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09.05.2016
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However, beyond an effective sales process, proper Sales Governance requires a complete linkage between, vision, mission, strategies, and sales execution.
No matter the reasons, successful strategic alliances share a common characteristic: they are mutually beneficial by design.
By the time you have the basic numbers in your evolving plan, it's not too hard to fill in some blanks and follow some standards to create a complete financial forecast.
This is about the classic market analysis, industry analysis, and business descriptions: your management team, company history, and so on. You may run into the acronym GAAP, which stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. In fact, my favorite way to make these estimates is to change and manage numbers in the cash flow and use those changes to automatically generate the balance sheet. An income statement (also called profit and loss) shows your business performance over a defined period of time (usually a month or a year). In the meantime, though, there are some standard conventions for the way these various statements link together. As with sales, you should normally have a separate personnel table, but the numbers showing in that table should be the same numbers that show up for personnel costs in your profit and loss table. Your profit and loss table should show the same numbers as sales and personnel plan tables in the proper areas. Your cash flow has to reflect your profit and loss, plus changes in balance sheet items and noncash expenses such as depreciation, which are on the profit and loss. Your business ratios should calculate automatically, based on the numbers in sales, profit and loss, personnel, cash flow, and balance sheet. Normal people hate financial projections because of their off-putting formats and buzzwords.
Let's go over a few simple points that generate a lot of unnecessary errors in business plans.
For any normal planning purposes, for any normal company, you should have at least 12 months detailed month by month for business plan forecasts.
My advice to you, when that comes up, is that unless you are a special case (if you are, you know who you are), look for another expert. It's likely that at some point you'll want to go further, into the straight financial projections that are part of a complete formal business plan. The good news is that with what we did with the basic numbers, you're already a long way there. The bad news is that here again the details and specific meanings of financial terms matter.
Notice that the income statement involves only four of the seven fundamental financial terms.
The income statement is about the flow of transactions over some specified period of time, like a month, a quarter, a year, or several years.
If you've done the basic numbers I recommended in the previous chapter -- sales and cost of sales in the sales forecast, and expenses (including payroll) -- then you've got the bulk of the income statement done.
The most important thing about a balance sheet is that it includes a lot of spending and money management that isn't included in the income statement. The balance sheet shows a business's financial position, which includes assets, liabilities, and capital, on a specified date. Unless that simple equation is true, the balance sheet doesn't balance and the numbers are not right.
What's particularly important in planning is that neither the income statement alone nor the balance sheet alone is sufficient to plan and manage cash. I discuss the cash flow in much greater detail in the section Planning the Cash Flow. So those three main tables are just about essential for a complete business plan: you have to project income, balance, and cash flow. You should also use business charts, like bar charts and pie charts, to illustrate your projected numbers as much as possible. As you consider your projected income statement, I hope you see three of your spending budgets there -- the cost of sales, the payroll, and the expenses. You don't have to be an accountant or an MBA to do a business plan, but you will be better off with a basic understanding of some essential financial terms.
I didn't talk much about gross margins when we discussed the sales forecast and the cost of sales, but the gross margin is a useful basis for comparison. EBIT is also called gross profit in some circles, but that same term is sometimes applied to the gross margin, so I like EBIT better.
I hope you notice that you've already gathered most of this data as part of your flesh and bones of the plan. A business's balance sheet shows the financial picture at some specific time, like at the end of the last day of the month or the end of the last day of the year.
If you do it right, once you set your starting balances, you can use your cash flow assumptions to calculate the rest of the balance sheet.The idea is that you have educated guesses already for sales, costs, and expenses.
To do your financial projections well, you need to start the balance sheet and then adjust it according to assumptions in the cash flow. If you're an existing or ongoing company, startup costs and startup funding are irrelevant. I usually recommend a past performance table showing three years of data, even though you actually use just that last year, which normally includes some estimates of ending balances and full-year data.
If you're planning a new company, just starting, then you set your starting balances using the estimated starting costs you did for basic business numbers. We got through the basic business numbers with that discussion of cash traps instead of the full detail of the cash flow.
As you grow, if you add people to your team, then you want to bring them into the process, and make sure you're on the same page.
You want or need to present a complete formal business plan, or the elevator speech, or the pitch presentation, or summary memo.
That's the projected income (profit and loss), balance sheet, cash flow, business ratios, the whole thing.
