Mitchellville, MD -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/29/2006 -- Kenneth Kelly’s reason for creating a budget and financial management software application, BudgetForecaster Software, over 2 years ago was simple – he wanted to save money and his family. Like most middle-class families, he noticed that although he and his wife had a decent amount of money coming in, at times there was equally as much going out.
Around the same time, while reading Black Enterprise Magazine, he and his wife were introduced to the magazine’s “Declaration of Financial Empowerment. After reading the article, they downloaded the kit, and agreed to take control of their financial destiny. Kenneth says that signing the “Declaration of Financial Empowerment” changed their outlook on finances from that day forward.
He recognized that they needed a budget and that software would help with that. So he tried some of the money management software programs that were on the market and felt that these programs were not very user friendly. “I wanted something that was simple, yet comprehensive, so I decided to create my own budging system using Microsoft Excel” recalls Kenneth.
One day while visiting, his wife’s mom, who happens to be a real estate broker, witnessed him using the program, but she didn’t realize that Kenneth created it. “I remember my mother in-law saying ‘Wow. That’s pretty neat.’” Her initial excitement about the program provided him with the first indication that perhaps he was on to something.
He began to think and conduct research on ways the software he developed could be enhanced for commercial distribution. During his research, he learned of Visual Basic Application (VBA) language. According to Kenneth, this programming language essentially enabled him to transform the simple program that he had developed into a comprehensive software application. After that, they began working on a “Software Technical Requirements Document,” which required them to create a name for the software: BudgetForecaster.
After the first prototype was completed, Kenneth distributed several copies to friends and family members. He states that this enabled him to test and poll the users to determine the usability and friendliness of the program. Based upon the data, they made modifications and developed the first production version of their budgeting and money management software and began selling it as a downloadable product online. It was an immediate success and they recouped all of their start-up costs within the first 6 months of business. Soon thereafter, they made the program available for purchase offline. They continued to test the effectiveness of the software. Every user that purchased the software received a survey. Based upon the results, they made further modifications.
Kenneth realized that in order to reach more customers, they needed a marketing niche. The goal was to reach as many end users as possible. Therefore, they had the software professionally packaged and began marketing to realtors and lenders. The software was offered as settlement, referral, promotional, and thank you gifts for their clients. “Our pitch was, ‘it’s your job to get them into the house. It’s our job to keep them in the house.’” Kenneth recalls. Before they knew it, they were getting large bulk orders of 100 or more CD’s at a time. Later they expanded their market to include, financial planners, debt counselors, credit unions, and banks.
The success of BudgetForecaster, has paved the way for their company to create other products and services. Initially, their software was only geared toward the novice user. Now, they have developed their first stand-alone software application package. This application is more robust than their first generation of programs. “As our users become more adept at managing their finances, we would like them to move on to the next level of personal finance management,” says Kenneth. “In the future we will offer more web-integrated products along with offering additional services, such as online bill payments,” states Kenneth. However, he says that Forecaster Software Inc. will always remain committed to serving the needs of less financially savvy users.
About Forecaster Software Inc.
Forecaster Software Inc. is a budgeting and personal finance management software developer and services company. Their software and personal finance education materials enable people to get a handle on their money matters. The company is headquartered in Mitchellville, MD with a development office in India. Their software has been distributed throughout the US and in 5 countries worldwide.