How to Build a Profit Plan for Your Business

By Eric Dickmann

September 28, 2021

Profit Margin, Profit Planning

It is critical to build a profit plan to help a business stay on track of their business goals. It provides a financial roadmap for your company. But with many competing demands, it can be difficult to know where to start. Seasonal cash-flow changes can be unpredictable; as are market demand and other competitive factors.

The best way to start building your profit plan is by understanding your business goals. Involve all key stakeholders to align the plan with your goals and decide on what key metrics you will track and what tools you will use to track them. Also ensure that you are relying n relevant and legitimate data sources. Most of all, everyone should agree on the validity of the numbers. Through analytical tools, a company can track and measure progress against it’s goals.

Financial Section of a Business Plan


Uses of a Profit Plan

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

Help owners achieve their financial goals

Improve and measure performance;

Establish a framework for making decisions; and

Educate and motivate key employees


Elements of a Financial Plan

As discussed, a financial plan gives you a clear overview of your business’ short and long-term expenses. Establishing your financial plan allows you to understand the current state of business and competition, and adjust your investments whenever necessary. It is normal for business owners to be futuristic and ideal with their company, but it is equally information to be honest and transparent with it’s current financial standing. Aside from getting a better hold of the business, a financial plan makes your company attractive to potential investors and stakeholders. B Plans shares the six elements of a financial plan:

  1. Profit and Loss Statement
  2. Cash Flow Statement
  3. Balance Sheet
  4. Sales Forecast
  5. Personnel Plan
  6. Break-even Analysis
Why Do You Need a Financial Plan?

Building a Profit Plan for Your Business

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.
Fixed Costs vs Variable Costs

Conclusion

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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