Any entrepreneur wants to make money – but how do you know that selling your product, service or time will even make a profit? Have you looked, holistically, at your expenses and potential revenue to be generated? If you are selling products, do you need to pay for them to be manufactured before you can sell them? If so, do you require working capital? An entrepreneur should be able to answer all of these questions using the financial model they have built – financial modelling for entrepreneurs isn’t just a skill, its a necessity.
A key input into financial models is expenses. Entrepreneurs sometimes have very little understanding of what all of their expenses are, from petrol to website hosting.
Being an entrepreneur means you run your own company. You have marketing expenses, communication expenses, travel expenses and administrative expenses. Many entrepreneurs just fork out cash for these without understanding what they are all adding up to. A financial model allows an entrepreneur to understand what their expenses are and what they amount to. They also allow the entrepreneur to ensure they make enough revenue to cover their expenses!
What is your profit margin? What is your true cost of goods sold? Do you have operating expenses? A good understanding of your profit margin is key. A financial model is the easiest way to see profit margins – financial modelling for entrepreneurs is a key skill not to be overlooked!
It is for this reason that I advocate cash-flow based financial modelling. A small business with profit materialising in the business in three months’ time is worth very little today when you need to pay bills. Sure, you can obtain finance and even factor your invoices, but surely you would rather be able to manage your cash flow more effectively?
A cash flow based financial model will allow you to do this, and effectively forecast what different payment terms mean for your business and your working capital requirements. Every entrepreneur should focus on their financial model – cash-flow based financial models may indicate that you need short term financing such as a working capital facility.
Although one can find financial models and templates online, building your own financial model for your business is the best way to fully understand what drives your business. That said, there are lots of templates available for use and even advisors who will build models for you. Financial modelling for entrepreneurs has been made accessible with online templates and reasonably priced services.
Having a financial model is key for any entrepreneur to understand their business in detail. Because being an entrepreneur means that you are not only your business’s CEO, but CFO as well.
Good luck and happy financial modelling!