like WordPress, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento.

One of the most popular tools from Sumo is List Builder, which is a pop-up that uses smart technology. The technology tracks when website visitors are most likely to enter their email address and shows the form at that time. Another popular tool Sumo created is the Welcome Mat, which is a pop-up that fits the entire screen after a page is loaded. This is a great way to direct a website visitor’s attention to a discount or freebie.

12. Hootsuite: Free Social Media Management

Screenshot of Hootsuite Providing a Content Calendar

Hootsuite provides a content calendar so you can visually and easily see what type of social media content will be posted.

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that lets you plan social media content in advance of posting. Manage posts and interact with comments from social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Hootsuite’s free plan is limited to one user, three social media profiles, and 30 scheduled posts. However, that is plenty of in-advance content for the average small business. Once you see results, you can upgrade to the professional plan with unlimited scheduling.

Something unique about Hootsuite is its mobile app. If you’re away from your computer, you can still schedule social media posts in advance through your phone. You can also reply to comments on any social platform and assign inbound messages to team members.

Visit Hootsuite

13. WordPress.com: Free Website and Blog Builder

Screenshot of WordPress Free Website Builder

WordPress.com has dozens of free website templates for you to choose from.

WordPress.com is a free website builder and content management system. This is different from WordPress.org, which is a more complicated (and robust) website platform. WordPress.com is a great free option for a small business on a budget.

If you start with the website builder, you can eventually transition your content to WordPress.org. With its free option, WordPress.com offers 3GB of storage, which is more than enough for the average small business.

Free hosting (space on a server where your website information is stored) is included with WordPress.com. The only required cost is purchasing a domain name, which is the www.(yourcompanyname).com or your web address, and this is around $12 a year. Additionally, you can choose to create a blog instead of a business website. A blog organizes content in chronological order, whereas a website has more flexibility but is less organized.

Visit WordPress.com

14. Trustpilot: Free Tool to Get Online Reviews

Screenshot of Ancestry.com Reviews on Trustpilot

Get a profile page from Trust Pilot that showcases your business’s online reviews in one place.

Trustpilot’s free version comes feature-rich to help you obtain and share online reviews from customers. You will be notified of every new review that comes through Trustpilot’s review link. If there is a negative review, you have the ability to respond.

Every month, you can send up to 100 verified invitations for customer reviews, which means customers are asked for documentation proving they bought your product or service.

Integrate product reviews on ecommerce websites such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. Additionally, you can embed Trustpilot’s review form on your website and direct customers to visit your website to leave a review.

There are sharing features included in Trustpilot’s free software plan. Once your business gets a positive review, share it to Facebook, Google My Business, LinkedIn, or Twitter directly from the Trustpilot dashboard.

Visit Trustpilot

15. Nav: Free Business Credit Reports

Screenshot of Nav Business Credit Score

Nav has an easy to read dashboard for reviewing your business’s credit score.

Nav provides free personal and business credit reports. Business credit can affect whether you qualify for loans and leases, get favorable terms from suppliers, or win bids on government contracts. You can establish business credit by opening a business bank account and getting a D-U-N-S Number with Dun & Bradstreet. You can also build business credit by using its credit cards and working with vendors that report payments.

In addition to the credit reports, Nav provides free fraud monitoring with 24/7 alerts. You also have access to a one-on-one consultation with a lending specialist. Nav provides this consultation, because once you know your business credit and build it up, you can eventually purchase one of Nav’s business lending products like a loan, line of credit, or invoice financing.

What you can get in Nav’s paid version is $1 million in identity theft insurance protection.

16. Trello: Free Visual Project Management Software

Screenshot of Trello Boards

Trello allows you to create project management cards containing information like to-dos, attached documents, labels, and messages.

Trello is a Kanban-style project management solution, which focuses on balance of work load. You can use it to organize several aspects of your business such as clients, projects, and to-do lists. We consider Trello as one of the best free project management software available.

You’re able to add due dates to Trello’s individual cards to keep on top of deadlines. The software can be used on web, mobile, and desktop.

Online user reviews for Trello are generally positive. Users say they like the user-friendly and intuitive interface. They also enjoy features like the card activity history, and third-party app integrations like Slack and Jira.

Negative user reviews centered around the software being too simple for more complicated project management and difficulties with finding a specific card on the activity board.

Visit Trello

17. Evernote: Free Note Taking and Organizing App

Screenshot of Evernote Individual Project

Evernote provides note taking templates for business related tasks.

Evernote is an app that allows you to record and organize notes, files, photos, and voice memos. It’s cloud-based, which means it can be accessed on any device. A unique feature that Evernote has is that it integrates with the Google and Siri digital assistant, so you can record notes by voice and without having to open the app. Additionally, once you record a note in Evernote, you can send it to employees even if they don’t have the app.

Visit Evernote

18. Hunter: Free Email Address Finder

Screenshot of Hunter Search Results

Hunter provides email addresses in an easy to read pop-up screen.

Hunter is a software that searches for emails listed on a particular website. This tool saves you time by not searching the website looking for available email addresses, which are sometimes hidden. When searching for emails, you can filter by the type of email, for example, “contact@…”

Additionally, you can search by a person’s name, which can be a huge time saver if thousands of emails are available on the company’s website. Hunter’s features benefit anyone in public relations or business development who needs to get in contact with a specific person.

Something unique Hunter provides is the most common email structure the company uses. This helps you accurately guess an email address that isn’t publicly available. For example, Hunter will say “{first}@company.com” to indicate most emails at this company are simply the person’s first name. When Hunter does provide an email address, it indicates if the email is verified with a green check badge so that you can email the recipient with confidence.

Visit Hunter

19. AND.CO: Free Proposal & Invoice Software

Screenshot of And.Co App for Mobile and Desktop

AND.CO has a desktop and mobile version so you can track time worked from your phone.

AND.CO is an invoicing, proposal, and expense tracking software. In its free pricing plan, you are able to add one active client and only use AND.CO’s standard contracts. If you’re a startup or new to contracts, this is a great opportunity to learn more about important sections and clauses in business contract agreements.

There are several other tools you can take advantage of with AND.CO’s free plan. You can create invoices for your client and receive payments at a competitive payment processing rate in addition to managing and organizing your projects with its task management software.

If you’re working for a client by the hour, you can use AND.CO to track your time and easily send invoices for the time your work was recorded. Something missing with AND.CO’s free plan is the ability to edit contracts.

Visit AND.CO

20. JotForm: Free Online Forms

Screenshot of JotForm New Customer Registration Form

JotForm has dozens of pre-made business related templates to use, like New Customer Registration.

JotForm is an online form builder that can generate leads, collect payments, and distribute surveys. The forms are fully customizable to fit your brand, so you can add colors and your logo.

Additionally, you can use JotForm as a way to collect payments from clients. It integrates with over 30 payment processors. JotForm also integrates with online apps, like Mailchimp, Salesforce, and Google Drive, so you can automatically import information collected from the forms.

Online user reviews for JotForm are generally positive. Customers say that the form builder is easy to use and that they enjoy using the premade forms. Other customers like that they didn’t have to learn code to create the forms and are happy with the ability to add as many form conditions as they want. Complaints for JotForm were about how the collected information was unorganized and the low quality of PDF-based forms.

Visit JotForm

21. Mailtrack: Free Email Tracking for Gmail

Screenshot of Mailtrack Last Opened Emails on Laptop

Mailtrack has an easy to use dashboard interface that tells you what emails were opened or unopened.

Mailtrack is a free software that integrates with Gmail. It tells you when an email was opened by a recipient and how many times it was opened. You can enable real-time notifications that tell you the moment that an email was opened. Mailtrack’s free option allows for unlimited email tracking.

If you are doing a lot of networking and pitching through email, Mailtrack is indispensable. Many business owners believe that a potential customer or client is not interested in their product or service because they did not receive an email response. Before a business owner makes that assumption, they need to know if the email was ever opened. Mailtrack gives you the ability to know that firsthand for free.

Visit Mailtrack

22. SurveyMonkey: Free Online Surveys

Screenshot of SurveyMonkey Mobile App

Survey Monkey comes mobile friendly.

Before rolling out a new product, service, or feature, it’s common for businesses to survey their customers. SurveyMonkey provides free online surveys that you can customize and send to customers. Its free plan is limited to 10 questions or elements per survey and is limited to 100 responses. This is still a great option for a startup to get feedback from early customers on their experience using its products or services.

Surveys on SurveyMonkey come fully customizable. You can also choose from the templated surveys like customer satisfaction, event surveys, job satisfaction, and employee engagement.

SurveyMonkey has a mix of positive and negative user reviews. There have been complaints about the limited features with the free software. Other users enjoy the robust mobile app and numerous integrations it has with other software applications.

Visit Survey Monkey

23. Evite: Free Online Invitation Software

Screenshot of Evite Custom Invitation

Evite allows you to customize the content of your e-invitation like Title, Type, Host, Time, and Description.

Evite is software that provides free online invitations and helps manage the guest list. There are pre-designed e-invitations that are customizable for occasions like networking events, retirements and farewells, fundraisers, real estate open house, and general meetings. Evite also has a mobile app available for both Apple and Android. You can use the app to create and manage your event.

With Evite, you can also encourage event attendees to take photos and upload them to the event’s private feed. This is a great way to gather social media content for future use. Evite has a unique feature that allows you to encourage event invitees to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign with a link in the e-invitation. This is an excellent option if you need to raise capital before opening your business.

Visit Evite

Bottom Line

Free business software is a great way to save money and be more productive in your business. If you’re starting a business , then the above free business tools are a low-risk test as you figure out the best systems and software for you. If you like them, keep them and possibly expand their features with a paid version. If you don’t like them, stop using the software with no-added costs to your business.

About the Author

Blake Stockton

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Blake Stockton

Blake Stockton is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on how to start brick-and-mortar and online businesses. He is a frequent guest lecturer at several undergraduate business and MBA classes at University of North Florida . Prior to joining Fit Small Business, Blake consulted with over 700 small biz owners and assisted with starting and growing their businesses.

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The 3 Ultimate Free Business Plan Software

Andrew Marder profile picture

Andrew Marder

Free business plan software options, non-software options for business plan creation, final thoughts.

A new business generally needs two things. First, it needs a reason to exist. What are you going to bring to the marketplace that no one else is providing or how are you going to provide an existing product in a “better” fashion? Second, you’re going to need some cash. Even if you’re just going to be making websites in your bedroom, you’ll need some money for internet access, food, and some software or hosting.

The_Ultimate_Free_Business_Plan_Software

These two problems can both be addressed through a solid business plan.

A business plan tells you – and anyone you decide to share it with – what your core function is. It helps you focus in on the things that you do best and it gives you metrics to determine what your success looks like. I say, “It gives you,” but really it’s just a template for managing your own thoughts.

