266 days remaining until the end of the year: Scale Lessons in Forecasting
I know we’ve not yet hit Easter, let alone Summer, but today is an important reminder for you all, regardless of your size or sector !!
Please answer these questions (honestly):
- How is your 3+9 forecast going? (i.e. your 3 months of actuals and 9 months of forecast).
- Are you on track to hit your targets? By how much?
- Are you below target? What are you planning to do to get back on track?
It’s likely some of you won’t have this information to hand, nor even know where to start (because you haven’t actually started).
Some of you will know where to go to get the information from, will quickly review it, then bury it away again until November and hope for the best.
A few of you will know your current position. You’ll either know there aren’t any issues because the business hasn’t alerted you to any, or, you may be behind, but you’re aware of this and are taking action to catch up.
Next, ask your team the same questions…
I’m tempted to bet my mortgage that it’s unlikely your team members have been able to answer any of these questions.
For any business to understand where it is, it needs some kind of measures in place to determine how far on or off target it is. The business maxim from Peter Drucker, ‘what gets measured, gets managed’, is very true and will help you with key milestones.
There are two measures that our SCALE Model™ looks at:
- Alerts – which are activities leading to outcomes such as leads or enquiries.
- Alarms – the outputs themselves: profit, Gross margin, sales numbers.
We then have our Never Miss Target Tool; a rolling forecast plan. Having a 12-month static budget will consume a lot of your time, and by the time they’re set, they’re out of date!
A more effective approach is for you to have a rolling 12 month forecast plan that gets reviewed and updated every 13-weeks (in line with the routine and rhythm of your business).
- 3 + 9 forecast shows 3 months of actuals and 9 months of forecast.
- 6 + 6 shows 6 months of actuals and 6 months of forecast.
- At each month end its good practice to track your performance against the forecast to see if you’re on track.
- As the year progresses, the forecast for the year should become more accurate the more it comprises actual months and fewer forecast months.
By making this routine, everyone will be united and focussed on the end goal.
And, you’ll never miss target – you’ll just run out of month!
The Scalability Coach | Britain’s Top 10 Adviser 2018 | Author of #1 bestseller I don’t work Fridays | Ex-CEO of a PLC