Adopt the “That’ll Do” Principle
Why spend time forecasting?
Forecasts are overrated. To do an accurate one takes a lot of time. You surely have enough knowledge of the business to adopt the “that’ll do” principle and knock it up in summary on one page?
quick “top-down” one pager
When I was asked to do a 5 year forecast for a client to justify some investment, the first thing I did was a quick “top-down” one pager. The “bottom-up” forecast then simply became a cross check. A lot of time and cost for little extra benefit.
When you’re starting out in business this same long term planning is requested by the bank. It’s nonsense. Six years on and I still manage on just a 3 month rolling forecast. The future picture changes so often that planning so far ahead is pointless.
All this is hard to admit as I’ve spent a career creating forecasts and budgets for companies. But the Managing Director simply wants figures to help him make a decision. If this can be done with confidence on one page, then surely that’ll do?
Tailored Due Diligence
I’m an associate of EFM who offer part time financial services. A lot of business is done with Venture Capital companies who need a due diligence report when considering an investment.
The large accountancy practices offer a large tome at a large cost. EFM have a light tailored solution at a fraction of the cost that answers all the questions the Venture Capitalist has. Needless to say they are in demand.
Quick and Easy Marketing
One of the few marketeers I follow is Ian Brodie who recently sent me an email broadcast on this subject.
Getting videos and podcasts created is a sticking point for many businesses. He outlined that it can be done very simply. Not a perfect solution but it took him little time to create.
The podcast will probably reach a few thousand people
He writes: “I spent some time on the phone today being interviewed for an upcoming podcast.
Took about an hour including the chit-chat before and afterwards. took me about 20 minutes to prep my answers to the questions beforehand. The podcast will probably reach a few thousand people. Maybe more, maybe less.
More importantly, I get a copy of the audio and can use it however I want. I can pop it on my website, or even bang it on a CD and send it to selected contacts. It’ll give them some useful information and will raise my credibility with them.”
I think I’ll try that!