Strategic Planning Using Financial Models

Strategic Planning Using Financial Models

Uncertainty is a part of making business plans. But this should not stop you from creating strategic plans. This is where financial modeling comes in. Financial models do not make the future more predictable but it does help you choose between various options and prepare your business to navigate twists and turns as you implement your strategic plan.

What Is Financial Modeling?

Financial modeling is the act of building a conceptual framework that depicts where a business’ financial situation will be at some period in the future. It is based on real world information gathered from financial statements and market research.

When done correctly, a financial model considers all areas of a business’ financial performance and generates a three statement models, namely, income, balance, and cash flow . It uses clear, logical, and defensible assumptions in order to account for changes in business activity.

Who Should You Use To Prepare A Financial Model?

A financial model is a tool for your business that will be used to aid strategic planning. The person creating your financial model needs to have a strong understanding of accounting fundamentals and financial statement analysis, and ideally has knowledge of your industry.

What Happens After Creating A Financial Model?

While financial modeling can help a buyer feel more comfortable with your growth projections, it is only the first step in this process. You will want to use your financial model to determine the current and projected value of your company to see if it meets your goals. Next, you should detect areas for improvement or investment in your business, and develop a strategic plan for making this all happen.

Make sure to keep records of everything that goes into this process because buyers want to know how close you came to achieving past projections, what actions you took when you deviated or exceeded projections, which members of the leadership team were essential to this process, and how they can take your business to the next level.

Financial model can be used to develop and enhance strategic planning initiatives. It addresses five components: determining if your business’ value is where you want it to be, revising projected vs. actual results, finding opportunities for improved performance, developing action plans to achieve results, and setting the current organizational structure to reflect your business goals.

Why Should You Regularly Update Financial Models?

It is a foregone conclusion that your financial model will differ from what actually happens as time passes and conditions change. And that is why it’s critical to update your financial models and overall strategic plan on a regular basis. Any deviations from the model must be taken into consideration and actions must be taken to correct the issue.

Tips To Launch A Winning Product

Tips To Launch A Winning Product

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A winning product launch gives a head start in sales for your company. It is one of the few opportunities to go from gradual to exponential sales. 

Here are seven tips to achieve a winning product launch:

Matching Product to Market Needs

A winning product launch begins with meeting the capabilities of your product to the requirements of your target market. This is often the domain of a product manager. If you are presenting a new product or service into the market you would be well served by getting out and talking to the potential buyers that your product addresses. Odds are you learn something unique and possibly so enlightening that it could be the turning point in your business.

A winning product launch cannot happen if the market wants a different thing from what you are delivering. 

Study the competition

A detailed competitive investigation based on your research and visits to the target market will help you make key choices. Check for the need to modify your product or service and customize it for that market.

Clear Positioning and Messaging

Positioning is the set of actions you do to place your product clearly in the minds of your buyers. If your positioning is not clear, your buyers and possible partners will be confused.   

Effective positioning is a communication process that makes the benefits and capabilities of your product so crystal clear to your buyers such that they get it without tremendous effort on your part. Your message forms the foundation for all communication to your target market.

Setting Clear Launch Goals

Be particular about what you want to achieve in your new market, including the level of sales you can anticipate reaching.You will not have a chance at a winning product launch if you do not establish clear goals. 

Proper and clear goals frame the purpose of your product launch. Once you have established the goals of your launch you need to consider how they will be measured.  

Priming the Pump

One of the most important tips to a winning launch is priming the pump. Priming the pump refers to all the activities that are conducted to build excitement and create demand for your product before it is generally available to buyers. You can do this no matter how large or small your company or the size of your budget.

Some ways you can achieve this is by involving customer support, though the sales team, your channel partners, executives or by involving industry analysts. 

Time the Launch Event to Maximize Sales

Identify the times and locations that afford maximum leverage and plan your lunch accordingly. Timing a launch can make all the difference in the world. This can be especially true if you launch your products on a global scale. 

Is Your Business Strategic Plan On Track?

Is Your Business Strategic Plan On Track?

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Once you create a strategic plan it is highly important that you track the implementation of the plan. The progress of your strategy’s implementation must be checked on a fairly regular and scheduled basis to see if it is still on track. This is the only way to understand if you are moving in the right direction and if you are achieving your goals.

For a strategic plan to be actionable it needs to have certain metrics. Here are a few ways through which you can measure the success of your plan:

Using the Right Metrics

That action plan that supports your business strategy must include key metrics that can be used to track your progress. These metrics can be both milestones and quantifiable performance measures.

Milestones can vary according to the business. It can be simple tasks or major events that mark a definite change in the functioning of the business.

Choosing the right performance measures can be difficult but they are important when tracking the efforts of your company. Given below are a few tips on how to pick and implement these metrics:

Based on Objectives

Metrics can be related to finance, marketing, sales, operational efficiency, environmental impact etc. It is best to fully understand your objectives and then pick the needed metrics. These metrics must guild your employees into the actions that will ultimately help in achieving the organization’s goals.

