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Why the Financial Projections?
Are worth your time ...
Why the Financial Projections?
They can make you decide (with intention) about where you want your business to go.
And then plan how to get there and the resources needed.
A plan to where?
If you carry on as you are, where do you get to?
If you take your current revenue growth, and project this same growth forward, is this where you want to revenue to be, in +1, +3 or +5 years?
More importantly, where do you want to go and why?
What is your plan for the business.
What does it look like?
Do all the founders or directors agree?
Where you want the business to go, is an important question. Allow time to reflect on the question.
Planning on 'the how'
If for example, you want to get to £5m turnover in 3 years, these are some of the questions on how / what it would take to get there.
What does the plan mean for revenue this year and next year. For this month's turnover. And what does this mean your month on month turnover growth needs to be. How will you achieve higher revenue growth? Will the revenue growth come from existing customers growing, or what's the level of new customers you'll need to find.
Your role as the CEO/founder
Start with you and your role. Would expanding the business mean more work for you, more than your time and capacity allows. This could be a factor currently holding your business back.
Recruiting to support your role
Have you reached a growth point where you need to recruit, to support your role? Recruiting at a higher level can be expensive heads. Not recruiting can hold back the business, as you time capacity becomes a bottleneck.
Is there a compromise, such as promoting within, recruit part-time, accept the dip in profits for the longer goal (and your own sanity).
Barriers to growth
To grow, where are the bottle necks? For example, growing will have an impact on production or team to deliver your products or services, the wider team, sales capacity, customer support, IT, finance, etc. Removing one bottleneck can move the bottleneck on to the next place in the chain, check all. Identifying these early, starts the problem-solving thought processes, and allows you to delegate to other people who can start on the problem-solving.
Change takes time & can create uncertainty
What changes are needed as part of your growth plan? As well as the financial investment, change takes time. Time on top of your and your teams day jobs. Consider how change projects/growth plans will be resourced.
Team input & ownership
Change impacts your time, in other ways too. Change it's itself can be unsettling for people, even where the change will have a positive impact for them. When people are involved in determining the growth plan, people tend to be more accepting of the change and committed to delivering it. A feeling of lack of control and the uncertainty this causes, is the biggest cause of change stress and resistance.
Your team have their own needs, personalities and opinions. Listening to what matters to them, their motivations, their concerns about the future plans, may identify how the plan delivery can be adapted for them or communicated to reassure them that it is deliverable.
For example, a future growth plan that shows the business has had a history of revenue growth, can reassure a team-supportive-style manager, that their team won't be overstretched to deliver a growing budget.
Projections can create calm
For instance, taking your managers who are responsible for revenue. They want to deliver on expectations. If expectations are unclear, this can cause stress or under-achievement of revenue.
Being clear on revenue targets and breaking those targets down into understandable chunks (aka number of new customers/clients), means they have clear goals to focus on.
In this way, projections can bring calmness, focus, and effective delivery of results. And teams who stay with the business (key for any people business).
Does everyone know where you're going? Check you have the same expectations.
What's does it all add up to?
What does X + Y + Z add up to.
If keeping all the figures in your head,
makes your head hurt, a financial projection can help.
Is the business currently profitable or when do you expect to be profitable?
There's being profitable, and there's being profitable enough. What is profitable enough for you? Are you wanting profit now, or investing in greater profit for the future?
Cashflow & profit hidden problems
Cash in the bank now, can hide an underlying decline in profits, or an upcoming cashflow shortfall.
Financial projections will show if your profitability is steady overtime, increasing or gradually on the incline.
Investment in the future
What investment do you need to make to either maintain or grow your business?
In people training, marketing, office refurb, IT, production equip, R&D?
Starting a new project ...
Consider each new project, as a business case. Map out potential revenues over time and all associated costs.
Creating projections means asking a lot of questions
The numbers tell the story of your answers
Financial projections also look at cashflows, cash is queen afterall.
Need external funding for growth?
What funds are needed when you're planning for growth, for team growth, replacement equipment or R&D?
Your cashflow cycle
Cashflow projections look at the timing of your cash coming in and going out?
The aim is to speed up cash coming in, and (slightly) slow the cash going out. For example, can you change your supplier terms to 45 days, and agree to grow both businesses together. Are your customers paying on 30 days, or to your payment terms. Or would it be worth the money to employ a credit controller. If your terms are 30 days and your customers pay on 60 days, and you have to borrow to fund the timing gap, you're paying interest to borrow, it could be cheaper to recruit a credit controller.
Shortening your cashflow cycle may release some funds to support your growth.
A time to review
When was the last time you reviewed prices? Reviewed them all across all services, products and customers?
Small tweaks on pricing, can make a big difference to your profitability. A financial projection model, lets you play with prices and scenarios, to estimate impacts and agree as a team on your decision.
Underlying profitability trends
Is profit increasing or falling? Expected or unexpected?
What's the source. Is it intentional investment in the future, or static/falling selling prices with your costs going up?
A falling profit may be small at first, yet the gap may grow over a few years, even if the only change you make is inflationary salary increases.
Better to map costs before, easier than back peddling.
On one budget I saved £300k, via the projections process, by quickly uncovering a new manager was unaware on the companies approach to event catering. Relatively easily overcome.
Set in stone?
Know your plan isn't set in stone and can be adjusted along the way as new ideas, innovations, unexpected growth, or unexpected pandemics come along. They're a base plan, made with the best knowledge you have now.
In summary, the answer to Why the Projections?
is the process itself, the questions and your answers. The figures can feed into, and support, your decisions on your business.
A series of articles ...
Next one, 'What's the Sales Forecast?'
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