Forecasting Your Business - Tips and Tools


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Business owners and entrepreneurs can focus their business planning using forecasting techniques. To plan for business, forecasting helps you to consider the not-so-far-off future and predict what kinds of opportunities and challenges your company will experience. In the United States, the market is changing for the better. The national economy is pulling out of recession, which comes with strong indicators like business growth and job growth. Your company must capitalize on economic growth in this promising new decade.

Try these tips to focus your thinking on business forecasting:

1. Study the predictions of experts in your market. You need to understand how your position changes according to economic indicators. Experts discuss trends and patterns, but you need to dig deeper. Consider how the underlying implications of economic indicators will impact your business. Decide if you need to adjust your strategy accordingly.

2. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to grow the business. When you hear about a promising market opportunity, a little bit of research can reveal if pursuing the opportunity is worth your time. Don’t miss an important chance to expand your customer base.

3. As the market improves, watch for better financial products and services that will improve your financial position. You can improve how you manage your money, including cash flow, expenses, and investments. For example, explore better banking options supported by skilled commercial bankers. Banks that want your business account, for instance, offer rewards programs for credit cards and higher interest earnings on commercial savings accounts.

4. Engage in forecasting professional development. You can read free updates in the area of forecasting from websites like the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the state department of business services. You need to expand your understanding of how thinking about the future will help you make strategic decisions. For example, a new business opportunity with the state or local government could improve your strategy to channel multiple streams of sales revenue. That is, of course, if you can mobilize your company to meet government contracting guidelines and if your management team can prepare a competitive bid.

5. Plan ahead for acquiring the resources you will need for commercial operations. Forecasting is more than financial management and market strategy. You can tie in forecasting to other types of small business planning. Forecast the need for more infrastructure, personnel, building space and information technology capabilities. The more you experience success in planning your economic conditions, the more you can build upon this success to expand the enterprise.

Forecasting forces you to make better business decisions by thinking critically about the future!

More reading: The Basics of Business Forecasting

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