Preparing a sales forecast is all about estimating future sales. This forecast forms a key part of any business plan and helps you to make informed decisions about your business. It won’t be 100% accurate unless you have a crystal ball, but it will provide a useful guide to help you budget and manage your business.
- If you are a new business, you will be relying on your market research to assist you in forecasting sales.
- An established business will be able to use past performance to predict future sales.
These will form the basis of your forecast and will usually include:
- Seasonal Demands - Is your product or service sales likely to be affected by the seasons? Or are you a parent who will spend less time running your business during the school holidays? These are the type of questions that you will need to ask yourself when starting your forecast.
- Marketing Activity - It’s important to be aware of the relationship between your marketing activities and your sales. If you’ve planned your marketing, then it will be a fair assumption to make that you would see an increase in sales after a campaign or exhibition. Alternatively, if you need to cut your marketing spend during the year then you will expect this to have a negative impact on sales.
- Resources - If you plan to grow your team and employ someone or buy a new piece of machinery then you might make the assumption that sales will start to increase in the months that follow.
- Market Conditions – Uncertainty around economic issues such as Brexit may be something you believe will have an impact on your sales. A new competitor opening soon might also lead to you making conservative forecasts. The research you have carried out into your market will help you to address this aspect.
- Capacity – you will need to factor in your own/the business’s ability to be able to provide the products or services at the level at which you are forecasting.
So What's Next?
- Wenta has a whole range of FREE training that covers multiple elements highlighted in this article, you can explore those here.
- If you'd like some one-to-one advice you can book for a free business advice appointment here.
- Alternatively, get an instant answer via our Live Chat service, available on weekdays from 9am to 5pm, start a chat now using the button at the bottom of your screen.