In the same way that a blueprint is the physical manifestation of a building plan, a business plan is the physical manifestation of your business goals. Could you build a house without drawing up a blueprint? Sure. Is it a super good idea that we’re all about to adopt? Not even close.

In addition to putting your own thoughts on paper and making the organization process more structured, a good business plan is also your pitch. When you go into the bank, you’re going in with a clear message about what you do, who buys it, and how much you’re expecting them to spend with you over time.

The forecasting and economic consolidation that happens in your business plan makes talking to the bank – or VC or neighbor or rich uncle – that much easier.

To help you pull a plan together, there are – of course – plenty of software solutions. These range from the simple to the complex. You can opt for a solution that basically just lays the material you create out or one that helps you with every step of the process.

Today, we’ll look a few free business plan software options to help get you started. I’ll also give you a few non-software solutions, just in case you want to get your hands a bit dirty.

This article looks at three free business plan software options. See the full list of free business plan software solutions here .

Note: Your hands may not get dirty, except in a metaphorical sense. Much depends on the type of pen you employ.

1. StratPad

StratPad is a cloud-based business plan software solution. There are a few different versions, depending on how many business plans you want to make, but for one plan, you can get a free account. As an additional little bonus, if you happen to teach business at a high school or university, StratCloud has a free version of its Unlimited offering. Interested in products with similar features? These StratPad alternatives could be what you are looking for.

That little bonus points to what StratCoud is really all about. The company provides workshops, videos, and educational blogs for entrepreneurs. It makes the bulk of its revenue not through subscriptions, but through the introductions it provides via StratPad Connect.

There, business coaches, accountants, and other professionals can connect with new businesses. Those leads generate a small fee from the professional, paid to StratPad. You’re not paying, so you’re the product – but it’s a pretty tame version of the old adage.

StratPad comes with follow along instructions and ends up generating a very clean and classic looking business plan. I like the layout of the system and I’m apparently not the only one. StratPad claims over 100,000 businesses are currently using its service.

Enloop is another free option for those seeking a single business plan. The company attempts to bring a little bit of credibility with its offering by scoring your business plan. Once it’s been scored, bankers or investors can look to see how well you did.

The score encompasses some basics like cash flow and growth. It updates as you update the document, so you can see what metrics are having the biggest – in Enloop’s mind – impact on your business’s viability. Sharing the actual score is only available to paid users.

Enloop also makes it easy to collaborate on plans, and the free version of the service gives you one additional user. You’ll be able to forecast up to 36 months out for financials, and all of it can be dropped into a PDF. Want to find software solutions with comparable features? These Enloop alternatives are a good place to start.

3. Plan Cruncher

This is my wildcard entry into the mix. Plan Cruncher isn’t really a business plan software. Instead, it takes the information you give it and generates a sort of elevator pitch/cover letter for your business plan.

When you’ve input all the details, you’ll end up with a one-page overview of the business, including what you’re going to do, who’s involved in the project, where you are in the funding process, and what you’re looking for next.

I like this for two reasons. First, it’s kinda fun. The final product is covered in these little logos that Plan Cruncher has come up with, so you get a nice visual view of the business. Second, it makes you summarize the whole thing. You’ll be entering details in 140 character boxes and chopping your offering down into small consumable chunks. This is a great way to determine what the core parts of your business really are.

Plan Cruncher has just the one version. It’s free and you end up with a nice PDF when it’s all said and done. That being said, it is 100 percent focused on tech startups looking for cash from investors. If you roll into the bank with this thing, it better be because you’re the founder of Plan Cruncher and you brought it along to demonstrate what the service does. No banker is going to care about this.

Software doesn’t always have to be the solution. I mean, sure, you’ll need some software to make any business plan, but we’re talking about Microsoft Office style programs. These resources are excellent alternatives to software.

The Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA wants you to succeed in business and it’s got a whole host of resources to help you generate your own business plan on its website. One of the things you’ll miss out on by using software is a solid education.

By building your own plan, you’ll be forced to learn how the whole thing works, what investors are looking for, and what all the terms means. You’ll be forecasting and analyzing before you know it. The SBA has a great set of instructions on how to get up to speed before you head down to your bank.

Speaking of which…

Your bank [Wells Fargo as an example]

Many major banks have free business planning tools to help you get started. On the Wells Fargo site, for instance, you can learn about how business plans work, use some tools to bring the whole thing together, and even do some competitive analysis.

As a major benefit, you’ll be working with the company that you’re going to be asking for money, right out of the gates. If you don’t like your bank’s offering, you can always find another bank that has better tools. Most of them are available without an account.

The SCORE network

Another SBA shout out. The SCORE network hooks successful business folk up with the next crop of winners. You can reach out to knowledgeable, local, mentors who can help you craft a business plan. These people are there to help and to make business better.

That means 1) there’s not a cost associated with reaching out and 2) they’re not going to do your homework. If you show up with all your research and a good start, a mentor can help you put some finishing touches on or send you in search of more details. If you show up with nothing, expect to get nothing in return.

That’s probably a little unfair. I’m sure you can get help finding your way if you haven’t kicked things off yet. Just don’t expect to drop off your bank records and walk out with a plan that they’ve drawn up for you.

The Business Model Canvas (BMC)

We’ll end on another quirky one. The BMC was developed by Swiss business consultant Alexander Osterwalder. The BMC breaks a business into nine basic building blocks and then has you fill out all those blocks. The result is a sort of brainstorm of business planning that fits on a single page.

This is a popular framework for lean start-ups, as you can present the entirety of the plan in a single slide – with more detail than Plan Cruncher provides. If that sounds intriguing,  check out Alexander Cowan’s overview of the BMC for more details on how it actually works.

A business plan can help you understand and champion the growth of your business. Thinking through your business’s core functions and challenges can give you a better understanding of where you should be spending your time.

You’ll also be in a better position to get the funding you need, when you need it. Business planning may be the least exciting part of starting your business, but it’s one of the most important. If you’ve got any other tools or software options that you’ve used and loved, let me know in the comments.

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Andrew Marder is a former Capterra analyst.

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5 Best Business Plan Software in 2022

Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

When you’re starting a business, developing a strong business plan will be one of the first steps you take. Your business plan will cover everything from a detailed explanation of your products or services and pricing model to at least three years of financial projections—plus much more. Therefore, whether you’re not sure how to get started or you’re just looking to make the process easier, you may want to turn to business plan software for help.

In this guide, we'll break down five of the best business plan software options—discussing their pros, cons, features, pricing, and more—so you have all the information you need to decide which solution is right for your small business.

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The 5 best business plan software options

The right business plan software will make the process of writing your business plan much simpler. Like many business software solutions, however, there are a number of different business plan software options out there—each of which has a unique set of features, user experience, and price.

This being said, if you're looking for a place to start your search for the best business plan software, you can explore the five top options below:

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

1. LivePlan

Best overall business plan software.

If you want template-rich, modern-feeling business plan software, then LivePlan may be the right pick for you. LivePlan excels with their user interface, which feels updated and slick, and also offers intuitive, easy-to-use features and options.

Their step-by-step instruction will help you kick things off from the beginning, and you can take advantage of their online learning center to continue to gain business skills.

Affordable plans, including pay-as-you-go option

No long-term contracts or cancellation fee; 60-day money-back guarantee

Modern, intuitive interface; cloud-based, can be used on Mac, PC, as well as tablets

Ability to create unlimited plans in one account; over 500 customizable templates

Variety of business resources including video tutorials, step-by-step instruction, and general customer support

Limited integration options

Challenging to enter your own financial modeling projections

Can be difficult to learn

Ability to create an unlimited number of business plans on one account

More than 500 business plan templates spanning various industries

Integration with Xero and QuickBooks Online

Real-time tracking of financial data with accounting integrations

Ability to export your business plan to Word or PDF

Expert advice and step-by-step instruction included

Performance dashboards for tracking against budgets and sales goals

Ability to create and export a one-page pitch executive summary

Annual plan: $15 per month, billed every 12 months

Six-month plan: $18 per month, billed every six months

Pay-as-you-go plan: $20 per month, billed once every month

2. GoSmallBiz

Best for multiple business management tools in one platform.

Next on our list of the best business plan software options is GoSmallBiz, which is much more than just a business plan software. With GoSmallBiz, you have access to business continuity planning software with features that cover creating a roadmap, working through business and legal forms, building a website, and more.

In this way, GoSmallBiz is great for startups or newer businesses looking to access multiple business management tools through one platform.

Unlimited business consultation and extensive library of online resources

Multiple business tools in one software

Website consultation analysis and business assessment

Industry-specific business plan templates with emphasis on financial projections and statements

Expensive monthly cost compared to alternatives

Limited business plan features

Entire business plan can only be exported to Microsoft Word

Outdated interface

Industry-specific business plan templates with step-by-step building wizard

Ability to create financial statements and projections

Free website hosting and website builder

Customer relationship manager with integration with MailChimp

Digital marketing dashboard with social media and Google Analytics integrations

HR document builder

Corporate minutes writer

Business documents library

Business courses library

Unlimited business consultation

$39 per month, no contracts, free cancellation

Best for simple, fast business plan creation.

If you're looking for free business plan software, Enloop will be one of your closest options—they offer an all-inclusive seven-day free trial, no credit card required. Additionally, unlike some of the other options on our list, Enloop is strictly dedicated to business plan creation, including automated text writing, financial forecast comparisons, and a real-time performance score that tracks your progress.

This being said, if you'd prefer the most straightforward, fast, and simple way to write your business plan, Enloop will be a platform worth considering.

Simple and straightforward software, solely dedicated to business plan creation

Seven-day free trial

Automatic text generation available to streamline the writing process

Affordable plans with annual discount option

Limited additional educational resources

Only one template option

No integration options

Ability to create three business plans with customizable text, images, tables, charts, and over 100 currency symbols and formats

Includes automatic text generation for each plan section that you can then customize

Automatically generated financial statements

Includes financial performance comparison analysis (using three ratios with Detailed plan and 16 with Performance plan)

Real-time performance score to track your progress

Ability to invite users to edit (two with Detailed plan, five with Performance plan)

Pass/fail report and certificate to help you identify issues with your plan

Free plan: Seven-day free trial with no credit card required

Detailed plan: $19.95 per month or $11 per month, paid annually

Performance plan: $39.95 per month, or $24 per month, paid annually

Best for startups looking to acquire funding or find investors.

Part of the Startups.com suite, Bizplan gets top marks for their user interface—it’s intuitive, easy to use, and modern. You’ll work with a step-by-step business plan builder to get exactly what you’d like from your business plan. It may remind you of a modern website builder, since it has drag-and-drop tools to build templates.

