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The US has more than 30 million entrepreneurs. But statistically, only half of those businesses will survive for more than five years. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly stressful, with founders bearing huge responsibilities for themselves, their teams, and the business.
Staying organized is one of the crucial success habits of an entrepreneur. Not only will the best planner for entrepreneurs help a founder manage tasks and work toward their goals, but staying organized also helps to boost productivity and manage stress.
Modern planners run the gamut from being simple notebooks to help entrepreneurs capture and record their plans and ideas, to high-tech assistants that use the latest technologies to keep you moving forward. Whatever your business, whatever your style, here are our top picks for the best planners for entrepreneurs in 2023.
There are dozens of different kinds of planners for different purposes. If you want to quickly skip ahead to the type of planner that is best for you, here is a highlight list of our top picks.
Best Financial Planner For Entrepreneurs: Smart Planner Pro Budget Planner
A whopping 77% of small businesses are launched with the personal funds of the founder, and cash flow problems are the primary cause of business failure. When budgets are small and margins are tight, financial tracking and planning is critical for entrepreneurs. This smart planner bill organizer from Smart Planner Pro helps you record and track budgets, expenses, debts, and spending analysis. But it goes beyond financial planning, to help you track goals, map action plans, and capture notes. It's everything an entrepreneur needs to track in a single planner. Experts recommend that entrepreneurs set daily goals, so we love that this planner includes features like goal tracking and affirmations.
This non-dated planner has space for recording 12 months of finances, so you aren't tied to a pre-printed dated calendar. It has pages with sections for debt tracking, expense reporting, spending analysis, and monthly calendars. It has financial tracking and review by month and annually . It also has sections for goal setting, to-do checklists, and affirmations, and 10 blank pages for open-ended planning and note taking. It also has an expandable inner pocket for business cards, notes, receipts, and other documents.
This high-quality notebook measures 8.6 x 5.7 inches, has a hard back covered with attractive vegan leather, and a lay-flat binding that makes it easy to write in. It has 180 pages of thick, bleed-proof 120GSM paper, and includes 3 sating bookmarks, an elastic strap closure, and an elastic pen loop. It weighs 1 pound, and is backed by a 100% money-back guarantee.
Best Long-Term Planner for Entrepreneurs: At-A-Glance 2021-2025 5 Year Monthly Planner
Smart entrepreneurs know that planning doesn't start in January and end in December. In fact, most entrepreneurs start planning long before they actually launch, so a long-term planner is essential, and setting long-term goals is a great way to achieve success. This At-A-Glance long term planner has 60 months of planning, with notes, reference calendar, and future planning as well.
The 5-year planner from At-A-Glance covers January 2021 through December 2025. Every month has two pages, giving you lots of writing space for every day. Every month includes six months of reference calendars in the margins. It also has sections for personal notes, and a section for brief future planning. Tabs make navigation fast and easy.
This notebook is large, with 9 x 11 inch pages, so there is plenty of room to write. It has a premium simulated leather cover, and strong, twin-wire binding for extra security. It lays flat for ease of use, and the pages resist ink bleed-through. This planner is also refillable, and the quality of the cover and binding mean that you can use it for years to come.
Compact Alternative: BooQool 2021-2023 Monthly Pocket Planner
If the At-A-Glance planner is too big and heavy for convenience, this BooQool 36 month planner measures just 6.3 x 3.8 inches and is much more portable. It has 36 months of planning, from January 2021 through December 2023. Every month has two pages, with two months of reference calendars, space for notes, and 1x.8 inch of writing space per day. It also has a yearly overview calendar with US holidays, contact pages, and note pages to capture your thoughts.
This 3-year planner has 65 pages, and is compact enough to fit in a pocket. It has a soft touch leather-like hardcover that provides durability, and the high-quality white paper resists bleed-through. It has a bookmark, an elastic closure, and a pen loop. It comes in black or brown, and is a compact approach to long-term planning.
Best Tablet + Portfolio-Style Planner for Entrepreneurs: Cooper Bizmate Padfolio Organizer Case
Today, most entrepreneurs need to rely on digital devices and apps to manage their business. All too often, this can lead to carrying around multiple devices, notebooks, contact lists, and more. This organizer portfolio case from Cooper Cases is a great multi-purpose solution, and much more portable and easy to use than a laptop bag.
This case has clear scratch-proof claws to securely hold any digital tablet from 8.9-10.1 inches, with open sides to give access to all the device's ports, buttons, and speakers. It also has an A5 note pad for taking notes and staying organized, and a holder for your pen/pencil or stylus. It also has 4 sectional card slots, 2 letter document dividers, 2 larger pockets that can hold a phone and a charger, a pocket for an ID card, and a back compartment for cables and accessories. This padfolio is a great alternative to a bag, purse, or wallet, with everything you need in one compact organizer.
The Padfolio Organizer Case has a soft fabric exterior and faux leather lining for streamlined style, and measures a compact 10.7 x 8.6 inches. The YKK zipper is durable and resists stress and impact. It's easy to refill or replace the notebook, or upgrade your tablet devices over time with the universal design. It is also backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Best Eco-Friendly Planer for Entrepreneurs: Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook Set
Of course you can be an eco-conscious entrepreneur by choosing a recycled planner made of eco-friendly materials. But with this smart, infinitely reusable notebook system, you can skip the paper and the recycling bin altogether. This set merges the best benefits of hand writing your notes and thoughts, including improving memory and cognition, with the best of digital devices, including retrievability and sharability.
