Reinforce Your Business Plan With Sound Financial Projections

Strange as it may sound, the creation of financial projections is far more important and complex, than the actual results. More than merely the figures, it is the planning that matters. Or restated, it is the means to the end that matters here more than the end.

Without financial projections, business is like fumbling in the dark without a lamp and a map and you will not be able win investor confidence or obtain financing. Even if you are self-funding, or you have a family driven business, you need financial projections as a guide and barometer to measure your company’s performance.

You will need to consider these steps to arrive at your financial projections:

Develop your 3-5 year Sales forecast: You can make your forecast, based on past sales data, competitive comparisons, and the current economic trend. Typically it is a blend each and you should understand that your optional lenders aren’t going to believe you anyway! We all want to believe that our sales are going to skyrocket but keep in mind that your investors are going to hold you accountable in the future. Keep in mind that if you need more capital in 3 years from now, those same investors are a great source of more cash but they will measure your current progress against your initial projections.

Create an Expenses budget: These include expenses for your cost of goods, but also for your operational expenses such as equipment, payroll, rent, marketing, insurance, depreciation and so on. Typically after estimating the cost of goods, we then break down the operating expenses into broader categories such as: Sales and Marketing, Administrative and then either Research and Development or Misc. Production Costs.

Conceive a Cash Flow Statement: This refers to the flow of cash in and out of your business and reveals your liquidity, or the ability to use cash when required. (and important for lenders, the ability to pay them back!) The Cash Flow Statement is of key interest to investors and lenders as they will want to make sure that your business plan includes enough cash to keep operating.

Build your Income Projections: This refers to your financial position, resulting from revenues, and cost of goods sold, gross profit and operating expenses. The amount of income you project is important from the standpoint of long term viability but in some cases such as internet sales, sometimes growth and number of customers become equally important.

Consider your Assets and Liabilities: Assets are things you own that have value, while liabilities are the amounts you owe to others. When building your projections, you need to make sure that you have included the buildings, equipment, vehicles and such that you will need to support your business plan.

Arrive at your Break Even Analysis: A key area of interest in projections is when you are poised to make profits in your business based on a combination of fixed costs, variable costs per unit of sales, and revenue per unit of sales. This is the final phase in your business where expenses are equal to actual sales.

The Best Financing Options For Consumers

There are many ways in which a consumer’s purchasing power can be boosted to have value without many risks. There are different providers that offered different instant credit that can be used as they shop at different stores. In some cases, customers are allowed to get a loan and then pay in installments over a period of time that is predetermined.

Financing without risks is something that most people are interested in. Customers can enjoy pay later options in a secure and safe way. It is a risk-free kind of arrangement for both the buyer and the seller. It is important to accept the fact that most shoppers would not make purchases without financing available. The value of orders goes up incredibly with financing.

In the past, only the big retailers got financing, but advancement in payment methods has made it possible for all kinds of businesses to offer consumers great financing options at costs that are affordable. There are some things that you should keep in mind before settling for a provider and they include:

Impact on the consumers

Price is a big determinant whether a customer makes a purchase or not. When a lump sum is broken down into installments, then it becomes more palatable. The behavior can be leveraged when you show the monthly financing available alongside the purchase price to show the buyer that he could very well fit the item into his or her budget.

The interest that is charged is also something that many people will think about. There are different terms of payments regarding how often they will make charges. Other things considered are the use of credit cards, flat fees, and so on. It is important to deal with a provider who offers rates that are favorable.

Ease

One of the things that the people look out for is how easy it is to make an application. There are options where you have to fill out pages of paperwork and can take many days to complete. Some only require very little information and only some minutes to approve.

This kind of financing is aimed at increasing your sales and therefore the application should not be made complicated. If it takes too long, then most people will just give up and try to purchase somewhere else.

Most of the financing options also require the buyers to have smartphones where they can get authentication codes. Though it is a minor step, there is the assumption that everyone has a smartphone. It is therefore important to ensure that your buyers can use the option easily depending on the target group.