Moreover, for one subscription fee, you have access to all of the tools in the Startups.com network, including self-guided courses, how-to guides, masterclass videos, and more. All in all, with a direct connection to Fundable, Bizplan is a top business plan software option for startups looking to acquire funding and find investors.

Subscription gives you access to all Startups.com tools

Lifetime access subscription option

User-friendly drag-and-drop business plan builder

Excellent educational resources

Connection to Fundable great for businesses looking for capital

No free trial

No templates based on industry

No mobile access

Drag-and-drop templates for business plan building

Financial command center to track all business financials in one place

Unlimited account collaborators

Ability to share business plan online with investors

Online resources including self-guided courses, masterclass videos, how-to guides, mentorship access

Unlimited software use for Fundable, Launchrock, and Startups.com

Monthly plan: $29 per month

Annual plan: $20.75 per month, billed at $249 per year

Lifetime access: $349 one-time fee

5. PlanGuru

Best for financial planning and budgeting.

Finally, for some of the strongest financial features among business plan software options, including budgeting and forecasting, you might check out PlanGuru. Whereas the other solutions we've reviewed were first and foremost focused on writing a business plan, PlanGuru is dedicated to business financial planning —providing the tools you need to create budgets, financial forecasts, reports, and more.

Therefore, if you need a software solution that can streamline the financial piece of your business planning processes, PlanGuru will certainly have the most to offer.

Extensive financial tools and detailed forecasting, budgeting, and reporting capabilities

Substantial library of resources

Cloud-based and desktop options

14-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee

Expensive, especially for additional users

Only focuses on the financial aspect of business planning; no templates or tools for basic business plan writing

Difficult to use without prior financial knowledge

Cloud-based version of software, as well as locally installed Windows version (desktop version has a few more features)

Works with QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Excel

Budgeting and forecasting for up to 10 years

Over 20 standard forecasting methods

Formula builder to create custom methods

Ratios and KPIs

Dashboard and reporting tools

Help guides, video tutorials, knowledgebase, and live U.S.-based customer support

14-day free trial

$99 per month (additional users $29 per month)

$899 per year (additional users $299 per year)

What to look for in business plan software

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide, which, if any, of the best business plan software solutions on our list is right for your business.

So, if you're trying to figure out how to choose between the various options out there, it might be helpful to compare your top choices based on the following criteria:

Features: As we've seen different business plan software solutions offer different features. You'll want to look carefully at the feature list of any software and determine what features are most important for your business needs. Do you need an extensive library of templates with detailed customization? Would you prefer software that includes an online learning center for business skills? Are you looking for a solution that combines business plan writing with other tasks? It may be useful to list out your ideal feature set, so you can compare individual software plans to that list.

Price: Although you might be able to find some free business plan software options (or at the very least, free trials), in most cases, you'll need to pay a subscription fee to access the platform you choose. Therefore, you'll want to think about what your budget is for this business tool and what type of software is most cost-effective for your needs.

User experience: User experience can vary widely among different business plan software options. You’ll find some programs that are newer or have been recently updated. Others might have the kind of interfaces that felt new years ago but are now pretty out of date—and, subsequently, make them a little harder to use. The right user experience for your needs is genuinely a matter of opinion and comfort—nevertheless, it's worth testing thoroughly testing out a platform to ensure that it can truly work for you before investing in a monthly or annual subscription.

The bottom line

There's no doubt that properly crafting your business plan is important for the future growth and success of your small business. Luckily, the right business plan software should make the process much simpler.

This being said, whether you opt for one of the best business plan software options listed here, or another platform entirely, you'll want to take the time to compare multiple solutions and ensure you choose the one that's right for your business.

As we mentioned, it can be helpful to think about the features you're looking for, your budget, and your user-experience preferences ahead of time—that way, you'll have a set of criteria in mind as you explore different solutions.

Ultimately, perhaps the best thing you can do to find the right software is to actually test out the platforms themselves—either by using a free trial or a money-back guarantee.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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It’s proven, companies that plan and track against their plan grow 30% faster than those that don’t. No matter your industry, location, or size — LivePlan helps you get your business off the ground and grow

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“Trying to open a new business is very time-consuming, and since I was running another business while I was trying to set up Tailored, I didn’t have a lot of time.”

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“It wasn’t my intention to be an entrepreneur or a business person. My intention was to work with dogs. I kind of had to learn the rest of it in order to do what I wanted to do.”

Joanna Stanford

Founder, Trots Dogs

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“That’s what it does for your business; [using LivePlan] has got us all talking and much more engaged about what we are and what we’re trying to do.”

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“Before LivePlan, I was making decisions that were poorly informed. Now I test everything through my business first, before I take it to my clients.”

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Owner & Founder, Esquire Accounting

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Entrepreneurs & business owners love LivePlan

“I learned more about running my small business from a week of focused work in [LivePlan] than I have from any other single source. It has fundamentally changed the way I view my business ventures”

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“Using LivePlan is easy and there is so much assistance available. There are examples, templates, and videos explaining what to write. [...]. It does the math for you. It creates graphs and charts. It is amazing.”

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“LivePlan was a great help to design, work out, plan and strategically organize and think about all the ideas that go into developing a new project and business plan [...] Think about it like a coach guiding you through the process.”

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“Before LivePlan, my team and I had no idea where or how to start [...] It helped us focus on and build every single area of our business strategy and recognize that some aspects of the company needed to be adjusted before we could launch.”

“LivePlan has eased my business planning processes and have provided me with easy access to credit from both banks and investors alike.”

“All businesses require solutions and tools [...] for control of expenses, spreadsheets were always the first option, but since the arrival of LivePlan, all work is easier and more automated.”

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“I didn’t have a business plan and using LivePlan helped give me an easy tool to build a strong business plan for myself and clients. My clients have gone on to enhance their plans and grow their businesses.”

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“LivePlan made us feel confident and secure in our numbers and gave us a clear view of our past, present and future!”

“LivePlan provides the balance between stating your vision, the framework to support it, and the numbers.”

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Home > Business > Business Startup

  • 5 Best Business Plan Software and Tools in 2023 for Your Small Business

4.5 out of 5 stars

Data as of 3 /13/23 . Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Chloe Goodshore

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure .

A business plan can do a lot for your business. It can help you secure investors or other funding. It can give your company direction. It can keep your finances healthy. But, if we’re being honest, it can also be a pain to write.

Luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch or go it alone. Business plan software and services can help you craft a professional business plan, like our top choice LivePlan , which provides templates, guidance, and more.

You’ve got quite a few choices for business plan help, so we’re here to help you narrow things down. Let’s talk about the best business plan tools out there.

  • LivePlan : Best overall
  • BizPlanBuilder : Most user-friendly
  • Wise Business Plans : Best professional service
  • Business Sorter : Best for internal plans
  • GoSmallBiz.com : Most extra features
  • Honorable mentions

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LivePlan: Best overall business plan software

Data as of 3 /13/23 . Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *With annual billing

LivePlan has been our favorite business plan software for a while now, despite the stiff competition.

There’s a lot to like about LivePlan. It has pretty much all the features you could want from your business plan software. LivePlan gives you step-by-step instructions for writing your plan, helps you create financial reports, lets you compare your business’s actual financials to your plan’s goals, and much more. And if you ever need inspiration, it includes hundreds of sample business plans that can guide your writing.

LivePlan software pricing

But the best part? You get all that (and more) at a very competitive price. (You can choose from annual, six-month, or monthly billing.) While LivePlan isn’t quite the cheapest business plan builder out there, it’s not too far off either. And if comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. So there’s no risk in trying LivePlan out for yourself.

With a great balance of features and cost, LivePlan offers the best business plan solution for most businesses.

BizPlanBuilder: Most user-friendly

Need something easy to use? BizPlanBuilder fits the bill.

BizPlanBuilder doesn’t have a flashy, modern user interface―but it does have a very clear, intuitive one. You’ll be able to see your plan’s overall structure at a glance, so you can quickly navigate from your title page to your market trend section to that paragraph on your core values. And as you write, you’ll use a text editor that looks a whole lot like the word processing programs you’re already familiar with.

BizPlanBuilder software pricing

Data effective 3/13/23. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

BizPlanBuilder also offers lots of helpful guidance for actually writing your plan. It gives you pre-written text, in which you just have to fill in relevant details. It offers explanations for what information you need to include in each section of your plan and way. It even gives you helpful tips from experts, so you’ll have all the information you need to plan like a pro.

So if you want planning software with almost no learning curve, you’ll like BizPlanBuilder.

Wise Business Plans: Best professional service

  • Custom quote

Unlike all the other companies on this list, Wise Business Plans doesn’t offer software. Instead, it offers professional business plan writing services―meaning someone does all the hard work for you.

Now, you might think that sounds expensive―and you’re probably right (you have to request a custom quote for your plan). But there’s a lot to be said for expertise, and Wise Business Plans has plenty of that. Your business plan will get written by an experienced writer (with an MBA, no less). They’ll get information from you, do their own research, and then write your plan. You get one free revision, and you can always pay for more.  

Wise Business Plans service pricing

Your end result will be a polished, entirely original business plan. (You can even get printed copies.) And best of all, you won’t have to spend your precious time working on the plan yourself. Wise Business Plans takes care of all the hard parts, and makes your business look good while doing it. Sounds like a service worth paying for, right?

Put simply, if you want the most professional business plan possible, we recommend using Wise Business Plans’s writing service.

Business Sorter: Best for internal plans

Many businesses need plans to show to people outside the company (to get financing, for example). But what if you just need a plan for internal use? In that case, we suggest Business Sorter.

Business Sorter uses a unique card-based method to help you craft the perfect business plan. (You can watch a demo video to see how it works.) You’ll plan some of the usual things, like finances and marketing. But Business Sorter also lets you make plans for specific teams and team members. It also emphasizes more internal matters, like operations, that might get overlooked in a business plan for outsiders.

Business Sorter software pricing

After you’ve made your business plan, Business Sorter also helps you stay accountable to it. You can create tasks, give them deadlines, and assign them to team members―giving you basic project management tools to make sure your business plans become business actions. (Oh, and did we mention that Business Sorter has the lowest starting prices of any software on this list?)

It all adds up to a business plan software that works great for internal planning.

GoSmallBiz: Most extra features

Want to get way more than just business planning software? Then you probably want GoSmallBiz.

See, GoSmallBiz offers business plan software as part of its service―but it’s just one part of a much bigger whole. You also get everything from discounts on legal services to a website builder to a CRM (customer relationship manager) to business document templates. And more. In other words, you get just about everything you need to get your startup off the ground.

GoSmallBiz software pricing

Don’t worry though―you still get all the business planning help you need. GoSmallBiz gives you business plan templates, step-by-step instructions, and the ability to create financial projections. And if you get stuck, GoSmallBiz will put you in touch with experts who can offer advice.

