By Eric Dickmann

February 6, 2023

Profit Planning

In order to achieve business goals, a profit plan is crucial. It serves as a financial roadmap for the company. However, with competing demands, it can be challenging to begin. Market demand and competitive factors, along with seasonal cash-flow changes, can be unpredictable.

To build a profit plan, start by understanding your business goals. Get all key stakeholders involved to align the plan with those goals. Decide on key metrics to track and what tools to use for tracking. Ensure you're relying on relevant and legitimate data sources. Everyone should agree on the validity of the numbers. Analytical tools can help track and measure progress against goals.

What is a Profit Plan?

A profit plan is a detailed financial plan that outlines a company's strategies and goals for generating revenue and managing expenses in order to achieve a specific level of profitability. The profit plan typically includes a detailed budget that outlines projected revenues and expenses, as well as a forecast of the company's cash flow, balance sheet, and income statement.

The profit plan is an essential tool for any business, as it helps managers make informed decisions about how to allocate resources, invest in growth opportunities, and manage risk. It also serves as a roadmap for the company's financial future, providing a framework for monitoring performance and making adjustments as necessary.

A typical profit plan will include the following components:

  • Revenue Projections: This includes estimates of sales, pricing, and volume for the coming year.
  • Cost Projections: This includes estimates of all direct and indirect costs associated with producing and delivering goods and services, such as labor, materials, overhead, and marketing expenses.
  • Cash Flow Analysis: This includes projections of cash inflows and outflows, as well as a plan for managing cash reserves.
  • Balance Sheet Projections: This includes estimates of the company's assets, liabilities, and equity over the coming year.
  • Income Statement Projections: This includes estimates of the company's revenue, expenses, and net income for the coming year.

By creating a comprehensive profit plan, a business can set realistic goals and targets, monitor progress toward those goals, and make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and manage risk. It can also help to identify potential areas for improvement and optimization, which can ultimately help the business to achieve greater profitability and success over time.

Benefits of a Profit Plan

A formal profit plan prepares a company for possible challenges and ensures maximum profit. CPAsNet noted that profit plans are beneficial to:

  • Help owners achieve their financial goals
  • Improve and measure performance
  • Establish a framework for making decisions
  • Educate and motivate key employees

Building a Profit Plan for Your Business

It is important to consider profit when making plans for your business because profit is the ultimate goal of any business. Without profit, a business cannot sustain itself, pay its employees, or invest in growth and development. Profit is also a key indicator of a business's success and can attract investors and potential partners. By considering profit in their plans, business owners can make informed decisions about pricing, marketing, and investment strategies that will help them maximize their revenue and achieve their goals. Ultimately, profit is the lifeblood of any business, and considering it in every decision is crucial for long-term success.

Profit doesn’t happen by itself. Look over your processes and envision how you want it all to unfold. Here are some suggested steps to consider when making your plan:

  1. Set a Profit Goal- Set clear targets and make a plan for how you should get there. A target profit gives your business a set of goals to work throughout the year. Consider the number of units sold with its fixed and variable cost. When it comes to expected profit, slightly underestimate rather than overestimate.
  2. Create a Budget- Make a detailed budget plan. Have a look at financing options for your business. Set a potential plan B in case “things” happen. Estimate just how much you perceive your business is going to spend in a certain amount of time.
  3. List Expenses- Be sure to write down every single expense the business makes during its operations. It lets you know where you are spending too much. Use costing sheets to track all cost associated with each product. In this way, you can calculate the gross profit.
  4. Calculate the Profit Margin- A margin is what keeps you in business. It is equal to the gross profit divided by the revenue and multiplied by 100. It will vary per industry, but according to The Corporate Finance Institute, a 10% net profit margin is considered average.
  5. Keep the Costs Down- Entrepreneurs don’t need to spend a lot of money. Find smart ways to start with less money. Set a margin that covers your costs including overhead. Make a realistic budget to help you achieve your goals.


The best way to start profit planning is to understand your business goals. Then make a detailed budget plan based on those goals. List down the income and expenses and keep your costs down as much as possible. The higher the profit margin, the more it can sustain your business and put you on the road to success.

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Eric Dickmann

About the author

Eric Dickmann is the Founder / CMO of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast "The Virtual CMO" and YouTube series "Work-Life" and a fractional CMO for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies to bring innovative products to the market.

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