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Business Planning, Projections & Valuation, What role do they play in start-ups

Business-Planning

Introduction

A startup requires grit and passion, along with business planning and projections. The thought of running a business for a decade seemed a very distant dream for the majority, but the scenario shifted in the past decade. The startup ecosystem has three major factors:

  1. Business Planning
  2. Financial Projections
  3. Valuation

There is an upsurge in the entrepreneurial community, and many factors contribute to the startup community getting bigger and stronger and finding its market.

The idea of business has to be executed with the help of planning and financial projections. A startup has many stages of crossing before being recognized in the market.

The journey from the Ideation to the planning stage is such a daze for many business people because they get an idea and steps are so naturally followed that when the execution stage is reached, many a time it is observed that the planning stage lacked a better part of the business which is allocation and utilization of finance.

BUSINESS PLAN

The business plan is the most commonly used term in the corporate world, yet it has many different depictions. If understood from a very layman’s perspective, it is a step-by-step guide a startup has to follow to start a business, and in general terms, the business’s objective is considered the business plan.

Let’s spin the word and understand it as the startup lingo or investment banker requirements; A business plan is a summary of what a business can achieve in the future providing information on who is going to be the visionaries, step-by-step method of reaching profitability, present market scenario, niche the business is going to create, a problem the company is going to solve, internal or external factors which shall hamper the business and mechanism to solve the issues, etc.  

All of the above assumptions and the market segment must be supported by the company’s financials, known as financial projections.

FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS 

As mentioned above, the financial projection is the financial part of a business plan, which broadly showcases the following.

  1. Sales Forecast
  2. Expense Budget
  3. Profit and Loss
  4. Break Even Projection

The terms mentioned above are devised from a few assumptions, historical trends, Market scenarios, etc., and also, many a time, seasoned entrepreneurs run a pilot project before launching a product or business plan in the market.

Standard acceptability should be included in Financial projections, but a prominent role is played by the factors considered while deriving the predictions. The Financial projections should be backed by research and base assumptions from which the forecasts are curated.

 Many base assumptions are made, such as the number of orders a company receives will be co-related to the budget spent on marketing, the inquiries received by the business, etc.

Financial projections are derived with a collaborative effort of the CEO for their vision, CFO to analyze the opportunity cost, CMO to analyze the market demand/to create a market, CTO to take the business forward with advanced technology.

VALUATION

Valuation is how the business, after being analyzed for the current position, human resource, potential market, market competition, expansion opportunity, and other factors, is defined by assigning a particular method to value such a business.

Business valuation is a crucial tool to mark the growth of the business and its potential in the market. A startup ecosystem is based on the game of achieving a valuation in the market so that the startups can attract investors who shall help them financially as well as guide the startups to grow in the direction of keeping the startup’s vision intact or modifying it if required.

Valuation is based on Book Value, Discounted Cash Flows, Market capitalization, and others.

Still, a business with a retail market might also consider customer traction, returning customers, customer engagement, product pricing, and other factors relevant to the e-retail industry.

A startup with a strong vision and action plan which justifies the financial projections with a leader who can march the business further has a better chance to negotiate the terms of investment. The negotiations, or “term sheet” in the financial world, are a foundational brick of building a startup to a unicorn.

In the startup world, a business plan with the best planning and idea might fail if the projections are not analyzed critically, which also leads to losing the potential value of the business; hence it is highly recommended to consider the consulting stage and, crucially, view their opinion. 

FAQ

1. What is a term Sheet?

The term sheet has the commanding statements, which lays down the conditions of investment, and the valuation achieved becomes the base for the future to derive the value; a comparison is made with the commitments made and eventually acquired by the startup.

2. Does a startup require a CMO, CTO, or CFO?

Any business requires this role to be fulfilled by the best to have the company reach the optimum potential and keep growing, so yes, a startup does require CMO, CTO and CFO, and any other specialized person. A single person can plan all the roles and, up to an extent, even deliver the responsibility each position requires, but if such functions are delegated, the objective of the business becomes precise and smoother to achieve.

The budget might be a constraint for a startup, but then the world is always ready with an answer for people who are curious enough to ask, so startups should look for a fractional CFO/CMO/CTO or more casually recognized freelancers to suffice the business requirements.

3. How can a startup have financial projections?

A startup needs to work on having financial projections as there are no data points to strategies the financial projections. In such cases, the KPIs of the business are analyzed, and a process flow of business is generated with the assumptions. The process flow is considered the best and worst scenario of the revenue generation model, which helps create a projection.

The financial projections generated based on such research and the experience of experts, there is a smooth navigation process developed for a startup to sail through.

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