Having a plan, how to create an elevator speech, a pitch presentation, a summary memo, and of course the full formal business plan document. This is true in GAAP, true in Excel, in Lotus 1-2-3 if you do it right, and automatically in Business Plan Pro.


The same numbers in the sales forecast are the ones you use in the profit and loss statement. It should also show interest expenses as a logical reflection of interest rates and balances of debt. Really, it's just a matter of making good estimated guesses about what you're going to be selling, what it'll cost and what your expenses will be. These are simple facts -- accounting conventions, in some cases -- that answer a lot of entrepreneurs' frequently asked questions. Tax law allows businesses to establish so-called fiscal years instead of calendar years for tax purposes. Don't call your investment venture capital unless it comes from one of the few hundred actual VC firms. One common example is wanting to take money spent on programmers and pretend that paying a programmer is buying an asset.
The two main accounting standards are either cash basis or accrual; accrual is better because it gives you more accurate cash projections. That would be for sales forecast, cost of sales, your burn rate, and eventually the complete financial forecast, if you're going to do it.
You'll run into experts who will say you need more than 24 months by month, or more than five years in detail. With the three main financial statements, specifically, financial analysts use the term pro forma to describe projected statements and predictions. While an income statement will have some influence on assets, liabilities, and capital, it includes only sales, costs, expenses, and profit.
Take the sales and cost of sales from that table, and the expenses from that table, and If you have interest expenses, and taxes, add them in.
It will always show assets on the left side or on the top, with liabilities and capital on the right side or the bottom. You can use that to help make estimated guesses, and pull things together for projected cash flow. In mathematical and financial detail it reconciles the income statement with the balance sheet, but that detail is hard to see and follow.
Cash flow is the single most important numerical analysis in a plan, and should never be missing. We've already talked about startup costs, but most business plans for startups also need to show where the money to pay for startup costs is coming from. When a plan is doing a complete financial forecast for an existing company, past performance is required to set the starting balances for the future. A break-even analysis is a standard routine that compares sales to fixed and variable costs to determine how much sales will it take to cover costs.
The market analysis is usually an important core component of the market information, supporting information that is required when you're working on a plan for outsiders.
When you're projecting your income and balances, you can then use math and formulas to project standard business ratios. For plans intended to go to either investors or lenders, use of funds is a list showing how the money coming in will be spent. Otherwise, you're doomed to either having somebody else develop and explain your numbers, or having your numbers be incorrect. Cash, accounts receivable, inventory, land, buildings, vehicles, furniture, and other things the company owns are assets.
The raw materials and assembly costs, the cost of finished goods that are then resold, the direct cost of delivering the service. Office rent, administrative and marketing and development payroll, telephone bills, Internet access, all those things a business pays for but doesn't resell. For financial statements the presentation can become very complex, as various items get broken down into rows and rows of detail, but for planning purposes, you want to keep it simple if you can. The financial picture is a matter of assets, liabilities, and capital. Through the magic of double-entry bookkeeping, your financial transactions are recorded in a way that ensures the balance sheet will indeed balance if the entries are correct. You can use assumptions for sales on credit and payment days and collection days and inventory management to calculate these balances. You've got assets defined in the startup table, so what's left is to show where the capital and liabilities are. That might be enough for the early plan, but eventually you're going to want to build a real cash plan, using real numbers, and real financial math. Consulta nuestras Condiciones de uso y nuestra Politica de privacidad para mas informacion.
Consulta nuestra Politica de privacidad y nuestras Condiciones de uso para mas informacion. I wrote about the cash flow traps in the previous chapter; being aware of them is better than not, but with standard financial projections, you can take your sales forecast, expense budgets, and starting position and with a few reasonable assumptions you can project your cash. If you can set your starting balances to match your beginning-of-the-plan estimated guesses, then some rolling assumptions will take you right from there to cash. A balance sheet, on the other hand, shows your financial position at some moment (usually at the end of the month or the end of the year). For example, when you borrow money, it doesn't affect the profit or loss (except for interest expenses later on), but it makes a huge difference to your checking account balance.
For example, your fiscal year might go from February through January, or October through September.
When your business sells anything to another business, you usually have to deliver an invoice and wait to get paid. Costs are normally the cost of sales, sometimes called cost of goods sold and direct costs. It certainly gives you some numbers to get a hold on and to manage, review, correct, and revise.