If you want business planning and much, much more, give GoSmallBiz a try.

  • PlanGuru : Best financial forecasting
  • EnLoop : Cheapest tool for startups

We recommend the software above for most business planning needs. Some businesses, though, might be interested in these more specialized planning software.

Honorable mention software pricing

Planguru: best financial forecasting features.

Plan Guru

PlanGuru is pretty pricey compared to our other picks, but you might find its forecasting features worth paying for. It has more forecasting methods than other software (over 20) plus it lets you forecast up to 10 years.

EnLoop: Cheapest tool for startups

enloop logo

EnLoop doesn’t have our favorite features or interface, but it does have really, really low pricing plus a seven-day free trial. It's the most affordable software for startup business planning and still provides all the essential features like financial analysis, team collaboration, charting, and more.

Data as of 3 /13/23 . Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. * With annual billing

Several of our previous favorite planning software, including BusinessPlanPro and StratPad, seem to have gone out of business.

A business plan is a written, living document that tells the story of your business and what you plan to do with it. It serves as the source of truth for you—the business owner—as well as potential partners, employees, and investors, but it also serves as a roadmap of what you want your business to be.

Why you need a business plan

While some small-business owners don’t see the point of creating a formal business plan, it can have some concrete benefits for your business. For example, one 2016 study found that business owners with written plans are more successful than those that don’t. 1

Still too vague? Then let’s get specific.

If you ever seek business funding (from, say, banks, angel investors , or venture capitalists ), you’ll have to prove that your business deserves the money you want. A formal business plan―complete with financial data and projections―gives you a professional document you can use to make your case. (In fact, most potential investors will expect you to have a business plan ready.)

Even if you’re not seeking funding right now, a business plan can help your business. A formal plan can guide your business’s direction and decision making. It can keep your business accountable (by, for example, seeing if your business meets the financial projections you included). And a formal plan offers a great way to make sure your team stays on the same page.

What to include in your business plan

Not all business plans are created equal. To make a really useful business plan, you’ll want to include a number of elements:

  • Basic information about your business
  • Your products/services
  • Market and industry analysis
  • What makes your business competitive
  • Strategies and upcoming plans
  • Your team (and your team’s background)
  • Current financial status
  • Financial and market projections
  • Executive summary

Of course, you can include more or fewer elements―whatever makes sense for your business. Just make sure your business plan is comprehensive (but not overwhelming).

How business plan software can help

With so many elements to include, business plan creation can take a while. Business plan software tries to speed things up.

Most business plan software will include prompts for each section. In some cases, you can just fill in your business’s specific information, and the software will write the text for you. In other cases, the software will give you specific guidance and examples, helping you write the text yourself.

Plus, business plan software can help you stay organized. You’ll usually get intuitive menus that let you quickly flip through sections. So rather than endlessly scrolling through a long document in a word processor, you can quickly find your way around your plan. Some software even lets you drag and drop sections to reorganize your plan.

Sounds way easier than just staring at a blank page and trying to start from scratch, right?

Choosing business plan software

To find the right business plan builder for your business, you’ll want to compare features. For example, would you rather write your own text, getting prompts and advice from your software? Or would you rather go with a fill-in-the-blank method?

Likewise, think about the elements you need. If your plan will have a heavy focus on finances, you’ll want to choose business plan software with robust financial projection features. If you care more about market and competitor analysis, look for software that can help with that research.

You may also want to find business plan software that integrates with your business accounting software . Some plan builders will import data from Xero, QuickBooks, etc. to quickly generate your financial data and projections.

And of course, you’ll want to compare prices. After all, you always want to end up with software that fits your business budget.

The right business plan software can make your life easier. With LivePlan ’s wide breadth of features and online learning tools, you can’t go wrong. Plus, BizPlanBuilder 's one-time pricing makes it easy to invest while Business Sorter has a low starting cost. And if you're business is looking to grow, GoSmallBiz and Wise Business Plans will scale with you.

But of course, different companies have different needs. So shop around until you find the software that’s best for you and your business.

Now that you've got a business plan, take a look at our checklist for starting a small business.  It can help you make sure you have everything else you need to get your startup off to a good start!

Related content

  • 7 Steps to Build a Successful Project Management Sales Plan
  • Best Project Management Software and Tools in 2023
  • 4 Cost Management Techniques for Small Businesses

Creating a business plan can take anywhere from a couple hours to several weeks. Your timeline will depend on things like the elements you choose to include, whether you use software or hire a writing service, and how much research goes into your plan.

That said, much of the business plan software out there brags that it can help you create a fairly detailed plan in a few hours. So if you’re going the software route, that can help you set your expectations.

If you want to get the most out of your business plan, you should update it on a regular basis―at least annually. That way, you can continually refer to it to inform your company’s strategies and direction.  

At the very least, you should update your business plan before you start looking for a new round of funding (whether that’s with investors or lenders).

Thanks to business plan software, you can easily write your own business plan rather than pay someone to do it for you. And in most cases, software will cost you less than a professional business plan service.

There are some times you might want to go with a service though. If time is tight, you might find that it’s worth the cost of a service. Or if you’ve got big investor meetings on the horizon, you might want the expertise and polish that a professional service can offer.

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether business plan software or a business plan service will work better for your company.

Methodology

We ranked business plan software and tools based on features, pricing and plans, and connections to project management and other services. The value of each plan and service, along with what it offers, was a big consideration in our rankings, and we looked to see if what was offered was useful to small businesses or just extra. The final thing we looked at was the ease of use of the software to see if it's too complex for small businesses.

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources 1. Harvard Business Review, “ Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed .” Accessed March 13, 2023.

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Best business plan software of 2024

For planning your business finance

  • The best business plan software in full

Best overall

Best budget, best established, best for speed, other business plan software to consider.

  • How we test

The best business plan software makes it simple and easy to plan your business finances in order to present them to a bank or investors.

The best business plan software of 2024 in full 1. Best overall 2. Best budget 3. Best basic 4. Best established 5. Best for speed 6. Other business plan software to consider 7. FAQs 8. How we test

The whole point of a business plan is that it allows you to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, not least via your Unique Selling Point (USP) ,and make product or service comparisons with competitors.

Of course, even the best business plan relies on estimates and guesstimates, as it's impossible to predict market changes, developments, and future performance under such conditions. 

Ultimately, though, a business plan will demonstratively prove why your business is a solid enough investment to risk putting money into, and shows that you have properly and thoroughly researched your market, and details the real potential of a new business opportunities.

Here then are the best business plan software providers currently available.

You can also look at our featured best free software for small business .

The best business plan software in full:

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

Bizplan is the online business planning tool that claims usage of 30,000 startup founders from the Startups.co platform. They use a guided creator that can break the big project down into the component pieces that get tracked with a Progress Tracker, and expert guidance each step of the way including templates that can be dropped in, and completed, along with simple integration of visuals along the way.

Additional resources are also provided via the Bizplan Academy, with lessons on relevant topics, for example, “Building a Brand: How to Tell a Powerful Brand Story,” and “Critical Path Your Way to Higher Revenues,” among the many offerings. Those that need even more assistance also can take advantage of an expert consultation from a financial expert.

2. PlanGuru

PlanGuru is a comprehensive, and powerful software package in the business planning space. Education is provided via a series of case studies at their PlanGuru University and a whole slew of video tutorials.

The feature set includes flexible budgeting that can handle a simple small business, or a larger multi-department operating budget, and financial forecasting that uses multiple methods, including intelligent and turn-key methods - twenty methods in total. Historical results can also be imported with the general ledger import utility which can then applied to produce a rolling forecast. They also offer PlanGuru Launch, a service to bring in expertise and is charged per hour of assistance.

A significant downside is Planguru charges a higher cost than other software options. The cheapest option is around $75 per month for one business entity when billed annually. While there is no free trial, PlanGuru does offer a 30 day money back guarantee. 

Our expert review:

Enloop is a great choice for business planning software for the cash strapped business as it is the rare offering that has a free tier. Step up up to the next tier, and this is no barebones product, as it has over 100 currency symbols, can automatically generate bank-ready financial reports, and even has automated text writing that can sync with financial data to turn it into text. There is also a real time performance score assigned, that dynamically changes as the business plan is strengthened.  

The plans start with the Free tier, which is limited to a single business plan with simple text, no images, and does not offer any advanced features. The next plan up is the Detailed plan, that supports three business plans, and offers a significant 55% discount when paid annually, making it even better value. This plan costs around $20 per month. For a more comprehensive package you can buy the Performance plan costing around $40 per month.

Read our full Enloop business plan software review .

4. LivePlan

LivePlan is business planning software that offers a simple pricing scheme as there is only a single plan to choose from. As they have a 15+ year track record, they offer a clean and simple interface, that can create business plans that look like they were done by an expert consultant, and the software includes a live dashboard that can track day-to-day performance. Those with writer’s block will benefit from the over 500 included sample plans that can be turned to for inspiration.  

Rather than complicate things with too many tiers to choose from, LivePlan only has a single plan which can be paid for monthly or annually.

5. Business Sorter

Business Sorter promises to simplify and speed up business planning and claims to be able to flesh out a plan in an hour or two, via a novel 273 card sort system that covers many common situations.

The ability to reword cards is included, or also to add cards to the already expansive deck, so no worries if there is not a pre-made card for your situation. Unlike some sites that have videos, the educational resources here are provided as PDFs and Word files, which can be quicker to access, but harder to follow for some learners. 

The lowest tier plan, Basic is fully featured, and includes up to three team leaders. 

Read our full Business Sorter review .

We've only covered some of the most popular business plan software platforms out there, but there are a number of other notables worth mentioning, plus a wide variety of providers of business plan templates. Below we'll briefly cover a range of some of the additional options out there that are worth considering to get your business plan right.

Go Business Plans is more of a consultancy than a software solution, but is worth mentioning for the simple fact that it's one of America's biggest business plan companies. While software might be able to do the job for you, if you're looking for significant funding, it's probably useful to get some professional advice, not least in terms of strategic planning, feasibility studies, and financial projections to ensure you have a solid base for your business plan.

Wise Business Plans provides a very wide range of templates to work from in constructing a business plan. These are particularly designed with funding in mind, no matter what kind of business you run. What is especially helpful is that Wise doesn’t simply deal with business plan templates for a diverse range of business types, the company also provides plan templates for franchises and non-profits.

Plan Writers  is another bespoke service that essentially listens to what you want and then puts the plan together for you. Again, this technically falls outside of business plan "software", but the chances are you'll use a software package as a platform to build from, and Plan Writers can then help you build up from that base.

