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SMEs jump into business unprepared, 80 per cent fail within two years

According to an independent survey released today onbehalf of business planning software experts Palo Alto Software, over 90 per cent of SMEs set up, run businesses and create business plans without any experience or access to support and advice. According to Palo Alto Software, this trend is a significant factor that leads to 80 per cent of small businesses failing within two years.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Palo Alto Software by Taylor Nelson Sofres, also shows that entrepreneurs jumping into business without seeking advice on business planning are seven times more likely to require additional funding or within 18 months of operating, compared to those who seek professional advice or use business planning software.

Tim Berry, founder and president of Palo Alto Software said, Many businesses fail in their early years as they don't have a well thought-out and adhered-to business plan. Without a comprehensive business plan, entrepreneurs underestimate the time and amount of money it takes to make a business profitable. Raising second and third round funding is more difficult than getting the full amount needed in the beginning.

These findings are also echoed in research carried out by the Association of Business Recovery Professionals in which poor planning and management is considered a cause of business insolvency that repeatedly emerges in surveys over the last ten years.

The value of a business plan is the decisions it influences, and ultimately, how much money is in the bank as a result. Our business planning software provides step-by-step help and extensive financials to create a professional business plan to help start, finance and grow a business, said Berry.

Dennis Jarrett used Palo Alto business planning software to set-up Potential UK, a magazine that communicates essential business practices and advice, to start-ups and existing businesses. Jarrett said, "I see a business plan as a Road Map to success, and if followed you will arrive at your destination. Using the award-winning Business Plan Pro software the path to our goal is that much clearer.

The survey included 251 UK SMEs. Interviews were conducted between 12th and 16th May 2003.

Ends

Notes to the editor:

Palo Alto Software, a developer and publisher of business planning software:

Business Plan Pro 2003

For entrepreneurs, Business Plan Pro 2003 provides a wizard-driven interface from start to finish and the largest single collection of sample plans in the industry, more than 400, which can be read into the software and used as starting points for new plans. Row-by-row help guides the user through every financial entry. Linked spreadsheets with established formulas handle the calculations to create a full set of financial statements. The software promises to save users hundreds of hours through seamless formatting, built-in research data and a myriad of distribution options. Cost: £99.99 (inc. VAT).

Business Plan Pro 2003 PREMIER

For SMEs and partnerships, Business Plan Pro 2003 PREMIER adds a new dimension to the planning process, by including powerful collaboration features and enhanced financial capabilities to meet the power, flexibility and teamwork requirements of the expert planner. In addition to all the features of Business Plan Pro, the PREMIER version offers a unique email collaboration feature allowing users to create a plan in a team environment, combine multiple plans into one and save a unique plan outline to co-ordinate strategies across departments and divisions. Cost: £249.99 (inc. VAT).

Palo Alto Software is also working with leading UK business consultants and trainers to develop a training course based on Business Plan Pro and Business Plan Pro Premier to further help entrepreneurs optimise their business planning process. Both products are endorsed by the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI).

Palo Alto Software runs an award-winning site, www.bplans.com, to complement its software products. The site includes extensive information, free of charge, on business and marketing planning, as well as real-life business plans and scenarios, practical advice and a panel of experts.

About Palo Alto Software
Palo Alto Software Limited sells, markets, and distributes localised, country specific, international versions of the award-winning business planning software developed by its Oregon, USA-based parent, Palo Alto Software, Inc, founded by president Tim Berry in 1984. Palo Alto Softwares award-winning website www.bplans.com continues to be one of the highest traffic sites in the small business arena, offering numerous business planning resources.


For more information, please contact:
Lisa Atherfold/Lena Ahmed
Brodeur Worldwide
Tel: +44 (0)207 298 7116/7097
Email: latherfold@uk.brodeur.com/
lahmed@uk.brodeur.com

Sabrina Parsons
Palo Alto Software
Email: sabrina@paloalto.co.uk



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