To forecast or not to forecast? – By Helen Fleet
December 10, 2021
In my experience forecasts are prepared and targets are set for two main reasons…
- To prepare for differing scenarios of business performance
- To drive a change in behaviour
If you feel you want to forecast and are not sure where to start then give some thought to the following.
Think about the scale of historic growth and how this will be impacted or replicated in the short and medium-term future. We are heading out of a pandemic with all the uncertainty we have had, but we must start somewhere so be realistic and set those targets. It may be a blend of x % growth and a desire to work in new markets. Think about this and what is the priority for you.
Sources of Growth
Break those targets down now in terms of which clients and services this will come from. Consider growth from existing clients and whether that might be from a new product offering to them or mirroring their own organic growth. If you plan to enter into new sectors or offer new products what percentage of income will come from this.
Once you know where you want the growth to come from start to build a plan as to how that will be achieved. This may be improving your account management process internally or an external marketing strategy. If the latter is the case, you can start to consider the cost implications and how you will fund this.
Growth cycles can be cash hungry due to marketing spend, internal investment or the need to recruit ahead of capacity. Establishing this at the outset means you can assess what you need and the best source of income. People say you shouldn’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry and the same applies here. Assessing well in advance what funding you might need will ensure you get the cheapest and most appropriate form of funding in place before you are desperate for it.
This can be simple or complex depending on the situation you are in and your requirements. If you don’t need funding, then a simple google doc or spreadsheet can outline what income you are targeting, and the associated costs required to drive that.
These ideas should give you the building blocks to get your plans from whirring inside your head in to something more structured that you can use to plan and make decisions. Real-life events will of course impact on your forecasts, but this time spent now will allow you to think about what might impact on it in the future and consider how you would deal with those issues.
If you feel you need some help with your forecasting and setting the objectives to achieve this then please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org