Simplicity is Key

Do not overload your staff with too many performance metrics. Keep it within a limit of four per department. It is also important to provide appropriate training to your employees so that they can correctly monitor and collect data. Inadequate training can easily ruin the tracking process.

Latest data

It is important to use the latest data and information available and it should be promptly reported to the managers. This will act as a feedback system and also help in predicting any future troubles or changes.

Performance Dashboards

Performance dashboards are excellent tools that can be used for tracking.

Make sure that you periodically report progress to your team and stakeholders via a newsletter or a plan implementation report. Always present data and information by using visuals and points so that it can be easily grasped.

Conduct quarterly and annual review meetings to discuss the progress of the plan and clear any doubts. You can review the measures and ensure that it provides the needed information.

The Sure Shot Plan for Better Productivity

The Sure Shot Plan for Better Productivity

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The advent of technology and consumer demands has increased the need for productivity. Businessmen are looking for ways to improve productivity so that they can face the increasing the competition.

Bettering productivity means working smarter. It also includes being efficient in how you convert inputs to the final product. Look for ways and opportunities through which you can improve the overall efficiency of your company.

Here are some areas you can focus on to improve productivity:

Use technology

Using technology is one of the best ways to improve how you run your business. You can easily increase your market share, reduce cost and quickly address customer related problems through the use of technology.

You can purchase required materials from suppliers online. This way you have more access to other suppliers and you can quickly compare the prices.

Using an inventory management system will help you keep track of the inventory levels and also increase profitability. By integrating it with your organization’s purchasing system and accounting software, you can now track all the orders and also check inventory movement.

Always watch out for the latest technological innovation which can drastically improve productivity. Scour the internet or attend trade shows to get acquainted to the newer technologies. Find out what systems or tools other companies in your sector use.

Improve the current setup

Study your current production process while keeping your business vision in mind. Have a clear idea of each process and how the various elements are connected when creating a final product.

Through this technique you will be able to identify unwanted procedures and wasteful methods. You can easily eliminate these steps. Identify ways by which you can reduce the cost of a process while still maintaining the quality of the product. This is a great way to improve the overall efficiency of your company.

Make a continuous improvement plan

Create and implement a continuous improvement plan. First assess your competitions and other companies from your sector and create a benchmark.  Identify your business weakness and strengths. Start slow and focus on one particular goal. Create and assign teams to deal with specific problems.

Always be open to suggestions from employees. Small improvements and changes made here and there can have a huge impact on the business. Measure and re-evaluate your progress and update your plan accordingly.

Outsourcing is one by which you can focus on improving the productivity of your company. Look into your expenditure and other necessary factors before deciding to outsource a particular procedure.

Another way to better productivity is by forming alliance with other companies. The right alliance will help you expand your business without incurring more costs. With proper research and investment you can quickly expand your business.

Strategy to Build an Effective Sales Plan

Strategy to Build an Effective Sales Plan

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The success of any company is hugely depended on the management and implementation of sales. Therefore, having a simple and clear plan for sales activities is essential. 

If you have never written a sales plan before, the task might seem daunting. Fortunately, it is not complicated. If done right, it can help you take a more strategic, big-picture approach to growing your business

A sales plan can be made effective by understanding 4 key points. 

Goals 

Start by deciding what you want to achieve. The targets can be anything, jot down whatever that comes to your mind. Dream big at this stage. 

It is important when writing a sales plan to have a clear image of where you are as an organization and where you would like to be at the end of the year. 

Allocate resources 

With goals and targets in place, you now need to consider what is feasible. Consider various options and choose the best. Also, take stock of your tools and systems. You need to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system and in other kinds of marketing materials you need to support your sales team. 

Communicating your sales plan 

i)With the sales team 

The success of your sales plan rests on your sales team. Your sales team cannot accomplish your sales plan targets unless they totally understand the plan. Your sales plan ought to describe how you will communicate the plan to your employees and the way you will train them to implement your plan’s actions. 

ii)With the customers and suppliers 

It is also necessary to consider any impacts your tactics can have on your customers or suppliers. Understand the shopping patterns of your customers, supplier’s delivery and production methods and make a plan that helps you in communicating the changes to them.  

Monitoring sales plan 

Your sales plan will assist you to monitor your sales performance and make improvements. List your marketing objectives and establish the results you expect you are promoting to attain. These results are measures will act as indicators of whether you achieved your goals or not. For example: 

After listing your objectives and measures, establish in your sales plan how you’ll monitor sales results, who will record and check results and how frequently. This data will enable you to visualize your sales performance over time and modify your techniques to improve your sales. 

Planning is often an activity that happens on top of regular business. To keep moving forward, spread the planning process across a week or so, focusing on one section of your plan at a time. The key is to just keep working. Start off small and build a concrete plan eventually.