October 21, 2014  
 
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Forecasting

Written by Richard San Juan for Gaebler Ventures

Every startup or small business wishes they had a crystal ball or a psychic in their pocket that would tell them what decisions to make to ensure long-term success for the company. Unfortunately, it is not good business to put faith in such things. Rather, there are trends in the marketplace and conducting forecasts can give startups and small businesses a good idea of what decisions to make for their respective companies.

Forecasting is the process by which companies and organizations analyze relevant data and graphs to determine how best to proceed in business decisions for the future.
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This valuable tool can be used to evaluate the future of the business as a whole, the future of an existing or potential product, and the future of the particular market sector in which the company is a part of.

To be more specific, forecasting enables entrepreneurs and small business owners to address questions such as: "what is a reasonable estimate of profits that the company can make over a certain time period?" and "what is an approximate value of demand will be for the product or service given certain factors?" By being able to answer questions such as these, a company can be better prepared to deal with the consequences of their business decisions.

Accurate forecasting is significant for numerous reasons. First, it enables management to tweak and calibrate its operations at the appropriate time in order to maximize the greatest benefit. Moreover, forecasting assists in preventing losses by taking in al relevant information and making proper judgment decisions.

Organizations that are able to demonstrate high quality and accurate forecasts are more likely to reach their benchmarks and strategic objectives. Forecasting is also essential when it comes to the subject of developing new products, because it gives them an idea on whether or not it has a good chance of being successful. Forecasting prevents the company from wasting time and money developing, manufacturing, and marketing a product that will ultimately fail.

Stockholder expectations represent another reason that demonstrates the importance of forecasting. Public and private companies experience scrutiny and pressure, especially startups for both short-term and long-term performance from investors. Any actual results that differ from forecasts significantly will have a negative effect for the company and its stock price or financial position.

Failing to meet predictions that were derived from faulty forecasts is a bad sign, because it may cause investors to believe that the company itself does not fully comprehend and either overestimates or underestimates its own business model.

The elements of doing business and various factors that affect transactions are constantly changing. Interest rates rise and fall, customer preferences change, suppliers go out of business, and the list goes on and on.

As the factors that affect business change, the forecasts must also adjust too. In this period of constant flux, it has become imperative that while forecasts should be done quickly, they should not be done by sacrificing accuracy. Acknowledging this is the first step in achieving success in the constantly changing marketplace.

Richard San Juan is currently pursuing an MBA degree with an emphasis in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago. He is particularly interested in writing about business news and strategies.


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