Financial Business Plans and How to Write Them
Financial business plan. It’s amazing how much fear and dread those three simple words can provoke in many business owners, especially those who are just starting out. We also find that a lot of sole traders and company directors consider their business plan a short-lived document that’s used at the very beginning of their journey, whereas it should actually be integrated into how your business performs, adapts and grows on a daily basis.
What does an overall business plan include?
There are quite a few sections that need to be covered in a business plan, including a company description, executive summary, market and competitive analysis, and explanations of how management, staffing, marketing, sales and funding will work in line with projections. These are usually easier for the business owner to provide due to them being directly linked to the very reason for them starting the business and the format they expect it to take. Even so, we can help you to get them absolutely perfect.
Then there’s the financial aspects of your business plan, which are just as wide-ranging. We’ve outlined what they are below and why they matter.
Create a spreadsheet that clearly gives your projected sales over the next three years. There should be individual columns for the first twelve months and then it can either be monthly or quarterly for years two and three.
Going further into detail, different types of sales should be segmented into rows, such as a marketing agency separating graphic design income from revenue made through social media management, or a shop listing all of its product categories and estimating gross sales of each on a monthly basis. By doing so, you establish a clearer picture for cash flow management.
In the same way that you make an estimate of money that will come in, you should do the same for all outgoings. Everything needs to be included, from large regular costs such as rent, wages and the purchasing of stock, to utility bills, software, transportation, insurance, and anything else your business needs to buy in order to run smoothly.
It’s also a good idea to split these into fixed costs (rent, payroll, bills) and variable costs (advertising, events, client entertaining), as the variables can always work around the fixed. Knowing what’s absolutely essential and what can be reduced if necessary helps to ensure that there’s wiggle room as time goes on.
A cash flow statement represents money moving in and out of your business, which needs to take into account the possibility of late payments and unexpected costs. If you anticipate that every penny due will land in your account on time, this may not actually be the case – that’s why a realistic forecast will help to prevent your business stumbling if cash isn’t flowing as positively as you’d like it to.
It can be hard to estimate how much income will enter your new business but you can come to a realistic estimate by using the information from your projected sales, expenses and cash flow.
The easy way to work this out is by taking the sales total and subtracting the cost of sales to determine the gross margin. Next, gross margin minus expenses and taxes is net profit. These figures can greatly clarify your business plan and will likely result in further fine-tuning of your overall strategy.
Assets and liabilities
Many of the costs linked to assets will only apply when first setting up a business, such as purchasing furniture, equipment, technology and anything else that’s integral to getting started.
Then there’s the liabilities, which include bills, outstanding expenses, bank overdrafts and loans, which are usually short term and necessary for the founding of your company. Knowing what you own and what you owe is the basis of an effective business.
It may sound blatantly obvious, but a business needs to make more money than it spends in order to be viable. However, this doesn’t always happen within the first year and sometimes takes two years or more.
The key is to work out when your business will break even – the longer you think it will take, the smaller the chance of it being practical in the long run. If this is the case, don’t take it as defeat, as we can help you to streamline your costs and maximise your income.
Get in touch
We’re here to work with you closely and create a powerful business plan that’s designed around sustainability, compliance and growth. To get started, call us on 01482 235575 or fill in our contact form.
Tagged as: Small Business Help
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