Bplans is another provider of business plan templates, but goes beyond that with additional pitch and SWOT analysis templates. There are also business plan guides, industry reports, and a free course on writing a business plan. Bplans also publishes a lot of free-to-use articles on business planning, financials, and tax reporting, to help ensure you can keep your figures and projections accurate and compliant.

A business plan is essentially your roadmap to profitability from an initial investment. Whether it's your own money, or a loan from a bank, it's still a good idea to set up a business plan for yourself.

Main things to look to are a SWOT analysis to provide an idea of your business idea's strengths and weaknesses, as well as identify a unique selling point (USP) that will give your business an edge.

While business plans inevitably demand the use of figures, and while these can be impossible to be accurate with, at least by making intelligent guesses you can set yourself targets to work towards.

That's another common feature of a plan, so that specific periods you can review your business progress and make adjustments to your plan as required. This allows you to use real figures for your projections, allowing you to better plan ahead.

You may also be interested in our featured business guides on best business laptops , best business computers and best business smartphones .

Which business plan software is best for you?

When deciding which business plan software to use, first consider what your actual needs are, as sometimes free platforms may only provide basic options, so if you need to use advanced tools you may find a paid platform is much more worthwhile. Additionally, free and budget software options can sometimes prove limited when it comes to the variety of tools available, while higher-end software can really cater for every need, so do ensure you have a good idea of which features you think you may require.

How we tested the best business plan software

To test for the best business plan software we first set up an account with the relevant software platform, whether as a download or as an online service. We then tested the service to see how the software could be used for different purposes and in different situations. The aim was to push each business plan software platform to see how useful its basic tools were and also how easy it was to get to grips with any more advanced tools.

Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar .

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Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.

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Business Plan Software

Business Plan Software

Trusted By Over 30 Million Users & Leading Brands

Why edrawmax to make your business plan, write and design custom business plans for free with easy-to-customize templates..

Strategic planning: A business plan software helps plan a business's long-term strategy for growth and expansion.

Finances distribution: You need finance and capital to start and run a business; a business plan allows you to allocate the financial resources in the right place.

Marketing strategy: Marketing is the key to running a successful business. A business plan enables you to follow a definite course to grab funds, shares, and customers.

for every need

Creating business plans is a breeze

Professionally designed templates: EdrawMax offers users pre-designed business plan templates that require customization.

Handy canvas and symbols: The canvas is easy to handle, and symbols are dragged and dropped to the page; there is no need to follow unnecessary steps.

Eye-catchy brand colors: A business plan has a background theme and a business logo that reflects your brand image. EdrawMax provides a custom brand color palette to choose a custom color among all the color shades.

create with EdrawMax

Share your Business Strategy

Share group folder: A group folder allows you to share a folder having files with your team members. You can add or remove any member from the folder.

Multiple export options: A business plan is shared with partners, employees, and stakeholders in different file formats. EdrawMax provides multiple formats like PDF, JPG, XLSX, PPTX, DOCX, HTML, SVG, VSDX, and PNG.

Send on social media: Share your Business Plan on different social media platforms and enable yourself to deliver all your business information to the relevant teams.

collaboration

Deliver an engaging presentation

Accuracy checker: A business plan shout not have any mistakes and discrepancies because it is forwarded to officials. EdrawMax provides you with a spell-checker tool to achieve a mistake-free plan.

Find and review data: EdrawMax has a full-text search tool to compare your data and text across the document.

Detailed elaboration: Press the F5 key to enable full-screen mode. It will help you explain each point in detail and with more clarity.

presentation

More Features Of Business Plan Software

I make all the diagrams and maps using EdrawMax comprehensive tools and symbols, and these help me illustrate all my ideas and plans. I use connecting tools and drag and drop the symbols to the canvas. The export options have made my work a lot easier, and I can also export all my file into Visio format without any inconveniences.

I love how it is so easy to use and handle. The customer service is helpful, and I am learning new things to do with it. It has essential features like a spell-checker, community comment tool, team management.

The data import and export feature is so easy to do in EdrawMax. I can add my own saved data to the maps and diagrams, plus I can draw the required symbols if I don't find ones in the library. Using EdrawMax in multiple systems has made me work more efficiently.

How to Make a Business Plan?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a business plan and why is it important.

  • Initiate with Your Business Concept: Lay the Groundwork: Start by introducing your business idea into Plannit AI's Business Plan Generator. This first step is crucial, as it sets the tone for a tailored, insightful business plan that truly resonates with your vision. Capture the Essence: Our platform is designed to grasp the nuances of your concept, ensuring that the generated plan accurately reflects the core and potential of your business.
  • Navigate Through the AI-Guided Questionnaire: Tailored Interactive Experience: Plannit AI’s AI-guided questionnaire is your interactive guide through the planning process. It meticulously gathers information about your business's objectives, strategies, and market positioning, ensuring a comprehensive and reflective plan. Intelligent Feedback and Suggestions: As you progress through the questionnaire, benefit from smart prompts and suggestions, ensuring that your plan is not just detailed but also strategically sound and aligned with industry standards.
  • Generate Your Plan with Advanced AI: Intuitive Plan Creation: With the questionnaire complete, Plannit AI's advanced algorithms intelligently analyze your responses. They then craft a detailed, customizable, and strategically aligned business plan, providing you with a structured, coherent, and actionable format. Benefit from AI-Powered Insights: Plannit AI offers AI-driven insights and suggestions, ensuring your plan is not just a document but a strategic tool equipped with tailored AI prompts and an in-app plan editor. Get inspired by browsing through our sample business plans, a collection of successful strategies across various industries.
  • Finalize Your Plan with Confidence: Dynamic Adaptation and Refinement: Plannit AI recognizes that a business plan is a living document. Our platform allows for continuous adaptation and refinement, ensuring your strategy remains agile, relevant, and aligned with your evolving business goals. Professional Presentation and Sharing: Once your plan meets your standards, utilize Plannit AI's export features to present your plan professionally. Choose between various formats for exporting your business plan, ready to impress stakeholders, attract investors, or guide your team. Review and Adapt: Ensure your business plan is a living document, ready to evolve with your growing business. Plannit AI's dynamic platform allows you to adapt your strategy as new opportunities or challenges arise.

How to Write a Business Plan?

  • Roadmap for Success: At its core, a business plan acts as a strategic guide, providing detailed steps on how your business will achieve its objectives. It helps you navigate the startup phase, manage growth effectively, and tackle unforeseen challenges with a well-thought-out strategy.
  • Securing Funding: For startups and businesses looking to expand, a business plan is crucial for securing loans or attracting investors. It demonstrates to potential financial backers that your business has a clear vision, a solid strategy for profitability, and a plan for delivering returns on their investment.
  • Informed Decision-Making: A well-prepared business plan offers valuable insights into your market, competition, and potential challenges. This information is vital for making informed decisions, from day-to-day operations to long-term strategic shifts.
  • Market Analysis and Strategy: It allows you to conduct an in-depth analysis of your target market, understand customer needs, and position your product or service effectively. The marketing strategy outlined in your business plan helps in identifying the best channels and tactics to reach your audience and achieve market penetration.
  • Financial Planning: One of the most critical components of a business plan is the financial forecast. It outlines your funding requirements, expected revenue, profit margins, and cash flow projections. This section is essential for budgeting, financial management, and ensuring the financial viability of your business.
  • Goal Setting and Performance Measurement: A business plan sets clear, measurable goals and objectives. It provides a framework for monitoring performance, measuring success, and making necessary adjustments to stay on track.

Who Can Benefit from Plannit AI?

  • Aspiring Entrepreneurs: If you're at the idea stage, looking to transform your vision into a viable business, Plannit AI offers the tools and guidance to bring your concept to life. Our platform helps you articulate your business idea, define your target market, and develop a solid plan to turn your dream into reality.
  • Students and Educators: For students delving into the intricacies of business planning and educators teaching the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, Plannit AI serves as an invaluable resource. It provides a practical, hands-on tool for learning and teaching how to create detailed business plans, analyze markets, and understand financials in a real-world context.
  • Startup Founders: In the dynamic startup environment, Plannit AI is the ideal partner for founders looking to pivot quickly, secure funding, or understand their competitive landscape. With our AI-driven insights and market analysis tools, startups can make informed decisions and adapt their strategies to thrive in competitive markets.
  • Small Business Owners: For small business owners seeking to optimize their operations, expand their customer base, or explore new markets, Plannit AI offers targeted solutions. Our platform simplifies the planning process, enabling owners to focus on growth while managing the day-to-day challenges of running their business.
  • Consultants and Freelancers: Consultants and freelancers specializing in business development, strategic planning, or financial advising will find Plannit AI a powerful addition to their toolkit. It allows them to provide clients with comprehensive, data-driven business plans and strategies, enhancing the value of their services.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: Leaders of non-profit organizations can leverage Plannit AI to plan initiatives, secure funding, and manage resources more efficiently. Our platform helps non-profits articulate their mission, set achievable goals, and measure their impact, ensuring they can make a difference in their communities.
  • Innovators and Inventors: Individuals looking to commercialize innovative products or technologies can use Plannit AI to navigate the complexities of bringing new ideas to market. From patent strategies to go-to-market plans, our platform covers all bases, ensuring innovators can focus on what they do best.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Government Agencies: Government and SBA backed entities can greatly benefit from integrating Plannit AI into their services, enhancing their ability to support a larger number of clients more efficiently. By facilitating quicker, more in-depth business plan development, these organizations can spend more time assisting with plan execution and less time on creation, ultimately serving their communities more effectively.
  • Anyone with a Business Idea: Ultimately, Plannit AI is for anyone with a business idea, regardless of industry, experience, or stage of business development. Our mission is to democratize business planning, making it accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyone.

Why is Plannit AI the best choice for an AI business planning software?

  • Interactive Questionnaire and ChatGPT Integration: Plannit AI transforms the business planning process into an engaging conversation. Through our advanced ChatGPT integration, we offer a questionnaire that dynamically adapts to your responses, ensuring your plan is personalized, comprehensive, and aligned with your business goals.
  • Dynamic Planning Environment: Unlike static templates provided by many, Plannit AI introduces a living platform that grows with your business. It features real-time updates, strategic insights, and a feedback mechanism that keeps your business plan current and actionable.
  • Extensive Educational Resources: Our Education Center is packed with articles, guides, and sample plans to bolster your planning process. It's designed to arm you with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of your industry confidently.
  • Enhanced Collaboration and Customization: Recognizing the collaborative essence of business planning, Plannit AI supports team efforts with multi-user editing, annotations, and feedback features, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your strategy.
  • Customer Success Stories: Our users' achievements are a testament to Plannit AI's effectiveness. These success stories illustrate how diverse businesses have utilized our platform for strategic planning and growth.
  • Free and Comprehensive Access: Plannit AI is committed to accessibility, offering our full suite of planning tools for free. This ensures every entrepreneur, regardless of budget, has access to premium planning resources.
  • Tailored Business Plan Creation: Our platform stands out with its tailored approach, featuring customizable templates that directly cater to your business type and industry, making plan creation straightforward and relevant.

