Editor’s note: Since publication of this update, our Scoreboard feature has undergone a change, and we now call it the Dashboard.
If you missed the webinar on “How to Write a Winning Business Plan,” you can still watch it below. You get to see how quick and easy it is to create both a dynamic business pitch and a business plan that supports your brilliant business idea. We’ve also included answers to the questions we were not able to get to during the live webinar. Enjoy! Webinar Q&A
- 3 users = + 9.95 /month
- 4 users = + 19.90 /month
- 5 users = + 29.85 /month
Q: Once you save the plan do you save it on your computer or on a cloud server?
A: If you need to download a copy of your plan for printing or emailing to people who want a hard copy, you can do that from the “Print” section within LivePlan. However, the beauty of LivePlan being hosted in the cloud is that you can access your Pitch, Plan, or Dashboard from any internet connection. This allows you to update your planning information and present it (via guest accounts) to lenders, investors, mentors, students, business partners and more. So you can either save a static copy to your desktop, or keep your evolving plan within LivePlan (which we recommend) so you can update it regularly, and share it with others as needed.
Q: (LivePlan vs. standard plans) At the end of the year what happens to information/ if no renewal?
A: You have the choice:
- You can delete your account when you’re “finished” with the plan and we will delete your plan from LivePlan entirely.
- Or, you can put your account into “archive” mode in which case we charge a small maintenance fee ($2.99/mo) and we maintain a secure copy of your plan and account in case you choose to revisit the plan next quarter, year, etc.
Q: Can LivePlan be sold as an affiliate in a package like we have the Business Plan Pro and training sessions?
A: Absolutely! Visit our affiliate page to get set up today!
Q: As far as ROI in the hospitality business, what would be best: a certain % if so what % would be reasonable, a concrete number, etc?
A: It really depends on what kind of hospitality business – small hotel, large hotel, bar, restaurant, food court, etc. We found this site that gives a very good overview of identifying KPIs (key performance indicators) in the restaurant, cafe, catering, clubs and hotels.
Q: I love the Dave and Busters example you gave during the webinar! Are there any business executives you can think of that would be interested in hearing about a completely unique sports bar/restaurant idea? Good idea to involve people from out of town, or if you are starting in a specific city should you limit to investors from your city?
A: We suggest signing up for Gust.com – it’s free and you’ll gain access to thousands of angel investors across the globe. Some investors on Gust select industries they are interested in, so you can search to see if any investors are interested in food and beverage or hospitality deals.
Q: As an owner of existing software, is there a price for those upgrading to LivePlan?
A: Since LivePlan is a completely separate tool from Business Plan Pro, the pricing is separate as well. You can either “pay-as-you-go” at only $19.95 month, or pay for a full year and save over 40%. Learn more here. Keep in mind, LivePlan is not a standard business plan – it’s the business plan evolved – where you can Pitch, Plan and Track your growth all in one very easy to use tool. Check out of features page.
Q: Can we create multiple business plans for different companies?
A: Yes, a basic account has the ability to host 3 active plans (with unlimited archived plans) and can be upgraded to:
- 8 active plans = +9.95 / month
- 13 active plans = + 19.90 / month
- 18 active plans = + 29.85 / month
Q: If one uses LivePlan to complete a business plan, does your service include a business plan critic before I present my plan to potential investors?
A: We currently do not have a service to critique your business plan, but we are hoping to launch such a service late this year. I recommend you follow our LivePlan blog to stay tuned. In the meantime, we recommend you contact a Small Business Development Center or SCORE office in your area (for U.S.). If you’re outside of the U.S. they are several non-profit and government organizations that offer free advising services. We recommend starting with contacting your local university or college system.
Q: If the business plan addresses a sensitive niche in the market, how can you make sure you keep certain information from your business plan private? Also I am wondering if we should we do that?
A: If there’s sensitive information that you need to ensure is not public, I would suggest this:
- Create your sharable plan (name it something that you’ll recognize as the public version)
- Enter all the relevant data and text but skip anything that you see that requires sensitive information
- Once you’ve created and filled in the public plan, go to the My Plans drop down and choose All Plans
- Make a copy of the “shareable plan” and then rename it to something that will indicate it is your internal only plan.
- Add the sensitive information to the Internal Only plan and share the public version on the plan with your Lender, Investor and/or Mentors. You can safely remove the skipped sections from the sharable plan as well if needed.
Q: I want to plan a membership campaign for our association, as well as a plan for the development of an archives gallery, I need to plug in the strategic plan for the membership campaign. This is a committee plan and not a business plan. Yes-it will take staff time, but I am a volunteer that will give my services for free. How do you track the potential cost of having to hire a company to develop a membership campaign? Would this software help me to present my points and what it will take to build our membership value?
A: LivePlan’s Pitch page or Dashboard are both excellent tools for showing value of non-profits and associations. As mentioned during the webinar, you can edit the outline of the business plan to match a Strategic Plan’s outline (i.e. mission, vision, fundraising strategy, board development strategy, program overview, etc.).
Q: What about pitching the development of a plan for setting up the archives gallery that will require special inventory and personeel salaries, as well as what it will take to keep it going- ie, alarms, temperature controls,special handling of archives, etc. Is this the software for me?
A: LivePlan is highly customizable and can be used to create financial forecasts (sales, payroll, expenses, Cash Flow, Profit and Loss, etc) for most any company. You can customize the inputs to show whatever level of detail you need. That said, I always like to stress that for accounting, looking backwards, you need ever increasing amounts of detail. But, with planning, looking forward, you should try to make things as general or simple as possible. It can be a highly frustrating experience trying to forecast incredibly detailed expenses looking forward, especially if a higher level view is all that is required.
Q: There are a lot of sample Business Plans available in LivePlan. Is there a repository of winning plans? Does some resource exist like this on the internet?
A: We conducted national (U.S.) “LivePlan $10,000 Boost” business plan competition in 2012, and saw many plans that were well written. We are in the process of gathering those plans to offer as sample plans. In the meantime, we recommend you check out our library of sample plans on our Bplans free content site.
Q: Can this also be used to pitch and plan an internal plan?
A: Absolutely – it’s meant for both external and internal pitching. That’s why we set the annual pricing to be affordable for small businesses. It’s only $139.95 to use LivePlan as an internal management tool.
Q: Mortgage industry – do you have any research on this?
A: Palo Alto Software doesn’t do market research as a service but we do partner with companies that do have that as their main business. You can search for Market Research data for by industry on our site.
Q: Where can I find investors for health and wellness?
A: We suggest signing up for Gust.com – it’s free and you’ll gain access to thousands of angel investors across the globe.
Q: Can LivePlan be used to help a set up a franchised company, and how can this be done? (that would be getting a location from an established company, such as Jiffy Lube, Macdonalds, etc)
A: The plan for a franchised business isn’t technically much different from any plan for an existing business that’s being bought by new owners. The situation of how the business comes to be is more unique, but the financials are very similar to any plan. The exception to this would be if you were the franchiser, in which case you might want to configure a plan in LivePlan to use as your template and then provide that template to any potential Franchisee’s via Collaborator accounts. This would give the franchiser a good means to getting data from different franchisee’s in a format that makes it easy for comparison.
Q: Most teams consist of 3 people but the basic plan only allows for 2 people. Will it be upped to 3 as the minimum?
A: The basic account includes 2 people (owner + 1 collaborator) plus unlimited guest accounts (guests can view, print and comment, but not actually make changes). Additional collaborators can be added by upgrading the account.