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Florida SBDC invests in LivePlan, business planning and management software, to grow SMBs faster

The Florida SBDC Network chose Palo Alto Software’s flagship business planning and tracking software, LivePlan, to help small businesses better plan and track for growth as a part of alarger statewide initiative to boost economic development.

The Florida SBDC Network, which oversees 40 local offices statewide, purchased 500 LivePlan licenses to be available for small business owners and entrepreneurs who seek mentorship at any local office throughout Florida. LivePlan will help both new and existing business owners develop plans and track their business progress against goals and forecasts. According to a Cranfield University study, small businesses that do this grow 30 percent faster.

“The best way to boost the economy is to launch new startups and grow existing small businesses, and we’re thrilled that the Florida SBDC Network chose LivePlan to help accomplish this,” said Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software. “For small businesses to grow and succeed long term they need to have a solid plan in place that includes a budget and forecast. Business owners who constantly track their progress are better equipped to identify problem areas and make necessary adjustments before it’s too late.”

Nationwide, SBDC offices offer small businesses and entrepreneurs with mentorship and technical guidance in an effort to foster job creation and economic development. With the addition of LivePlan, the Florida SBDC Network is becoming a leader in helping small businesses succeed by offering a mix of mentorship and innovative technology.

“LivePlan is business planning made simple,” said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC. “It’s our business to help small businesses in Florida grow and succeed. LivePlan’s unique features make it easy for our consultant’s to track client’s progress, monitor performance, and gain insight regarding the health of the business.”

LivePlan is useful for small businesses from all backgrounds and levels of experience, and Florida’s 40 local offices are heavily diverse, with locations in both rural and urban areas. While entrepreneurs can use the tool to develop an initial business plan and pitch, LivePlan’s Scoreboard feature has made a major impact on helping established businesses grow as well. The tool imports data from QuickBooks and gives users a visual in the form of simple charts and graphs of where their business stands compared to previously set goals and forecasts.

“LivePlan made it easier for my Florida SBDC Consultant and me to compile, organize, and collaborate during the planning process,” said Kevin Olesen of family-owned Sweet Odin’s Bakery in Bonita Springs, Florida. “The tool made it possible for us to present a winning business plan to get financing for our business.”

Palo Alto Software works with SBDC offices nationwide and has similar partnerships with both Oregon and Michigan. For more information about effective business planning and tracking strategies, visit Palo Alto Software’s small business resource blog,

About Palo Alto Software

Palo Alto Software, Inc., makers of the #1 selling business planning software in the world, develops and publishes tools, products, and content to help small and midsized businesses pitch, plan, manage, and grow their ventures. LivePlan, the company’s flagship product, is a SaaS (software as a service) solution for business planning and financial management. Palo Alto Software has been the market leader in its category for over 15 years, has served well over 2 million entrepreneurs, and has customers in 180 countries. It was founded in 1988 by business planning expert Tim Berry. Sabrina Parsons has been the company’s CEO since 2007. Parsons successfully expanded its service offering into the cloud with LivePlan. Palo Alto Software is a privately-owned corporation based in Eugene, Oregon.

About the FSBDC Network

For nearly forty years, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide
partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state.

In 2013, the Florida SBDCs served over 34,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 39,536 jobs created, retained and saved; $5.5 billion in sales growth; $197.3 million in capital accessed; $602.2 million in government contract awards; and 685 new businesses started. And for every $1 of Florida public and private sector investment in the FSBDC program, $35 was returned to the state in tax revenue.

A statewide service network of over 40 centers with approximately 70 outreach locations, the Florida SBDC Network is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the Network’s designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida’s
principal provider of business assistance and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs.

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