Take The First Step Towards Success With our AI-Generated Business Plans

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Best free task management software in 2024

Mehdi Punjwani

Sierra Campbell

Sierra Campbell

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Published 7:24 a.m. UTC Feb. 15, 2024

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A good task management software will give you the tools you need to organize projects for your business and help individuals, teams and businesses stay organized and productive. They offer a range of features and capabilities depending on the complexities of your business and projects, allowing you to set deadlines, assign tasks to team members, allocate resources and track and report on progress.

Finding the best task management software for your business means considering a range of factors, like the core features on offer, the customer service you’ll get and the ability to scale up according to your needs. We’ve tried and tested some of the biggest platforms available to give you our list of best task management software in 2024.

Best free task management software

  • Notion : Best for flexibility.
  • ClickUp : Best for customization.
  • Trello : Best for automation.
  • Hive : Best for collaboration.
  • Zoho Projects : Best for startups using Zoho.
  • Teamwork : Best for client task management.
  • Monday : Best for individuals and freelancers.
  • Asana : Best for complex tasks.
  • Podio : Best for app building.
  • GoodDay : Best for scaling up.

Why trust our small business experts

Our team of experts evaluates hundreds of business products and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best product for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 62 companies reviewed.
  • 164 products reviewed.
  • 2,028 data points analyzed.

Best for flexibility

Notion

Cheapest paid plan (billed monthly)

Number of users, number of projects/tasks, what you should know.

Notion is a versatile task management platform that gives you a high degree of control and customization even on its free plan. With an abundance of views and formats, including Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendar views and to-do lists, it offers users multiple ways to track and organize projects. You can also make use of thousands of templates built by Notion and its users, catering to an array of health and fitness, work and office and day-to-day home management needs.

You won’t need to pay anything to get unlimited pages and workflows as an individual, but you’ll need to upgrade to give multiple users full functionality. While you can upload unlimited files on the free plan, you’ll be limited to 5 MB per file, as well as a seven-day history and one synced database.

We’d recommend it if you want to use one platform to manage a variety of project and task types with flexible views and displays; it’s particularly good for content creators.

Pros and cons

  • Multiple views, including Kanban boards, Gantt charts and to-do lists.
  • Thousands of versatile templates for things like health and fitness, work and home.
  • Free version offers individuals unlimited pages and workflows.
  • Custom automation features only available on paid plans.
  • Maximum file upload of 5 MB on free plan.
  • Limited admin and security features on free plan.

Best for customization

ClickUp

ClickUp’s free platform gives you a highly capable and customizable task management platform with an unlimited number of tasks and members. It also offers 24/7 customer service on all plans. You’ll be able to view tasks in unlimited lists, boards and calendars, but you’ll only get 60 uses of Gantt charts, timelines and workloads.

The free plan also allows custom statuses and up to 20 custom task types, as well as other useful features like multiple assignees, checklists, dependencies and a basic custom field manager. However, you’ll only be able to create five “spaces” as part of the free plan — unlimited spaces are only available on paid plans. There are also no time-tracking features and very limited other reporting capabilities.

  • Free version offers unlimited free plan members and tasks.
  • A range of views, including Kanban boards and Gantt charts.
  • 24/7 customer support on all plans.
  • Limits on how many views, custom fields and workloads you can use.
  • No time tracking features.
  • Only five ‘spaces’ on free plan.

Best for automation

Trello

While Trello’s free platform only offers its Kanban-style board view, its two main highlights are its automation services and unlimited power-ups. With its Butler automation, you’ll be able to create rules, buttons and commands, and repetitive actions are recognized with suggested automations that help increase productivity. Third-party apps you can integrate include Slack, Jira, Gmail, Microsoft Teams and Google Drive.

You’ll be limited to 10 MB file uploads and only 10 boards per workspace, though with unlimited storage and workspaces for all plans, this isn’t too restrictive. It’s not ideal if you want to see projects and tasks in calendar or timeline views, but as a basic task manager with smart automation tools, it can be a useful platform for individuals and small businesses.

  • Very straightforward and easy to use.
  • Built-in automation features, including an automation bot called Butler.
  • Unlimited power-up feature lets you integrate third-party apps.
  • File uploads are limited to 10 MB per file.
  • You only get up to 10 boards per workspace.
  • Limited view options.

Best for collaboration

Hive

Hive comes with its own native communication tools, allowing for straightforward collaboration with up to 10 workspace members on its free plan. As a task manager, it’s fairly capable, offering unlimited tasks and subtasks as well as multiple views such as Kanban, Gantt, calendars and tables. However, you’ll only get two pages and 100 workflows, and while Kanban views are unlimited, the free plan only offers 100 uses of Gantt, calendar and table views.

Your ability to customize projects and tasks will also be fairly restricted with no custom fields or labels, and your storage limit on the free plan will be 200 MB overall. Its free plan also comes without a few other features, such as AI assists, custom dashboards and analytics. We’d recommend it as a simple free task manager for small teams working together that will benefit from its native collaborative tools.

  • Native collaboration and communication tools.
  • Multiple views and layouts.
  • Unlimited tasks and sub-tasks.
  • 200 MB storage limit.
  • 10 projects and two pages on free plan.
  • No custom project fields or task labels.

Best for startups using Zoho

Zoho projects.

Zoho Projects

Zoho offers a project manager as part of its larger suite of tools and products, offering a free version for up to three users as well as a 10-day free trial on its paid plans. You’ll be able to manage two projects, create feeds, share documents and custom statuses and set up task dependencies within projects. It’s particularly useful for startups already making use of other Zoho products like CRM, Meeting and Sprints, all of which integrate into the free platform.

You can also use third-party app integrations for Microsoft Teams and Office 365, Slack, Dropbox, Zendesk and Zapier. However, there are some significant limitations to the free version, including limited customization — you can’t create custom fields or views, and there are only basic reporting capabilities.

  • Integrates with Zoho CRM, Meeting and Sprints.
  • Straightforward and easy to use.
  • Offers useful core features, including document sharing, subtasks and custom statuses.
  • Only three users and two projects on free plan.
  • No Gantt charts, custom views, time tracking or custom fields.

Best for client task management

Teamwork

Teamwork will be particularly useful for agencies needing to manage client tasks, as it comes with built-in billable time-tracking features and estimated time management. It also offers client-level insights and client-company management, though you’ll only get client users with premium paid plans. With Teamwork, you’ll also get a range of automation features, including automatic Slack updates, HubSpot deals and Microsoft Teams messages.

It does have drawbacks in the shape of limited reporting capabilities — while all plans come with a dashboard, only premium paid plans offer reports on status, portfolio health, time, utilization and profitability. You also won’t have any phone, live chat or email support options on its free plan.

  • Billable time-tracking and invoicing features useful for agencies.
  • Client views and management features.
  • Wide range of automation features.
  • No phone, live chat or email support.
  • Limited reporting and customization options.
  • No client users on free plan.

Best for individuals and freelancers

Monday

Monday is a popular task management platform with businesses worldwide, but we’d recommend its free plan specifically for individuals and freelancers managing their businesses. It offers a straightforward Kanban interface only, with over 200 templates available, so you’ll be able to create up to three boards with two users and unlimited documents.

However, Monday’s free plan is missing a number of wider features like timeline, Gantt and calendar views, as well as offering no integrations or automations. It’s a relatively simplistic platform compared to others, so we’d recommend it more for individuals than teams that will need more advanced collaboration and reporting capabilities.

  • Over 200 templates available.
  • Apps for iOS and Android.
  • Intuitive and easy to use interface.
  • No integrations on free version.
  • Only offers Kanban view.

Best for complex tasks

Asana

We’d recommend Asana’s powerful platform as an ideal choice for small businesses managing complex tasks or projects with plenty of moving parts. With unlimited tasks, projects, file storage, assignees and messages alongside multiple views such as boards, calendars and lists all included on its free plan, it’s a capable piece of software. You’ll also have access to over 100 free third-party integrations such as Microsoft Teams, Adobe Creative Cloud, Okta and Tableau.

However, you won’t be able to use timelines, Gantt views, goals or portfolios with the free plan, nor time-tracking, workflows or various automation features. The free plan is also fairly limited when it comes to reporting, with only status updates and CSV and PDF exports available.

  • Unlimited project management essential features.
  • Multiple views available.
  • Over 100 free integrations.
  • Limited reporting features.
  • No 24/7 support.

Best for app building

Podio

Podio offers a unique solution for businesses that will benefit from building their own customized project management apps to suit their specific needs. As well as the ability to design a bespoke task manager for your team, you’ll have access to hundreds of user-created apps online. It allows you to keep all important aspects of your business and projects in one central place, depending on the requirements of you and your team.

However, its free version is limited in the other features it offers — including the number of items and client users you can support. It also doesn’t offer automated workflows or visual reports, so keep this in mind if you’re considering Podio.

  • You can build your own customizable apps for project management.
  • You’ll also have access to hundreds of pre-made apps.
  • Live chat support available.
  • Limited features on the free plan.
  • Takes a while to set up and customize to your exact specifications.

Best for scaling up

GoodDay

With a robust set of features and capabilities as well as relatively affordable price plans for upgrading, we’d recommend GoodDay for businesses looking to scale up their operations. Its free version is already quite powerful, offering unlimited projects and tasks for up to 15 users, with views including lists, boards, tables, calendars, event summaries and portfolios. You can customize views, priorities, workflows and statuses, as well as set up dependencies, reminders and to-do lists.

Other customization options are only available on paid plans, such as task, project and user fields, as well as task types and IDs. Additionally, many security features and all CRM features are only available when you upgrade, but with the next price plan up only costing $6 per month, it’s an affordable choice for scaling up.

  • Unlimited projects and tasks.
  • Unlimited views, with most available on free plan.
  • Powerful features for big businesses with affordable plans for scaling up.
  • Many customization options unavailable on free plan.
  • No finance, time tracking, chats or automation.

Best task management software comparison

Methodology

We extensively research the key competitors within an industry to determine the best products and services for your business. Our experts identify the factors that matter most to business owners, including pricing, features and customer support, to ensure that our recommendations offer well-rounded products that will meet the needs of various small businesses.

We collect extensive data to narrow our best list to reputable, easy-to-use products with stand-out features at a reasonable price point. And we look at user reviews to ensure that business owners like you are satisfied with our top picks’ services. We use the same rubric to assess companies within a particular space so you can confidently follow our blueprint to the best free task management software.

