Virtual Business Simulation Pre-incubating Platform
This particular deliverable titled “Virtual Business Simulation Pre-incubating Platform” is concerned with the development of an interactive digital diagnostic tool (Virtual Business Simulation Pre-incubating Platform) for the evaluation of the business ideas that will be developed in the context of the project.
Participants who will have access to the simulation platform will enter a real business scenario through a virtual business. The platform will provide an interactive user environment. For this reason participants will be given a range of supporting information from a combination of business functionality such as sales, finance, marketing, operations, logistics, supply chain, human resources and leadership, (depending on the type of simulation).
As the simulation progresses, participants will be asked to analyze information, solve problems and make decisions. The simulation will interact with the choices made thus offering immediate results in the next step, allowing participants to assess the quality of their decision and make appropriate modifications to improve their business success. This will continue until the simulation is complete. Upon completion, the business simulation will provide a clear dashboard with an overview of individual and team (or virtual company) performance. These dashboards will provide key metrics that show understanding and provide insight into mistakes – and more importantly – corrective actions taken, demonstrating participant learning.
Additionally, complementary to the above functions, for demonstrational purposes, three prototype business plans will be developed in digital format and be included in the tool as a separate module, that will address the following sectors (see chapter 6):
- Tourism & creative economy
- Trade & creative economy
- Culture & creative economy
Each business plan prototype shall identify at least the following key sections:
- Internal analysis (business plan description)
- External analysis (market description)
- Strategy Analysis
- Financial plan
The purpose of the tool is to provide a simulation environment for potential entrepreneurs who would like to test the performance of their business model not in a real market situation but rather in a simulation platform under virtual conditions that reflect reality as much as possible. Given the quite often restrictions in detailed data availability of the potential business, the simulation platform is formulated in a simple way in terms of the characteristics and the structure of the business model under examination.
Coming up with a business idea is one thing. Making that idea a successful business is another. Lacking the proper testing tools for business performance, the potential entrepreneur is usually left only with the option to put his/her idea into practice based mostly on wishful thinking. More often than not this strategy turns out to be, if not catastrophic, at least problematic in many ways. The usually unexperienced beginner entrepreneur is unprepared to deal effectively and in advance with a lot challenges and strategic decisions and is left with no useful tools to examine the various alternatives and make the right moves. That is why it is crucially important before entering the real market having taken all the risks and invested significant resources to implement an untested idea, to thoroughly test that idea by putting under the microscope of a simulation toolkit. The simulation platform that has been developed under the Co-Working project and is available at the present website offers a number of capabilities to put any business idea under test so as to provide numerus useful insights into the mechanics, the structure, the key decision-making processes all in relation to the external market conditions in order to help the business owner to better design and prepare his/her business before its launching.
- the simulation period is three financial cycles (years), however the user may adjust the data to other cycles such as quarter or semester.
- after the end of a financial year all expenses and sales have been paid and there is no money owed to and by the business (apart from the loan debt).
- the user is able to determine in a realistic way the data required by the tool. furthermore, she/he can realistically estimate the costs involved broken down into the basic categories, to be able to conduct a costing analysis for the products and services that are sold by the business and make reasonable sales forecasts. In other words, the user has a good knowledge of the main financial information about the business operation. When in doubt, the user can try many different values in the tool to see the effect of that particular element on the business operation and performance.
The platform consists of the following modules:
- Data Forms
- Sensitivity analysis
The platform is accessible via the project’s website at the following url: https://coworking-grbg.com/dashboard/. The registered user can also access the platform via the website’s menu by selecting the Business Tool central menu option and then clicking on the Simulation Platform sub-menu option.