Since its creation in 1988, Palo Alto Software has grown to a respected provider of small business tools worldwide with the single goal of helping other small businesses grow and become successful. They help people succeed in business with market-leading software from their headquarters in Eugene, Oregon. Their flagship software product, LivePlan, was developed from more than 20 years’ experience in the business planning software market. They now offer several software products and an extensive library of free expert content to help small businesses succeed.
“We understand small business because we are a small business," the team says. "We know what it’s like to start from zero, with no outside investment, and build a company from one employee to nearly 80. Our products are tooled for small businesses because we understand the challenges of startups, and we also know what it takes to be successful. We are committed to providing that knowledge, experience, and expertise to as many other small businesses as possible."
Functionality and main features
LivePlan is a lean business planning and management software tool. It works for both start-ups for pure planning for access to capital, as well as operational businesses for lean planning + management. The scope of LivePlan is high level strategic planning, full business plan, financial forecasting, benchmarking, and dashboard reporting, which compares forecast vs actual accounting data (as well as period over period). LivePlan helps a small business owner think through a comprehensive strategic plan, and then uses plan vs actual data to measure performance, identify problems and keep the business on track.
What sets them apart
Lean Planning is a powerful protocol for developing a complete business plan. It helps business owners think through the differentiators of their business. That strategic thinking helps them build a better business plan, and understand the drivers and levers in their business. And, once in operation, a business needs a simple, straightforward way to measure performance and ties back to their original strategic plan. LivePlan delivers all of that. It brings the type of planning and reporting that big businesses do for their boards and management, to a small business owner, which does not have that type of training or staff to handle it.