Flexibility in branding and marketing

When you are planning to offer to finance your clients, it should fit very well on the website as well as an online store. Consider marketing flexibility as well as branding that is offered by the different companies.

You need a provider who offers flexibility that allows you to white label the option. This means that you can brand the option as if it were your own. When you change the message, then the buyers will feel confident taking it from you instead of a third party. This allows the finance option to fit with the brand and image.

Looking for Money in All the Wrong Pockets

An incident happened this past week in which I am still scratching my head. Have you ever known you had something, but for the life of you could not find it? I will accede to the fact that occasionally, I do have a streak of absent-mindedness running through me. At times, I wish it would just walk.

I was fairly certain I had an extra $20 in one of my pant’s pockets. It was what I affectionately refer to as my “mad Money.” My wife would be mad if she knew I had it. I do not remember where it came from but my real problem was, I could not find those pants.

Usually, if I find money in my pants pocket there is only one explanation. I’m wearing somebody’s pants, but not mine. The truth is, my pants rarely see any extra money. If there is an occasion when I do have money in my pocket, my pants get all excited and wrinkly.

Only this was different. I distinctly remember putting a $20 bill in one of my pants pockets and thinking what I could do with it. But now, I cannot find it. I knew I had an extra $20. I distinctly remember putting it somewhere. I’ve looked everywhere… maybe I should have looked somewhere.

With the aimless look on my face, more aimless than normal, I wandered the house in search of the missing $20. I tried to act inconspicuous so the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage would not discover what I was doing.

Obviously, no Emmy award will come my way because my acting inconspicuous was a complete failure.

“What are you looking for?” My wife queried.

“Nothing,” I stammered.

“When you find it, let me know. I really don’t know what nothing looks like.”

Ha. Ha. Ha. Sometimes she thinks she is a comedian. However, I was not laughing. If I find that money, the joke will be on her. Then we will see who is laughing.

I had two fears facing me at this point. First, she could have found the money and was waiting for me to admit that I actually had some extra money. This would invite a great deal of grief on top of my balding head.

Second, if I told her I was looking for money she would want to know where I got extra money. If I cannot remember where the money is, how in the world am I going to remember where it came from?

Then, she would want to know how much more money I had misplaced somewhere in the house. Actually, I want to know that myself.

Such interrogation from her borders on waterboarding. If the FBI wants to learn a thing or two about torturing people, they could learn an awful lot from her. She can torture a person and not lay a glove on them. Of course it is not her glove I am worried about, it is her evil eye that goes through a person, me in particular, like a laser beam.

My wife always knows when I’m lying. My lips are moving.

Coming back to the missing $20. I could offer to split it with her if she would help me find it, which would leave me with $10. $10 in the hand is worth more than $20 that I do not know where it is.

Then, I would have to explain what I needed $10 for at the time. Christmas is over and her birthday and our anniversary are a long way off, so I cannot tell her I want to buy her a present.

I did have plans for that $20. Now, I cannot even remember what those plans were. Maybe, if I knew what I planned to do with the $20 I might remember what I did with the $20.

While I was musing on this situation, I discovered a correlation between money and love. Without love, you end up with a broken heart. Without money, you just end up broke.

Then out of nowhere, and I mean nowhere, an idea entered my head. I remembered wearing my brown suit when I got $20. I went to my closet, but the suit was not there.

“Have you seen my brown suit?” I asked my wife.

“Yes,” she said rather absent-mindedly, “I sent it to the dry cleaner. Why do you ask?”

Then, with a little smirk dancing on her face, she asked, “You weren’t looking for $20, were you?”

The only thing I hope is that I do not remember where the $20 came from or what I planned to do with it. I guess a freshly dry cleaned suit is worth $20.

Seeking that money reminded me of a verse of Scripture. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:33-34).

Then another verse. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

No matter how hard you search for something, if it is not there, you will never find it. But with God it is a different story. When we truly seek him, we always find him.