Great Financial Ideas Newsletter September 2010

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Well it is a fair question that most of us would like to say yes to, but when put on the spot we find we stumble and don’t have all the answers.

Some of the more common questions asked by the Dragons are: “how can you convince me there is a market for your product”, “what sales have you made this year so far”, “what is your forecast profit this year and next”, “who would buy this product” and “how much profit do you make on each sale”.

In the excitement of developing their new product the Den newcomers have often not prepared for these questions or have completely unrealistic answers, based on speculation rather than research of their chosen market or accurate forecasting and planning.

I suppose in business it is easy to see the daily detail but completely lose sight of the overall big picture. Every business needs a mechanism or system that allows them to know what the big financial picture look like.

What we need is an expression of the realistic aspirations for our business articulated in terms of financial results and money. In other words we need some financial forecasts. Simply preparing forecasts forces us to answer those Dragons Den questions without ever asking them outright.

I have set out below my Dragon’s questions, used when helping clients to express the big financial picture for their business:

1.What level of monthly sales are your forecasting and who is going to be responsible for achieving this? One sentence does not do this justice. It is a big question and usually the crux of any business. It leads on to another key question being who is your target customer and how do you actively seek them out? And because sales only arise through activity then how are we going to monitor that activity on a monthly basis and whose activity and what should we monitor?

2.What gross margin is realistic? What has been achieved in...
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Andy Parker
Parker Chartered Accountants + Financial Advisors

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