In this fast and competitive world, the success of a business depends on how prepared they are. Prepared to adapt, to keep up with rivals, to handle the unexpected, and to seize opportunities as they arise. Through Business Financial Planning, businesses can fortify their foundation for success. They can gain insights by making use of their past performance data, their current situation, and trends to make predictions about future performances. They can make efficient use of their resources to maximise profit and wealth to keep all stakeholders happy. Since financial planning is so important for businesses, they hire a business financial consultant to help create a solid financial plan for sustained, long-term growth.
In this blog, let us understand the meaning of business financial planning, how it benefits businesses, how you can create a financial plan for your business, and see how different business financial plans are from individual ones.
What is Business Financial Planning?
With business financial planning, you create the blueprint for your business’s financial future. It details the financial management of your overall business plan. Through it, you decide the allocation of resources, monitor cash flows, decide the budget, manage liabilities, make projections and forecasts, manage risk, and much more, ultimately improving efficiency and achieving your short and long-term business goals. Basically, doing financial planning for business gives you insights to make smart and sustainable decisions. It is a comprehensive approach that ensures that your business not only survives but thrives in the ever-changing market dynamics. It needs to be strong and built on a solid foundation because when you try to grow your business and seek investors or loans, your financial plan will become the bedrock of credibility and confidence.
The importance of financial planning in business
For any business, the Importance of Financial Planning cannot be overstated. It is essential to the success of any business. Here’s why –
- Through financial planning, entrepreneurs gain insights that keep them informed and improve their decision-making.
- A financial plan outlines the business strategies that an entrepreneur will use over the course of the next month, quarter, or financial year.
- Entrepreneurs can use financial plans to assess their past and current situation, the progress of their goals, and their resources. It helps them keep track of their financial performance, identify areas of improvement, and make informed decisions to ensure the optimal allocation of resources for sustained growth and success.
- When the resources are optimally allocated, business owners can increase their profitability and sustainability.
- Financial plans can also help identify risk areas in advance which enables business owners to develop strategies to mitigate them.
- If you are a new business owner or are looking to start a business, it’s important to seek guidance from experts. A business financial planner can make sure you cover every essential component in your plan and ensure it aligns with your business goals.
- Consider the local aspects of your business and ask yourself, “Can a business financial advisor near me help me get started with my financial planning?” With help from a local business financial consultant, you will receive personalised insights tailored to the specific needs and challenges of your new venture while keeping in mind the competition and market trends in your area.
- Explore different business finance consulting services, and leverage the expertise of professionals who can help your business grow and succeed.
Benefits of financial planning for business
A well-crafted business financial plan lays the foundation for stable growth. Let’s list down some ways in which making a financial plan can benefit your business –
1. Cash Flow Management
As the name suggests, cash flow refers to the money coming in and out of your business. Usually, when a business is new, it will spend more money than it will earn, so your expectations about cash flow should be realistic. Through a financial plan, you will be able to forecast and manage cash flows effectively and avoid underflows or overflows.
2. Risk Management
A business faces many different types of financial risks, such as credit risk, liquidity risk, legal risk, operational risk, systematic risk, and market risk. A financial plan helps a business stay prepared for such dangers through forecasts and scenario planning. It will also compel you to create contingencies to tackle unexpected circumstances.
3. Creates Transparency
A financial plan creates transparency among investors, executives, and employees. If you want to hire good employees, they would want to know how stable your business is, and how likely it is to succeed in the future. A good and transparent financial plan attracts investors and high-quality employees.
4. Cost Reduction
A part of your financial plan is your budget. When you assess your expenses, you will likely find areas where you can make cuts to save more money. Cost cutting will help your bottom line and make sure you utilise your resources more efficiently.
5. Funding Opportunities
A solid financial plan enhances your credibility and attracts potential investors. Investors will see how their money will be used and study your past performances. Similarly, if your business needs loans, banks will scrutinise your liabilities and how you’ve managed them. A good financial plan can ensure your business gets all the funding it needs.
6. Crisis Management
Through projections, forecasts, and scenario planning, you will see any financial crisis coming from far away. But there are cases when extremely unexpected events happen, such as the 2008 global economic crisis, or the COVID pandemic. A well-prepared financial plan not only enables you to identify potential crises in advance but also equips you with contingency measures to deal with such events. This includes having a comprehensive risk mitigation strategy, maintaining a sufficient cash reserve, and establishing clear communication to keep stakeholders informed.