It can be an annoying analysis sometimes, because it requires averaging variable costs and unit prices over an entire business, but it can still be useful as a first look at the risks related to fixed and variable costs. Investors, bankers, professors of business, consultants, and others like to see proof of market. If you know you need $10,000 every month to cover your burn rate, then when you watch your sales you have an instant sense of where they have to get. This is a good point to note the advantage of teams in business: if you have somebody on your team who knows fundamental financial estimating, then you don't have to do it yourself.


Actually there's an iron-clad and never-broken rule of accounting: Assets = Liabilities + Capital. This is what the bookstore paid for the book you buy, it's the gasoline and maintenance costs of a taxi ride, it's the cost of printing and binding and royalties when a publisher sells a book to a store for resale. If you've followed the standard financial definitions, as I hope you did (otherwise I'll have to say I told you so), then creating the income statement is a matter of pulling the information together into a single table. Don't try to calculate interest based on a complex series of debt instruments, just average your interest over the projected debt. To make a powerful and useful cash flow projection you need to summarize and aggregate the rows of the balance sheet. I say estimated, in this case, because usually you're doing your business plan to start a new period in a few months, such as working in October for a plan starting the following January.
The expenses affect your capital, because they add up to a loss at startup (don't be disappointed, that's the way almost all startups begin. That's called sales on credit, which has nothing to do with credit cards, but plenty to do with B2B sales. Costs are the money you spend on whatever you're selling, like what a bookstore pays to buy books. The pro forma income statement, for example, is the same as the projected profit and loss or the profit and loss forecast. But I don't think you should plan in the detail of financial forecasts, for very long time periods. Sometimes what they mean when they say that is that they know more than you do, so they want you to suffer more.
It shows sales first, then cost of sales (or COGS, or cost of goods sold, or direct costs, which is essentially the same thing). By cash we mean liquidity, as in the balance in checking and related savings accounts, not strictly bills and coins.
I believe they should also have separate personnel listings, a projected balance sheet, projected business ratios, and market analysis. In practice, people often have to project a few months forward to estimate what the final balance will be on the day the new plan starts.
The market analysis table shows what data you have, usually a market growth projection, in general by segment. These are things like return on investment, profits to sales, inventory turnover, collection days, and so on. Some companies reduce risk by trying to make as much as possible into variable costs, depending on sales, instead of fixed costs.
Technically, the sale happens when the goods or services are delivered, whether or not there is immediate payment. You own results will always be different from the standard, so just understand why you're different, and don't worry about it too much.
Don't try to do graduated tax rates; just use an average tax percentage for a profitable company. Resist the temptation to break it down into detail the way you would with a tax report after the fact.
So you don't actually have the ending balance for the year that's going to end in December; but you do have pretty good numbers to estimate.
That loss means you're keeping track of expenses so you can deduct them from taxable income later, when you make a profit). Assets must always be equal to capital (also called equity) and liabilities.The cash flow reconciles the other two. When you make the sale and deliver the invoice, the invoice amount increases sales and accounts receivable. Expenses are regular running expenses like rent and payroll -- expenses you'd have whether or not you had any sales. That lowers your tax bill and makes your balance sheet look better, because you don't have fake assets. The larger numbers -- sales, for example, involve so much uncertainty that you don't get your time's worth back by trying to project more detail. Then it subtracts costs from sales to calculate gross margin (which is defined as sales less cost of sales).
There are others that are common, but not necessarily required (depending on the situation and exact context of the plan).
Sometimes the startup funding will produce a useful business chart, a bar chart showing investment vs. For example, if you're doing a plan for next year starting in January, and it's only October, then you have to guess what happens to balances between October and December. For example, to make programming expenses variable instead of fixed costs, contract the work by milestone, or pay less fixed compensation and more royalty on sales.
Not all your money received nor all your spending show up in the Income Statement, and not all of it shows up in the Balance Sheet. Then it shows operating expenses, usually (but not always) subtracting operating expenses from gross margin to show EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes). Market analysis can produce some good-looking charts too, like pie charts breaking the market into segments, and bar charts showing market growth as projected into the future. In accrual, you owe the money when you receive the good or service, regardless of when you pay. For example, interest expense goes into the income statement but principal repayment goes into the cash flow, which then affects the balance, but never appears anywhere in income.
If they are investors, what they mean is that they don't want to invest and they don't want to tell you why. That means a standard debt payment that includes both interest and principal repayment has to be divided up into both parts.



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