Ideas and growth plan to meet sales projection

Turn your idea into reality with a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp. “As a mentor, I see so many entrepreneurs complain that building forecasts with any Positive thinking might help you grow sales numbers, but it's not enough to pay your If you're a solo entrepreneur who plans to grow the business on your own, pay. The sales forecast section is a key section of your business plan. directly to the market analysis, competitive edge, marketing plan and pricing sections (see The idea when building a financial forecast is to decompose the figure in a set of . For example, to sell % of the projected sales quota in Q2. Prospect qualification: Outline what criteria a prospect meets in order to qualify them as a.

The sections about your marketing plan and strategy are interesting to read, but they don't mean a thing if you can't justify your business with good figures on the bottom line. You do this in a distinct section of your business plan for financial forecasts and statements. The financial section of a business plan is one of the most essential components of the plan, as you will need it if you have any hope of winning over investors or obtaining a bank loan.

Even if you don't need financing, you should compile a financial forecast in order to simply be successful in steering your business. The Purpose of the Financial Section Let's start by explaining what the financial section of a business plan is not.

Realize that the financial section is not the same as accounting. Many people get confused about this because the financial projections that you include--profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow--look similar to accounting statements your business generates. But accounting looks back in time, starting today and taking a historical view.

Business planning or forecasting is a forward-looking view, starting today and going into the future. It's an elaborate educated guess. And you don't spend a lot of time on minute details in a financial forecast that depends on an educated guess for sales. You're going to need it if you are seeking investment from venture capitalists, angel investors, or even smart family members. They are going to want to see numbers that say your business will grow--and quickly--and that there is an exit strategy for them on the horizon, during which they can make a profit.

Any bank or lender will also ask to see these numbers as well to make sure you can repay your loan. It should be a guide to running your business," Pinson says. One way, Berry says, is to break the figures into components, by sales channel or target market segment, and provide realistic estimates for sales and revenue.

Forecast and plan your sales

But if you break the guess into component guesses and look at each one individually, it somehow feels better," Berry says. The Components of a Financial Section A financial forecast isn't necessarily compiled in sequence. And you most likely won't present it in the final document in the same sequence you compile the figures and documents. Berry says that it's typical to start in one place and jump back and forth. For example, what you see in the cash-flow plan might mean going back to change estimates for sales and expenses.

Still, he says that it's easier to explain in sequence, as long as you understand that you don't start at step one and go to step six without looking back--a lot--in between. Start with a sales forecast. Set up a spreadsheet projecting your sales over the course of three years. Set up different sections for different lines of sales and columns for every month for the first year and either on a monthly or quarterly basis for the second and third years.

Because you want to calculate gross margin. Gross margin is sales less cost of sales, and it's a useful number for comparing with different standard industry ratios. The best way to do that, Berry says, is to look at past results. Create an expenses budget. You're going to need to understand how much it's going to cost you to actually make the sales you have forecast.

Berry likes to differentiate between fixed costs i. Berry recommends you go with simple math. He says multiply estimated profits times your best-guess tax percentage rate to estimate taxes. Your resources You will double your sales force from three people to six people, halfway through the year.

How to Write the Financial Section of a Business Plan |

You will spend 50 per cent less on advertising, which will reduce the number of enquiries from potential customers. Overcoming barriers to sale You are moving to a better location, which will lead to 30 per cent more customers buying next year.

Small Business Sales Forecasting

You are raising prices by 10 per cent, which will reduce the volume of products sold by 5 per cent but result in a 4. Your products You are launching a range of new products. Sales will be small this year and costs will outweigh profits, but in future years, you will reap the benefits.

You have products that are newly established and that have the potential to increase sales rapidly. You have established products that enjoy steady sales but have little growth potential. You have products that face declining sales, perhaps because of a competitor's superior product.

For new businesses, the assumptions need to be based on market research and good judgement. Developing your forecast Start by writing down your sales assumptions. See the page in this guide on your sales assumptions.

You can then create your sales forecast. This becomes easy once you've found a way to break the forecast down into individual items. Can you break down your sales by product, market, or geographic region?

Are individual customers important enough to your business to warrant their own individual sales forecast? Can you estimate the conversion rate - the percentage chance of the sale happening - for each item on your sales forecast? Selling more of your product to an existing customer is far easier than making a first sale to a new customer. So the conversion rates for existing customers are much higher than those for new customers. You may want to include details of which product each customer is likely to buy.

Then you can spot potential problems. One product could sell out, while another might not move at all. By predicting actual sales, you're forecasting what you think will be sold.

Prepare a business plan for growth

This is generally far more accurate than forecasting from a target figure and then trying to work out how to achieve it. The completed sales forecast isn't just used to plan and monitor your sales efforts. It's also a vital part of the cash flow. There is a wide range of sales forecasting software available that can make the whole process much simpler and more accurate.

This software generates forecasts based on historical data. If you are considering buying software, get advice from an IT expert, your trade association, your business advisors and businesses of a similar size and in similar markets. Avoiding forecasting pitfalls Five common forecasting pitfalls are: Wishful thinking It's all too easy to be over-optimistic.

It's a good idea to look back at the previous year's forecast to see if your figures were realistic. New businesses should avoid the mistake of working out the level of sales they need for the business to be viable, then putting this figure in as the forecast. You also need to consider if it is physically possible to achieve the sales levels you're forecasting.

For instance, if you assume a declining market and declining market share, it's illogical to then forecast increased sales. For more information, see the page in this guide on your sales assumptions. Moving goalposts Make sure the forecast is finalised and agreed within a set timescale.

If you're spending a lot of time refining the forecast, it can distract you from focusing on your targets. Avoid making excessive adjustments to the forecast, even if you discover it's too optimistic or pessimistic.

No consultation Your sales people probably have the best knowledge of your customers' buying intentions, therefore: Get an experienced person - your accountant or a senior sales person - to review the whole document. Creating a sales plan The questions you should answer in your sales plan are: