StartUp Financial Projections
“Pro Forma” is a Latin word meaning “for the sake of form” and is basically a method for calculating financial results using projections or presumptions. Your StartUp financials in fact are simply “a guess”, but an educated one!
Just like predicting the weather - you need to collect as much data as possible about the state of the industry and your market, look at your operational processes and then determine how all of it might fit together.
There are 3 important pro forma statements that you need for your business plan: an income statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. Even if you dislike numbers, I would highly recommend that you get familiar with the workings of each of these statements as they will be critical for you well beyond the StartUp phase.
But let’s get back to the guesstimation piece for your StartUp. Estimating expenses just requires a little digging on your part. You’ll need both your start up expenses (such as business licenses, website development and even fixtures and furniture), but also your ongoing operational expenses like rent, utilities, marketing and inventory.
Estimating sales for a StartUp is a little more complicated but absolutely doable. Remember, it’s an educated guess but one that you need to be able to justify. First, start by writing out the assumptions you have about your business. For example, is one of your assumptions that you will sell 7 out of 10 customers that find your website?
I also find that sales forecasting is a little easier by making 3 guesstimates, not just one. How is doing 3 statements easier than just doing 1, you might be asking?
Having 3 projections really forces you to confront those assumptions you might be making about your StartUp. Start with a best case scenario (one where you meet all your wildest sales dreams), add a worst case scenario (one where you’ve launched your business but finding it tough to make ends meet) and then finally add a realistic scenario. By doing all three, you will start to uncover your business biases and will help to challenge your perspectives about your business.