The past month I have been responsible for the forecast for Palo Alto Software's next fiscal year. This is the first year where I am truly solely responsible, as I am now the CEO. As I have massaged numbers, asked for collaboration on budgets from managers of different departments, and discussed the sales forecast with my top managers it astounds me that people try and run small businesses without planning.
It seems to me akin to running a household budget without actually having a budget. We all know those people who are always bouncing checks and getting themselves into financial trouble because they haven't picked up on the concept of a simple household budget.
How can I possibly think I can do a good job managing Palo Alto Software, if I don't create a forecast and a budget for the next year? (I can't)!!! By creating the forecast and budgeting expenses I can easily work with our controller month by month to see where we stand financially. Did we sell as much as we predicted? Maybe we sold more or less? Where did we fall in our expenses? Did we spend more or less? Month by month now that I have a plan, I will be able to assess the situation and make any adjustments necessary. I can then communicate this to my team of managers and make sure they know where they stand with their budgets.
This seems like one of those posts where people will say "DUH"... but you would be surprised at how many businesses we hear from that DO NOT HAVE A PLAN. They say they are too busy running their company to take time to plan. WHAT?