Breaking Through the Clutter
Buffing a Spa's
David vs. Goliath
Goliath vs. Davids
Coming to America
After the Launch
Why Is This Site Different From All Other
Leveraging Non-Profit Surveys
Serving Professional Service Firm: Bridgestar & the Nonprofit Sector
Lead Generation: Using PR to Pre-Qualify Customers
for Projected Financials
In 1979, the first electronic spreadsheet was created, and it was good.
But ithe intervening 25 years, the electronic spreadsheet had not changed
Traditional spreadsheets are widely used across many different functions
because of their flexibility. But they are not very useful when it comes
to financial forecasting, which can require complex formulas, in-depth
knowledge, and dedicated resources to get accurate results.
Michael Hoffmann launched Whitebirch Software in 1999 to offer specialized
financial projection and analysis tools to mid-size companies, financial
consultants and banks. As an executive who relied upon detailed spreadsheet-based
forecasts while managing other companies, Hoffmann was convinced that
businesses – especially small to mid-size businesses – need a better,
faster, more accurate solution than traditional spreadsheets.
Although its flagship product, Projected Financial was a robust, reliable
product with an enthusiastic corporate user base, Whitebirch still got
many more calls from customers looking for personal finance software.
Yet Projected Financials produces accurate and complex financial models
in a fraction of the time of traditional spreadsheet modeling. In addition
to building comprehensive financial models, Projected Financials simplifies
creating, comparing, and documenting what-if scenarios. It is vastly faster
and easier to use than Excel.
The challenge: raise visibility of the latest version of Projected Financials
among key media and potential users to better define the product and its
Strategic Execution At Work
As a small company with little recognition, except among its customers,
Whitebirch faced an additional challenge: trying displace Microsoft Excel,
which is far more complicated, error prone and slow but is loaded on most
We identified the spreadsheet's 25th anniversary and leveraged that fact
with key media to highlight Projected Financial's benefits (compared with
traditional spreadsheets). We also targeted columnists and product reviewers
who would be interested in alternatives to Microsoft's Excel.
For a limited project, we secured 8 very positive placements with key
media like eWeek, PC Magazine, Financial Executive,
and Small Business Computing that defined the product and its benefits,
picked up key messages, and established credibility for Projected Financials
by positive comments and its 4.0 (out of 5.0) from PC Magazine.
For example, Peter Coffee's column in eWeek was headlined: "Spreadsheets:
25 Years in a Cell: Spreadsheets Ignore the Uncertainty of Forecasts,"
and said, "If we were starting from scratch, with the pervasive connectivity
of today, I suspect that we would build something that looks a lot more
like the Projected Financials product from Whitebirch Software."
According to Pat Fusco, writing in Small Business Computing, "Nowadays
there are various accounting applications and financial services available
to small business. While many of these programs and providers are adept
at totaling column after column of hard data, few are capable of taking
the next step toward forecasting financials two or three or even 10 years
down the road. If you want a clear picture of your company's financial
future, take a look at Projected Financials."
Best of all, the coverage generated customers leads. Interestingly, while
the PR campaign generated significantly more hits to the Whitebirch website,
it did not generate significantly more calls from prospective customers.
But 90 percent of the calls that came in as a result of the campaign were
pre-qualified, CEO Hoffmann told us a substantial improvement.
- eWeek: "Spreadsheets: 25 Years in a Cell: Spreadsheets Ignore
the Uncertainty of Forecasts" (March 22, 2004):
- "If we were starting from scratch, with the pervasive connectivity
of today, I suspect that we would build something that looks a lot
more like the Projected Financials product from Whitebirch Software."
- "The higher level approach of the Whitebirch product encourages
higher level thinking about assumptions and uncertainties."
- "Such nuanced modeling encourages decision makers to spend more
time acquiring better knowledge and less time trying to spin the
straw of ignorance into the gold brilliant foresight."
- Business TechEdge: "Whitebirch Software Delivers Flexible,
Accurate Financial Modeling Platform; Projected Financials 3.0" (March
- Small Business Computing: "Financial Forecasts You Can Take
To The Bank" (April 6, 2004):
- "If you've ever had to apply for a small businesses loan or make
a presentation to a venture capital group, you know securing the
funds depends on how accurate your financial forecast is. How many
times have you had to go back to the drawing board and revise your
financial forecast in order gain access to working capital? There
is a faster, easier and more accurate way to make your financial
- "Whitebirch Software designs and develops applications that help
its customers create sophisticated financial models and long-term
forecasts that go beyond the scope of traditional spreadsheets and
standard budgeting software. The company recently released a major
upgrade to its flagship financial modeling program, Projected Financials.
- "The program prepares financial modeling and scenario analysis
in a fraction of the time that traditional spreadsheets can provide.
In addition to building comprehensive financial models, Projected
Financials simplifies creating, comparing, and documenting "what-if"
scenarios. Michael Hoffmann, Whitebirch Software president and chief
executive officer, said Projected Financials is a way for small-
and mid-sized businesses to avoid the trappings of using Excel for
- "Nowadays there are various accounting applications and financial
services available to small business. While many of these programs
and providers are adept at totaling column after column of hard
data, few are capable of taking the next step toward forecasting
financials two or three or even 10 years down the road. If you want
a clear picture of your company's financial future, take a look
at Projected Financials."
- Nation's Building News: "Financial Forecasts You Can Take to
the Bank" (April 12, 2004)
- PC Magazine: "Review of Projected Financials 3.5: Find Out
if That Business Venture Will Fly" (June 21, 2004)
- Editor's rating: 4 out of 5.
- "Excel is, undeniably, a masterful program. But building business
financials in it requires skill. Projected Financials 3.5 makes
it possible for businesspeople who don't have CPA after their names
to build integrated, multiyear income statements, balance sheets,
and cash flow statements, and create a variety of what-if scenarios."
- "Projected Financial's new Scenario Editor provides a simple,
powerful way to run what-if analyses. For example, you can instantly
see how different pricing tactics might ripple through to the bottom
line. The application's other strength lies in its financial reports,
which include balance sheets and cash flow projections (the latter
up to ten years, unusual in a standalone financial program).
- "There are other alternatives to building your own financials
painstakingly in Excel. Several Excel add-ons contain a subset of
the features found in Projected Financials... But we've not seen
Projected Financials' unique set of intelligent, flexible tools
- Tech Edge Magazine: "Projected Financials: Spreadsheets Could
Be a Memory of the Past as Financial Managers Dive into This Twenty-first
Century Program" (Summer, 2004)
- Financial Executive: "Technology Tools: Financial Modeling"
(July/Aug. 2004) ExpertPR: "How PR Can Help Companies Enter the U.S.
Market" (July 21, 2004)
- Small Business Computing: Projected Financials: Review (July