The best task management software has positive user reviews on customer review sites and app stores. Task management software companies should provide customers with fast and reliable support. Using a combination of phone support, live chat and knowledge bases, customers should be able to quickly resolve issues 24/7.

Task management software should have role assignment features, timelines and dependencies. It should also allow businesses to use customizable templates, track expenses and track milestones.

And the best task management software should offer client access, billing and invoice capabilities and budgeting features.

What is task management software and how does it work?

Task management software is a digital tool you can use as an individual or a business to manage, organize and prioritize tasks. While levels of features and capabilities will vary between platforms, many also offer the ability to communicate between team members, share files and updates and track progress toward objectives. 

You’ll be able to use task management software to create and assign tasks, set deadlines, allocate resources and allow for collaboration between colleagues. These tools can help you and your business increase productivity and efficiency. However, it’s important to be aware of how complex your needs are. 

Some task management programs can be complex and could end up reducing your productivity and organization, which is why it’s so important to find the right platform for your needs.

Benefits of free task management software

Using task management software can offer a number of benefits for individuals and businesses, including:

  • Free forever: A good free task management software will offer unlimited projects or workflows without any extra costs — not just a free trial before you have to pay.
  • Productivity: Task management platforms can increase your team’s productivity through automation, progress tracking and reporting, saving time on repetitive tasks.
  • Centralized workflow: You can use task management software to keep all workflows centralized, allowing easy access for all team members and collaborators to stay updated and informed.
  • Collaboration: You’ll be able to clearly assign roles and allocate resources on projects and tasks to different team members, and many platforms also allow team members to work together and communicate. 
  • Manage big projects: Complex and lengthy projects can be broken down into separate tasks and workflows with multiple teams and team members. 
  • Remote workers: If you rely on remote workers or freelancers, many task management platforms allow all team members to collaborate online from any location.

Who needs task management software?

Task management software can prove useful for a variety of individuals and businesses. You might be a freelancer with a number of client tasks to manage or a hobbyist running a side hustle — in which case, a free task manager will be ideal. 

Likewise, small teams and businesses can also benefit from using task management software to organize and track workflow progress for team projects. A free plan or trial period offers a great way to try out different platforms and products so you can find one that suits your needs best before committing to a paid plan with more features and capabilities required by your business.

How to choose the best task management software

Choosing the best free task management software for your business means considering a range of factors and how each of these will best suit your needs. You will need to think about the core features offered by each platform, as well as whether it plugs into any existing software you have and how easy and intuitive it is to use. 

Additionally, you should look into the customer support options each platform offers, as this will be crucial in case things go wrong and your work is at risk.

Key features to look for

Levels of complexity and customization will vary between platforms, but in general, you should look out for the following features as part of your task management software:

  • Sub-tasks: Key to keeping big projects organized, task managers should allow you to split tasks and assign different deadlines and workers to each sub-task.
  • Views and visualizations: You should also be able to see your tasks and projects in different views, like Kanban dashboards or Gantt charts. You may find these to be limited in free versions of some platforms, so check price plans to ensure you’re getting what you need.
  • Integration: If you have any existing software or hardware in use for your business, such as finance and accounting apps, design tools or communication platforms, it’s worth seeing if these will plug into the task management software you want. It helps keep everything synchronized and centralized.
  • Tracking and reporting: Your task manager should also allow you to track task and project progress against deadlines and objectives, as well as generate reports. 
  • Automation: Some platforms will even offer automation services that let you set up automatic tracking and reporting.
  • Collaboration: Lastly, if you’re managing a team’s workload, it’s vital they can work together, so look for task management software that allows for communication and role delegation.

Ease of use

Some task management tools will be relatively simple and easy to use, with intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces that allow for straightforward organization. However, others offer more complex capabilities, including multiple views like Gantt charts, calendars, lists and galleries, automated reporting and collaboration between multiple team members. 

Consider what you’ll need the software for, how many people and tasks you’ll be managing and what kind of insights you’ll want when making your choice.

Security 

You should also factor in any security requirements you might have, especially if you’re a big organization or you use third-party apps, providers or even freelancers. Being able to control access on multiple levels may be particularly important. Additionally, consider things like two-factor authentication, secure sharing and data protection when choosing platforms.

Customer service

If something goes wrong with your task manager, it can affect your business’s ability to complete projects and assure stakeholders of progress. Customer service is a key part of being able to resolve issues, so look for providers that offer both round-the-clock availability and instant contact by phone or live chat as a priority.

How much does task management software cost?

When looking for free task management software, consider whether it’s truly free forever — meaning you’ll have access to all the features on the free plan forever without having to pay. 

While this might mean many advanced features are hidden behind paywalls, you’ll at least be able to rely on the software for your basic needs without restriction. This is in contrast to free trials that often give you access to the entire platform for a limited time, after which you won’t be able to use it without paying.

If you’re looking to try a free plan in order to get a feel for a specific task management software before committing to a paid plan, you’ll likely be more on the lookout for usability as well as scalability. Consider which paid plans offer the most bang for your buck to narrow down your options, but focus on which free software feels the most natural to use for your business. 

You may find that some software platforms offer prices on a per-user basis while others offer a set number of users for each plan. Others may even have a minimum-user requirement, so if they charge a set price per user and require at least three users, you’ll need to pay three times the price you see given as a minimum.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The best free task management software will depend entirely on your needs and requirements as an individual or business. ClickUp and Notion both offer great customization features, with Notion especially good for content creators.

Paid task management software plans offer a range of extra benefits, including more users or projects, additional features and advanced integrations and security. These will often be more useful for bigger teams and companies managing complex projects with multiple moving parts and stakeholders that need to be kept informed. 

When prioritizing tasks in project management, you should consider the resources available, any dependencies on the task being completed and the urgency of the request. 

Task management software lets you manage multiple tasks at work by allowing you to create, organize and assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress and, if required, add sub-tasks. All tasks are kept in one place and accessible for anyone who needs to see them, often in digestible formats like calendars, boards and timelines.

Improving task management skills will require you to be disciplined and attentive to detail in order to get the best from task management software and boost your productivity. You should: 

  • Focus on prioritizing tasks on your to-do list.
  • Create a manageable schedule for delivery with realistic deadlines. 
  • Ensure you’re communicating with stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page.

The best software will make this easy and help you manage your workload efficiently and effectively — but it’s made even easier when you know you’ve picked the right task management software for your requirements.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Mehdi Punjwani

Mehdi is a writer and editor with many years of personal finance expertise under his belt. He's a spirited money-saver, with a passion for making personal finance accessible and manageable. When he isn't writing, Mehdi likes to read about history and travel, hike along coastlines and in forests, and watch his beloved team Manchester United underperform.

Sierra Campbell is a small business editor for USA Today Blueprint. She specializes in writing, editing and fact-checking content centered around helping businesses. She has worked as a digital content and show producer for several local TV stations, an editor for U.S. News & World Report and a freelance writer and editor for many companies. Sierra prides herself in delivering accurate and up-to-date information to readers. Her expertise includes credit card processing companies, e-commerce platforms, payroll software, accounting software and virtual private networks (VPNs). She also owns Editing by Sierra, where she offers editing services to writers of all backgrounds, including self-published and traditionally published authors.

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

Business Eric Rosenberg

How to Write a Cleaning Service Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

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Elon Glucklich

7 min. read

Updated February 17, 2024

Free Download: Cleaning Service Business Plan Template

With busy schedules and job demands, not everyone has time to clean up after themselves. 

That’s why nearly 10 percent of Americans hired residential cleaning services as of 2020, and the demand for cleaners is rising. And despite a resistance to return to the office, commercial cleaning remains a $100 billion industry . Building owners still need pristine spaces if a lease or sale opportunity arises.

If you’re getting into the cleaning industry, or trying to grow your existing business, you’ll need to do some upfront work. That’s where a business plan comes in. This article will help you ensure that you’re meeting the right market opportunity, and that your business brings in enough revenue to be profitable long-term. If you need a bank loan or investment , a business plan will be crucial.

Are you looking for a free, downloadable cleaning service sample business plan PDF to help start your own business plan, Bplans has you covered.

  • What should you include in a cleaning service business plan?

Keep your plan concise, and focus only on the most important sections for your business. Your plan will likely include some or all of these sections:

  • Executive summary
  • Market analysis
  • Products and services
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Company overview
  • Financial plan

It’s especially important for a cleaning service business plan to consider the wide range of services and related products you may offer. Your business might provide specialized cleaning services, or sell eco-friendly cleaning products along with cleaning homes or office spaces.

You’ll need to detail your strategies for promoting each of these products and services to maximize the revenue you generate from each client.

Here’s an example of a cleaning service business plan outline.

A sample outline for a cleaning service business plan.

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  • The 8 elements of an effective cleaning service business plan

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is a broad overview of your plan. Without going over one to two pages, outline all of the components of your cleaning service business. 

Include a mission statement in your executive summary. This simple, action-oriented statement explains your company’s purpose. Maybe your goal is to grow into your area’s leading residential cleaning service. Or to expand the market for eco-friendly cleaning solutions. It summarizes what your company does for customers, employees, and owners. It also helps someone reading your business understand in greater detail what sets your business apart from competitors, and how it will be profitable.

If you’re writing your plan for a bank or investor, they will start with the executive summary. So it’s where you’ll want to make a good first impression. Try to draw them in right away by showing you have a clear value proposition.

2. Market analysis

The market analysis section is where you make the case that your business can generate enough demand to be successful. To do that, you’ll need to thoroughly assess your market, identifying key trends in the region’s home or commercial real estate sectors that might indicate a need for your services.

Evaluate the size of your potential market , including residential and commercial segments. You should also analyze the competition . Start by identifying the number of existing providers and their service offerings, and highlight any gaps you observe in the market that your business can fill.

3. Cleaning services and products

This section should detail the cleaning services and products you offer. These may include various residential and commercial cleaning services, like standard cleaning, deep cleaning, specialized disinfection services, or eco-friendly cleaning options.

If you plan to use specific cleaning products or specialized equipment, also detail these. Emphasize any services or products that set your business apart from the competition, like allergen-free cleaning services for homes or exclusively green cleaning products.

4 . Marketing and sales strategy

Your marketing and sales strategy is how you put your market research into action to attract and retain customers for your cleaning service.

Start by identifying the most effective marketing channels for reaching your target market, such as online advertising, social media , local flyers, or partnerships with real estate agencies.

To reach the broadest customer base possible, outline your digital and traditional marketing strategies. Discuss the importance of a strong online presence, including a user-friendly website and active social media profiles to build brand awareness and credibility. 

You should also provide information about your pricing strategy , and whether you’ll offer special promotions or loyalty programs to encourage repeat business and referrals.

5. Milestones

The milestones section is where you outline the key objectives for your business and timelines for achieving them. This section can be short, with individual milestones listed as bullet points.