7. Professional Guidance
These benefits highlight why businesses invest heavily in business finance consulting services. Seeking guidance from a business financial consultant comes with its own advantages, the first being benefiting from the specialised knowledge and experience of financial professionals. A business financial planner can also tailor your financial plan according to the unique needs and goals of your business, and help you by regularly reviewing and adapting your financial plan to changes in the market.
Steps to Develop a Business Financial Plan
Creating effective financial plans for businesses demands a thoughtful approach, honest assessment, and careful implementation. Understand that this plan is going to be your guide for the future, and how closely and effectively you follow it will determine whether or not you achieve your business goals. Here are three simple steps you can take to start creating a successful business financial plan –
A. Setting Financial Goals:
Start by setting attainable short-term and long-term financial goals that are aligned with your business vision. These objectives should be clear, measurable, and defined with a time horizon. Ask yourself some questions – Where do I want my business to be in the next year or five? Do I plan to expand my business? If so, in how many years? Do I want to hit a specific revenue target to attract investors? Be specific with your questions, as the answers will help you set realistic goals. Establishing such goals will provide a strategic framework and help you focus your financial efforts and resources toward specific milestones, which will ultimately steer your business in the direction you wanted and planned for.
B. Budgeting Techniques
A budget can help you dictate the flow of cash. It is a framework that includes your total income, total expenses, and investments and reserves. Assess your situation and note down all your income and its sources, such as sales income, investments, donors, investors, or other revenue streams. Now take a thorough look at your expenses such as daily operational costs, marketing, advertising, employee salaries, research and development of products, equipment, and technology. Of course, if you want to profit, your revenue should exceed all your expenses. A budget helps with exactly this, and more. It will allow you to allocate resources to different departments efficiently. It is essentially a constraint, and everyone must work within it. When you break down your budget, you’ll find it easy to track and manage it.
C. Forecasting and Projections:
Now you have to create financial projections for different components such as income statements or balance sheets. These take into account the past performance, market trends, expenses you are expecting, and your sales forecast for the next month, quarter, or year. If you own a business that works with a very tight cash flow, you can also consider making a weekly projection.
Financial projections are important as they are shared with stakeholders, and help you navigate uncertainties and make sure that you remain on track toward your business goals. Take a look at your goals and work out how much it will cost you to reach them. Do this for a variety of scenarios – best case, worst case, or likely scenarios. This comprehensive scenario planning will help you stay prepared for any challenges and improve your decision-making.
Other than these steps you should make sure to plan for contingencies. Even though forecasts and projections give you a good idea of where you’re likely headed, they can’t predict the future. The world of finance especially is full of uncertainties, and a business should be prepared for them.
Make sure you have a decently sized cash reserve during slow periods or market downturns. Other things include making sure you have access to quick credit lines and liquid assets. Remember that financial planning doesn’t just stop after you craft the document. It is a continuous process, which means you should monitor and review your plan regularly and accordingly make adjustments.
Individual vs. Business Financial Plans
Here is how a business financial plan differs from that of an individual:
|Business Financial Plan
|Individual Financial Plan
|This plan focuses on growing a business and ensuring its stability.
|Individual financial plans focus on helping an individual reach his or her personal financial goals and desired lifestyle.
|The scope of a business financial plan is broader which includes revenue streams, expenses, investments, and other funding sources.
|The scope of this plan is narrower and includes a person’s salary, savings, and investments.
|Helps a business achieve objectives such as profit or wealth maximisation, expansion, or market share growth.
|Helps a person achieve goals such as owning a home or a peaceful retirement.
|A business financial plan includes risks such as operational risk, liquidity risk, and credit risk.
|An individual’s financial plan accounts for risk to health, job, and investments.
|Budgeting is done on a far bigger scale and is more complex.
|Budgeting is done on a small scale, with a focus on savings.
|It includes complex financial modelling and scenario analysis.
|Includes personalised budgeting and expense tracking for effective money management.
Every business financial plan should clearly state three things – How the business will make its money, what it needs to do to achieve its goals, and its operational budget. We’ve seen the many benefits of a business financial plan, and how assessment, financial goals, budgeting, and projections can help you craft one. We’ve also seen that financial planning for business is a lot more complex and bigger in scope than individual financial planning. As a business owner, you will be answerable to your investors, employees, banks, and other stakeholders, so your financial plan needs to be transparent and have a solid base.
It would be wise for any business owner to consult with a business financial advisor. This professional guidance can provide valuable insights and expertise while crafting a comprehensive financial plan that is suited to your specific industry, goals, and competition. Their expertise will also help you with other aspects, such as risk management, investment decisions, and your optimising capital structure. By having them by your side, you can make informed decisions, and ensure the financial stability and growth of your business.