The Rocketbook smart reusable notebook set lets you write with the included pen into a comfortable, spiral-bound notebook. Wait a few seconds, and then you can upload your notes to a huge range of productivity apps, including Evernote, Dropbox, OneNote, Slack, and more. Then use the included microfiber cloth to simply wipe the page clean and begin again.
To use the Rocketbook system, you have to use the Rocketbook iOS or Android app (the app is rated 4.8 stars in the App Store, and 4.7 on Google Play), which then sends your notes to a huge range of other apps and services. Once captured, Rocketbook's AI makes your handwritten notes searchable and transcribable, with a smart titling system that helps you find all your files.
This set includes two notebooks; the executive size at 8.8 x 6 inches, and the mini size at 5.5 x 3.5 inches. It comes with two Pilot Frixion pens, and two microfiber cloths. When necessary, you can simply replace the pens or cloths and keep using the set forever. You can also get compatible highlighters and other accessories to extend the set. It's an incredibly useful, versatile way to capture, keep, share, and organize all your notes into any digital system, any time.
Editor's Pick: Best Overall Planner for Entrepreneurs: Lux Pro Productivity Planner
The Lux Pro Productivity Planner may not have the high-tech capabilities of the Rocketbook, but it is a world-class planner, scientifically designed to keep you organized and improve your productivity. It also has optional inserts for some of the most in-demand features that entrepreneurs need, like project management, the Pomodoro productivity system, the Cornell note taking system, and more. It's one of the top planners in the world, for good reason.
The Lux Pro comes with the planner itself, and the ‘6 month’ pack. This default pack includes six months of calendars, long-term goals, financial tracking, project planning, daily planning, month-at-a-glance, reflection on last week, and notes pages. The system includes a huge range of affordable complementary packs, which include specialized pages like narrow rule, Pomodoro method, musical staff, storyboarding, graph grids, and more, so you can customize this planner for any goal or need.
The case is made of vegan-friendly faux leather with a durable snap closure. The case has a zipped pocket, document pockets, card slots, and a pen holder.
The Lux Pro Planner is un-dated, so you can start any time, comes in your choice of four colors, and is 9 3/8 x 7 ¾ inches when closed, compatible with A5 paper size. It also comes in an attractive gift or presentation box.
What to Look For In A Planner for Entrepreneurs
While every new venture is a little bit different, here are some of the top features to look for in the best planners for entrepreneurs:
Pre-printed dates simply don't work for everyone. Not every plan, every project, or every venture begins in January. In fact, statistics show that most successful businesses launch in spring. For an entrepreneur, that means beginning your plans at least the winter before, in order to prepare for a successful launch. But who wants to start a new planner when half the year has already passed? We like blank dates so your timelines are your own, and you get the most value from every page in your planner.
Variety of Sections
Planners are, of course, most designed to keep track of calendar dates and keep you on top of your to-do list. But entrepreneurs often also need to track expenses, contacts, ideas, employees, projects, and various other things. The best planners for entrepreneurs have the versatility to track all kinds of information in one place, and boost every aspect of your productivity.
To go along with the need for multiple sections, we love planners that are expandable and refillable. Once you've found a planner and a system that works best for you, it's ideal to make the most of it by adding or refilling what you need. Plus it's better for the environment to not buy a whole new planner every year.
Pockets and Card Slots
Pockets are simply always useful, whether you need to carry business cards, boarding passes, stray notes, or keep other small items close at hand and top of mind. While a planner doesn't need to double as a wallet or laptop bag, having a few card slots and pockets is an excellent feature.
Portability and Convenience
The best planner is the planner you actually use. There's no point in having a great planner if it's so big and heavy that it has to stay at your desk all the time. Entrepreneurs are on the move, and a great planner is the right size to travel with you.
A lot of people end up having two systems: one paper planner that they write in and carry around, and a second digital calendar and reminder system. While everyone has their own strategy for managing the digital and analogue aspects of their lives, dual systems can make people less organized than they were, and let things fall through the cracks.
The best modern planners understand that they are a part of your digital ecosystem and need to complement your devices, rather than compete with them. In most cases, this involves the use of apps that augment a paper planner and keep you organized in all your efforts. For some of our favorite apps that help you track habits and achieve your goals, check out this article.
Final Thoughts on Best Planners for Entrepreneurs
With all of those features in mind, the Lux Pro Productivity Planner is our top choice as the best planner for entrepreneurs in 2023. Unlike many expandable and refillable planners, the expansions and refills on this system are incredibly versatile and affordable, allowing you to plan and track a huge range of projects and goals. It's compact and portable, has pockets and card slots, and comes in four colors so you can choose the style that fits you best. It's a great way for an entrepreneur (or anyone else) to stay organized, improve their productivity, and achieve their goals.
Our favorite digital pick is the Rocketbook, for the innovative way that it merges an entrepreneur's need to sketch, scribble, and brainstorm, while still working with digital devices to make those notes savable, searchable, and sharable. For entrepreneurs who rely on their digital devices as their primary planners, the Rocketbook is an excellent accessory for the best of both worlds.
Small businesses and the courageous entrepreneurs who start them are the backbone of the economy, and the source of the innovations and creativity that keep big businesses on their toes, and provide consumers with choice.
Entrepreneurs need to build the mental and physical daily habits that help them survive the risk, pressure, and excitement of starting something new and stepping away from the security of traditional career paths. Whether you are working a side hustle or about to hit the big time, we wish you inspiration, support, and success, and will continue to find the best tools, habits, and resources to help you pursue greatness and achieve your goals.
Finally, if you need a break or some inspiration, we recommend watching the best movies for entrepreneurs.
Finally, if you want to level up your productivity and time management skills, then watch this free video about the 9 productivity habits you can build at work.