Writing a small business plan takes time and effort … especially when you have to dive into the numbers for the financial section. But, working on the financial section of business plan could lead to a big payoff for your business.
Read on to learn what is the financial section of a business plan, why it matters, and how to write one for your company.
What is the financial section of business plan?
Generally, the financial section is one of the last sections in a business plan. It describes a business’s historical financial state (if applicable) and future financial projections. Businesses include supporting documents such as budgets and financial statements, as well as funding requests in this section of the plan.
The financial part of the business plan introduces numbers. It comes after the executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization structure, product information, and marketing and sales strategies.
Businesses that are trying to get financing from lenders or investors use the financial section to make their case. This section also acts as a financial roadmap so you can budget for your business’s future income and expenses.
Why it matters
The financial section of the business plan is critical for moving beyond wordy aspirations and into hard data and the wonderful world of numbers.
Through the financial section, you can:
- Forecast your business’s future finances
- Budget for expenses (e.g., startup costs)
- Get financing from lenders or investors
- Grow your business
Sounds pretty great, right? But according to one study, only 35% of surveyed business owners completed a business plan. Here’s why that could be a problem for business growth and financing:
- Growth: 64% of businesses with a business plan were able to grow their business, compared to 43% of businesses without a business plan.
- Financing: 36% of businesses with a business plan secured a loan, compared to 18% of businesses without a plan.
So, if you want to possibly double your chances of securing a business loan, consider putting in a little time and effort into your business plan’s financial section.
Writing your financial section
To write the financial section, you first need to gather some information. Keep in mind that the information you gather depends on whether you have historical financial information or if you’re a brand-new startup.
Your financial section should detail:
- Business expenses
- Financial projections
- Financial statements
- Break-even point
- Funding requests
- Exit strategy
Whether you’ve been in business for one day or 10 years, you have expenses. These expenses might simply be startup costs for new businesses or fixed and variable costs for veteran businesses.
Take a look at some common business expenses you may need to include in the financial section of business plan:
- Licenses and permits
- Cost of goods sold
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Payroll costs (e.g., salaries and taxes)
Write down each type of expense and amount you currently have as well as expenses you predict you’ll have. Use a consistent time period (e.g., monthly costs).
Indicate which expenses are fixed (unchanging month-to-month) and which are variable (subject to changes).
How much do you anticipate earning from sales each month?
If you operate an existing business, you can look at previous monthly revenue to make an educated estimate. Take factors into consideration, like seasonality and economic ups and downs, when basing projections on previous cash flow.
Coming up with your financial projections may be a bit trickier if you are a startup. After all, you have nothing to go off of. Come up with a reasonable monthly goal based on things like your industry, competitors, and the market. Hint: Look at your market analysis section of the business plan for guidance.
A financial statement details your business’s finances. The three main types of financial statements are income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets.
Income statements summarize your business’s income and expenses during a period of time (e.g., a month). This document shows whether your business had a net profit or loss during that time period.
Cash flow statements break down your business’s incoming and outgoing money. This document details whether your company has enough cash on hand to cover expenses.
The balance sheet summarizes your business’s assets, liabilities, and equity. Balance sheets help with debt management and business growth decisions.
If you run a startup, you can create “pro forma financial statements,” which are statements based on projections.
If you’ve been in business for a bit, you should have financial statements in your records. You can include these in your business plan. And, include forecasted financial statements.
Potential investors want to know when your business will reach its break-even point. The break-even point is when your business’s sales equal its expenses.
Estimate when your company will reach its break-even point and detail it in the financial section of business plan.
If you’re looking for financing, detail your funding request here. Include how much you are looking for, list ideal terms (e.g., 10-year loan or 15% equity), and how long your request will cover.
Remember to discuss why you are requesting money and what you plan on using the money for (e.g., equipment).
Back up your funding request by emphasizing your financial projections.
Last but not least, your financial section should also discuss your business’s exit strategy. An exit strategy is a plan that outlines what you’ll do if you need to sell or close your business, retire, etc.
Investors and lenders want to know how their investment or loan is protected if your business doesn’t make it. The exit strategy does just that. It explains how your business will make ends meet even if it doesn’t make it.
When you’re working on the financial section of business plan, take advantage of your accounting records to make things easier on yourself. For organized books, try Patriot’s online accounting software. Get your free trial now!This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.