Scenario simulation: Creating projections in COVID times. Times have changed radically with the advent of COVID, and so has the way you create forecasts for your business. Few businesses have not been affected by this situation.
The assumptions you had initially made are probably outdated, the numbers have changed drastically.
What you may have once considered a good practice to control your business has now become a critical process to keep the company afloat. Planning the future of your business cash flow has become one of the most important processes of your company, accurate forecasts will allow your business to act in an agile way being alert to what will happen.
Adjusting your assumptions
What is almost certain is that your business has been affected by the COVID, either by putting your company at greater risk, or by having created a business opportunity. Therefore, adjusting your company’s forecasts will be one of the most important processes in the situation in which we find ourselves.
The first step should be to review your hypotheses or assumptions. And yes, you have made a lot of assumptions to have your initial forecasts. You may have some very clear ones in mind, but many others will be somewhat more hidden. It is very important that, first of all, you identify these assumptions so that you can adjust them and update your forecasts by understanding how they have been affected by the current situation.
These assumptions are one of the most important tools for creating your forecasts, and you should refine them as much as possible by taking a realistic view of the market.
In normal situations it may be sufficient to make simple estimates, but in the current situation there must be real data to support your assumptions, and therefore your forecasts.
Analyze your numbers
Review your numbers, understand how they have evolved in these complicated months. Take a close look at your customers, and analyze which ones are doing well, and which ones are having more difficulties. Those who have complications will most likely continue to have them in the future.
Be careful, clients who seem to be more comfortable may have had enough liquidity so far to weather the storm, but may start to have greater difficulties at any time. The more time passes, the more likely it is that more customers will have a difficult time, and it is crucial to identify these situations in order to represent them in your business forecasts. As we always say, surprises in cash forecasts are not good.
A simple way to identify customers with potential complications is to review the payment dates of the latest invoices and find delays in payments, or even reductions in invoices if you tend to have volume-tied billing.
Y… what about your sales? Chances are that you have changed the way you market your company, and the chances that your new sales system will get the same results as before… are minimal. You must analyze each step of the sales funnel to adjust your forecasts, from the acquisition channel to the conversion itself at each stage of the funnel. The more you fine-tune each of these steps, the more robust your forecasts will be.
It will help you to see how your key business metrics have evolved, whether it is the conversion to sales per customer meeting, the costs assigned to each customer, or any other relevant metric in your business.
Once you are clear about the numbers of the last few months and the most significant changes, start planning your forecasts. And no, they will not be static, you will have to be attentive to changes as they arise in order to adapt your forecasts again to each situation.
Remember to take into account in your cash forecasts the estimated payment or collection dates of invoices, and apply the most realistic possible collection periods that you have previously identified.
Once you have it all laid out correctly, you can visualize where you need to adjust expenses, where you can expand them, and whether you will need financing in the coming months. The sooner you identify your needs and future problems, the sooner you can get to work on solving them.
Act nimbly and with confidence
It is important that you are agile in creating, modifying, and keeping your forecasts up to date, and that these allow you to run your business with confidence. If you want your forecasts to be more accurate, easier to make and maintain, simulate different scenarios… try using Orama, and get control of the future of your business.