Milestones could include securing initial funding, acquiring necessary licenses, launching your marketing campaign, reaching a certain number of clients, or hitting revenue targets. Be sure to list when you expect to achieve each milestone, and which members of your team will be responsible for reaching them.

6. Company overview

The company summary gives a brief overview of your cleaning business. Include the legal structure , target service area, and history of your business if it already exists.

If you’re writing your plan because you’re seeking funding for your business from a bank, clearly state how much you’ll need, how you plan to use it, and how it will benefit the business. Funding uses could include purchasing new equipment to expand your services, or hiring additional staff to widen your service area.

You can also include a brief management team section covering your key employees, their roles, responsibilities, qualifications, and experience. 

If you plan to contract with cleaning crews instead of hiring employees, describe how this arrangement will work and why you think it will benefit your business.

7. Financial plan and forecasts

Your financial plan should present detailed financial projections, including revenue , costs , and profitability .

If you’re a new business, list your startup costs , including initial equipment, supplies, licensing, and marketing investments. Also, outline your funding sources, such as loans, investments, or personal savings going into the business.

Include a cash flow statement , income statement , and balance sheet . The financial statements and projections should demonstrate your cleaning service’s potential to generate sustainable profits over the long term.

8. Appendix

The appendix is an optional section for you to add supporting information or documents that don’t fit within the plan. This could include market research data, lease agreements, employee contracts, or licensing and permit documents.

  • Writing an effective cleaning service business plan: Key considerations

When writing your cleaning service business plan, focus on these areas to increase your likelihood of success.

1. Offer diverse service offerings

The cleaning industry caters to a wide array of customer needs, from residential homes with regular upkeep, to commercial spaces that need specialized sanitation. Offering services to the broadest customer base you can manage will help you expand your share of the market .

2. Pricing strategy  

Your pricing strategy is vital to balance attracting and retaining customers to ensure your business remains profitable. 

Extensive market research into competitors should help you understand what represents a competitive pricing structure in your target area. Offering flexible pricing models, like flat rates for certain services or discounts for recurring appointments, can also appeal to a broader customer base. Just make sure your forecasts show that you’ll generate more revenue from repeat business through any discounts you decide to offer.

3. Protect your reputation

Trust and reputation are crucial in the cleaning service industry, where small mistakes can cost you customers. Consider in your marketing plan whether your branding and customer feedback policies emphasize your commitment to quality work and reliable service. And make sure to check how your business is being reviewed online.

4. Professional training and standards

To achieve a reputation as a high-quality cleaning service, your standards as a business owner need to trickle down to your employees. The operations section of your plan should include training your workers on the latest cleaning techniques, customer service best practices, and safety protocols to ensure your team meets those high standards you’ve set.

5. Online marketing and presence

We touched on this in the marketing and sales strategy section, but strong online and social media presences are fairly low-cost tactics for reaching new customers. Consider how much a professionally designed website that’s search engine optimized, active social media engagement, and strategic online advertising might increase your visibility.

  • Download your cleaning service sample business plan PDF

Download this cleaning service sample business plan PDF for free right now, or visit Bplans’ gallery of more than 550 sample business plans if you want more options.

Don’t get hung up on finding a sample business plan that exactly matches your cleaning service. Whether you’re setting up a boutique eco-friendly cleaning service or a broad-scale commercial cleaning operation, the core elements of your business plan will largely be consistent.

There are plenty of reasons cleaning service business owners can benefit from writing a business plan — you’ll need one if you’re seeking a loan or investment.

Even if you’re not seeking funding, thinking through every aspect of your business will help you ensure you’re not overlooking anything critical as you grow.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.

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Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

In Word, you can create a form that others can fill out and save or print.  To do this, you will start with baseline content in a document, potentially via a form template.  Then you can add content controls for elements such as check boxes, text boxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. Optionally, these content controls can be linked to database information.  Following are the recommended action steps in sequence.  

Show the Developer tab

In Word, be sure you have the Developer tab displayed in the ribbon.  (See how here:  Show the developer tab .)

Open a template or a blank document on which to base the form

You can start with a template or just start from scratch with a blank document.

Start with a form template

Go to File > New .

In the  Search for online templates  field, type  Forms or the kind of form you want. Then press Enter .

In the displayed results, right-click any item, then select  Create. 

Start with a blank document 

Select Blank document .

Add content to the form

Go to the  Developer  tab Controls section where you can choose controls to add to your document or form. Hover over any icon therein to see what control type it represents. The various control types are described below. You can set properties on a control once it has been inserted.

To delete a content control, right-click it, then select Remove content control  in the pop-up menu. 

Note:  You can print a form that was created via content controls. However, the boxes around the content controls will not print.

Insert a text control

The rich text content control enables users to format text (e.g., bold, italic) and type multiple paragraphs. To limit these capabilities, use the plain text content control . 

Click or tap where you want to insert the control.

Rich text control button

To learn about setting specific properties on these controls, see Set or change properties for content controls .

Insert a picture control

A picture control is most often used for templates, but you can also add a picture control to a form.

Picture control button

Insert a building block control

Use a building block control  when you want users to choose a specific block of text. These are helpful when you need to add different boilerplate text depending on the document's specific purpose. You can create rich text content controls for each version of the boilerplate text, and then use a building block control as the container for the rich text content controls.

building block gallery control

Select Developer and content controls for the building block.

Developer tab showing content controls

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

In a combo box, users can select from a list of choices that you provide or they can type in their own information. In a drop-down list, users can only select from the list of choices.

combo box button

Select the content control, and then select Properties .

To create a list of choices, select Add under Drop-Down List Properties .

Type a choice in Display Name , such as Yes , No , or Maybe .

Repeat this step until all of the choices are in the drop-down list.

Fill in any other properties that you want.

Note:  If you select the Contents cannot be edited check box, users won’t be able to click a choice.

Insert a date picker

Click or tap where you want to insert the date picker control.

Date picker button

Insert a check box

Click or tap where you want to insert the check box control.

Check box button

Use the legacy form controls

Legacy form controls are for compatibility with older versions of Word and consist of legacy form and Active X controls.

Click or tap where you want to insert a legacy control.

Legacy control button

Select the Legacy Form control or Active X Control that you want to include.

Set or change properties for content controls

Each content control has properties that you can set or change. For example, the Date Picker control offers options for the format you want to use to display the date.

Select the content control that you want to change.

Go to Developer > Properties .

Controls Properties  button

Change the properties that you want.

Add protection to a form

If you want to limit how much others can edit or format a form, use the Restrict Editing command:

Open the form that you want to lock or protect.

Select Developer > Restrict Editing .

Restrict editing button

After selecting restrictions, select Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .

Restrict editing panel

Advanced Tip:

If you want to protect only parts of the document, separate the document into sections and only protect the sections you want.

To do this, choose Select Sections in the Restrict Editing panel. For more info on sections, see Insert a section break .

Sections selector on Resrict sections panel

If the developer tab isn't displayed in the ribbon, see Show the Developer tab .

Open a template or use a blank document

To create a form in Word that others can fill out, start with a template or document and add content controls. Content controls include things like check boxes, text boxes, and drop-down lists. If you’re familiar with databases, these content controls can even be linked to data.

Go to File > New from Template .

New from template option

In Search, type form .

Double-click the template you want to use.

Select File > Save As , and pick a location to save the form.

In Save As , type a file name and then select Save .

Start with a blank document

Go to File > New Document .

New document option

Go to File > Save As .

Go to Developer , and then choose the controls that you want to add to the document or form. To remove a content control, select the control and press Delete. You can set Options on controls once inserted. From Options, you can add entry and exit macros to run when users interact with the controls, as well as list items for combo boxes, .

Adding content controls to your form

In the document, click or tap where you want to add a content control.

On Developer , select Text Box , Check Box , or Combo Box .

Developer tab with content controls

To set specific properties for the control, select Options , and set .

Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each control that you want to add.

Set options

Options let you set common settings, as well as control specific settings. Select a control and then select Options to set up or make changes.

Set common properties.

Select Macro to Run on lets you choose a recorded or custom macro to run on Entry or Exit from the field.

Bookmark Set a unique name or bookmark for each control.

Calculate on exit This forces Word to run or refresh any calculations, such as total price when the user exits the field.

Add Help Text Give hints or instructions for each field.

OK Saves settings and exits the panel.

Cancel Forgets changes and exits the panel.

Set specific properties for a Text box

Type Select form Regular text, Number, Date, Current Date, Current Time, or Calculation.

Default text sets optional instructional text that's displayed in the text box before the user types in the field. Set Text box enabled to allow the user to enter text into the field.

Maximum length sets the length of text that a user can enter. The default is Unlimited .

Text format can set whether text automatically formats to Uppercase , Lowercase , First capital, or Title case .

Text box enabled Lets the user enter text into a field. If there is default text, user text replaces it.

Set specific properties for a Check box .

Default Value Choose between Not checked or checked as default.

Checkbox size Set a size Exactly or Auto to change size as needed.

Check box enabled Lets the user check or clear the text box.

Set specific properties for a Combo box

Drop-down item Type in strings for the list box items. Press + or Enter to add an item to the list.

Items in drop-down list Shows your current list. Select an item and use the up or down arrows to change the order, Press - to remove a selected item.

Drop-down enabled Lets the user open the combo box and make selections.

Protect the form

Go to Developer > Protect Form .

Protect form button on the Developer tab

Note:  To unprotect the form and continue editing, select Protect Form again.

Save and close the form.

Test the form (optional)

If you want, you can test the form before you distribute it.

Protect the form.

Reopen the form, fill it out as the user would, and then save a copy.

Creating fillable forms isn’t available in Word for the web.

You can create the form with the desktop version of Word with the instructions in Create a fillable form .

When you save the document and reopen it in Word for the web, you’ll see the changes you made.

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    Bplans offers free business plan samples and templates, business planning resources, how-to articles, financial calculators, industry reports and entrepreneurship webinars. ... A fill-in-the-blank template designed for business owners. Download Now. Sample Plans. ... Discover the world's #1 plan building software.

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    Free business plan software options 1. StratPad. StratPad is a cloud-based business plan software solution. There are a few different versions, depending on how many business plans you want to make, but for one plan, you can get a free account. As an additional little bonus, if you happen to teach business at a high school or university ...

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  14. 5 Best Business Plan Software and Tools 2023

    EnLoop doesn't have our favorite features or interface, but it does have really, really low pricing plus a seven-day free trial. It's the most affordable software for startup business planning and still provides all the essential features like financial analysis, team collaboration, charting, and more.

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    Internal Business Plan: For startups and existing businesses. Description: focuses primarily on business strategy--metrics, goals, forecasts, budgets, and review/revision process. Since the plan is for internal use, its not necessary to include the history of the company or information about the team.

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