Use a financial plan sample from a business within your industry to help you build a stronger financial plan. Small business finance software can also help you conduct an effective business finance analysis and strengthen your operation.
Business Finance Analysis:
You can use sample financial plans to calculate ratio comparisons (liquidity, profitability, solvency, and efficiency ratios).
You can also use the data from the sample (or samples if you can access other businesses' annual reports in your industry) and run the information through small business finance software; then compare to your data.
These comparisons help you conduct a comprehensive business finance analysis and assess whether or not you are tracking, or out-performing, your competitors.
If the only comparisons or samples you can access are of different sized companies (much larger or much smaller), use weighted averages to help you compare.
Once you've completed the analysis of your data, complete your own business financial plan. You've now got a reality check in the form of the plan sample that you've analyzed.
To finish writing your business financial plan, ensure that you add assumptions and summary or discussion notes to your plan.
For instance, if you are a small business owner for a marketing services firm, your summary or discussion notes might look like:
Sample Summary on Projected Net Income: Our revenue projections for the 5 year plan include increases of 4% per year, with the exception of year 1 where we project an increase of 8%, based on a recent service contract we have signed with XYZ Corporation. It is a one year contract, with an option to renew in year 2 at the same price, plus inflation.
Our cost of sales is 58% of gross revenues in year 1, falling back to 54% of gross revenues in years 2 to 5. Marketing and Sales expenses, which include advertising, promotions, client entertainment, and travel, are 10% on average of net sales.
Add comments on all projected large expenses (property, computers, etc.).
Net income is projected to increase by about 27 percent in year 1: from $32,150 to $41,000; from $41,000 to $58,000 in year 2; and so on.
Sample Summary on Cash Flow Projection: The assumption is that the planned growth in year 1 will require additional cash to hire more staff or contract workers to support the sales growth.
In this summary statement, explain how you will support your cash needs (bank line of credit, shareholder's loan, prepaid contract, etc.).
From year 2 on, your cash needs should decline since you now have the additional income from the large sales contract in year 1. Year end cash from years 2 onward should have a positive cash balance in your projections.
And continue your comments on each section of your plan.
In your financial plan you must include your assumptions.
Typically these assumptions are listed at the end of your business financial plan.
When building your own business plan, you must include a realistic financial plan (it's easy to be overly optimistic, especially when starting out). To help you build realism into your plan, your business financial analysis needs to include a review of a financial plan sample (or samples), preferably within your industry.
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Your Business Financial Plan is critical to your success.
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Once you've built your plan, you need to implement it.
Developing your strategy (in the plan) is the first, necessary, step. You need to know the direction you want to go, and you need the strategy and the plan to help you get there.
But once you've built the plan, you must execute it.
There is no value in building a plan that just gathers dust.
When building your business plan, make sure that you include an action plan for the strategies, techniques and tactics.
The actions need to include who's responsible for doing what; measurements for success (such as deadlines and timelines, targets and goals, costs, etc.); and why you need to take the action (in some cases, one action needs to be accomplished before subsequent ones can be launched).
As you work through the plan, make sure that you build reporting periods into the implementation: you need to know what's going on and why something is working, or not.
Make sure to communicate progress, or lack of it, throughout the organization. And re-visit the plan when and where necessary.
Plan for the future: lots of business owners want to get, or keep, moving forward. Planning seems to be more of a passive activity.
However, to ensure that your business goes in the right direction and that it optimizes all its opportunities, and manages its challenges, it is important to plan.
Balance your activities against the plan: make sure that you are investing your time, and money, on the elements of your business that will help you succeed.
Measure what works, and what doesn't work, and keep your focus: use your business plan as a map to guide you in the direction you want to go.