A large number of managers worldwide engage in the preparation of business plans, whether in a start-up, mature company or M&A context. Unfortunately, the results are not always convincing, or correct!
- Business planning is a holistic activity that requires not only strong understanding of the business, but also a clear vision of where the company wants to go, and the skills to translate these into robust revenue and cost forecasts.
- You need the right level of detail. More often than not, the business plans prepared by others (your corporate HQs, your boss, you name it) are much too detailed – if you work for a large company, you know what we mean. In those horrible Excel templates, you really wonder who might ever read the hundreds and thousands of rows that try to forecast what could happen 10 years down the road….
- If you are looking at an existing business, the financial projections should also take the recent past into account. Too often, the business plans don’t seem to care about what happened in the last couple of years. If you haven’t analysed the recent performance of the company, how can you pretend that your 7-10 year forecast is realistic?
- Forecasting ‘costs’ is hard, but forecasting ‘markets’ and ‘revenues’ is really a lot harder. One way to address this challenge is to forecast the market in two different manners: by regions / countries on one hand, and by product lines / productss on the other hand. And then reconcile them so that the two projections are aligned.
- The financial statements that are generated often contain mistakes. Apart from trivial errors or omissions in Excel formulae, people often forget to include the impact of taxation (positive or negative!) in their calculations. Does taxation have an impact on cashflow, liquidity and value? Certainly it does, so taxation considerations should be included.
- Finally, the financial plan must look good. Not only it must support the story that you are trying to sell (to your management, or to investors), but it must also be visually appealing.
Investaura consultants have immense experience in the area of strategy – applied, detailed – and business planning – quantified, robust, actionable – going all the way back to the mid-1990s.
We understand both small and large businesses. We are consultants and entrepreneurs, and know what it takes to launch a new business from the ground up. In addition, we have worked in senior management positions in industry, so we know how innovation within large companies thrives – or languishes.
We know what works and what doesn’t, and understand the challenges faced by our clients well, because we have lived them. For more information about our business planning services, please contact us.