A FRIGHTENING number of new businesses fail during their first year of operation. In many cases that can be traced to inadequate preparation before the company is set up.
Entrepreneur from Collins Soft, in the Brainpower series, is designed to provide a useful business tool together with programmed learning course for the skills necessary to understand and use it. Decision Maker, another in the series, was reviewed last month.
The teaching program aims to introduce the prospective businessman or women to double entry book-keeping and through that to make him aware of the different aspects of setting up and running a business, including possible sources of finance, cash flow, and likely costs. It consists of a series of six small programs, Using numbers, The balance sheet, Making a profit, Having enough cash, Value Added Tax and Balance sheet display.
Loading a program from cassette each time it is used is a nuisance, especially when you need to refer back. Unfortunately no provision for converting to microdrives has been made, although the packaging is designed to store up to three cartridges.
The programs are easy to use with each new stage often requiring only single key input. They are highly informative and presented in a way which makes you consider aspects you might otherwise miss.
The manual contains addresses of organisations which will give advice and help. Several of the addresses are out of date.
The applications program is designed to be used to formulate a business plan showing a company's expected performance in its first year. The plan is extensive enough to be presented to possible investors. Two versions, one for a single and one for a multi-product company, are provided on the one cassette.
Analyses showing the projected end of year inventory, costs, break even point, and monthly cash flows are produced. Information on the proposed initial methods of finance is added after which the cash flows are recalculated. Calculation of the cash flows is slow. The profit and loss account and balance sheet can then be displayed.
Finally, Entrepreneur produces a sensitivity analysis that shows the effects of a 10 per cent change on the major factors affecting profits; a ratio analysis which shows the average credit turnover; and a percentage for the profitability of the business.
Data can be edited when entered and at the end, so that modifications can be made to the business plan.
The teaching module is well set out and instructive but deals with a different subject to the applications program. Entering the data into the applications program is tedious, but having to re-enter all data in a section if one item is incorrect is painful.
Regardless of those deficiencies, this is a package which should prove useful to those looking to start a business and to those wishing to expand.
Publisher: Collins Soft