Whether you plan to have a restaurant or a gaming arcade or just simply venturing on other retail and online stores, you need to have a business plan and a financial plan. And, if you don’t know the difference between the two, this would be a good starting point.
Your plan does not have to be an elaborate five-year strategy but should simply address your purpose, your target, your goal and a timeline to achieve this.
Whatever your business background maybe, understanding finance is critical and the faster you learn this, the better. There are several things you will realise:
- You’ll never have too much cash.
- Your revenues will be different than you expect, for better or for worse.
- Your costs will always be higher than you expect.
- Your cash flow needs to be managed outside of your accounting system.
- You can model your business in a spreadsheet without being an Excel expert.
If you are starting a business, or you are in a high growth phase, or you simply desire to raise additional capital, you need to develop a set of financial tools to analyze your business’s revenue, costs, profits and cash flow.
Start with the basics. Project your costs for a year, if you have previous records then simply look at your last fiscal year’s results. You can make this as simple or complex as your skills allow. But your goal will be to enter some basic targets like growing your revenue by a given percent while keeping costs even with inflation. You’ll want to make sure to add any new projected revenue streams, as well as planned investments in personnel, equipment, marketing, website, and other areas of your business. You should be prepared to make changes to your budget on a monthly basis to reflect learned realities from your business and economic conditions.
Cash flow is related to your budget and your income statement. The goal is to project when you will receive cash from your sales, as well as when you pay your bills. If you do cash sales, your model will be easier to develop than if you invoice your customers with terms. Once you have set this model up, you will see where you will have cash flow deficits or surpluses during the year. If you maintain this model diligently, you will have a very accurate representation of your cash flow position on a weekly and monthly basis.
Technology is at its raving best today. Explore business tools that exist that will help you grow your business, save costs and strategise better. Remember to keep your business objectives in mind when choosing newer technology so that they actually help you instead of weighing you or your staff down.
While planning your business, it would be good to consider how your business can support local social groups. Adopt a cause and factor that into your planning. This works as a real feel-good factor for your brand.
This is just an overview of what you should look at when planning your store or planning for your business and financial plans. None of these tools happens overnight. You will develop them over time and continue to improve them. The important thing is the thought behind the spreadsheets, versus focusing on building them.
In the end, you will want to look back and see what worked.