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Unformatted text preview: as Forecasting Tools
Business charts are an excellent tool for understanding and estimating numbers. Use them to evaluate
the projected numbers. When you view your forecast on a business chart, does it look real? Does it
make sense? It turns out that most humans sense the relative size of shapes better than they sense
numbers, so we see a sales forecast differently when it shows up in a chart. Use the power of the
computer to help you visualize your numbers.
For example, consider the monthly sales chart below. You can look at this chart and immediately see
the ebbs and ﬂows of sales during the year. Sales go up from January into April, then down from
Spring into Summer, then up again beginning in September. When you look at a chart like that, you
should ask yourself whether that pattern is correct. Is that the way your sales go? MONTHLY SALES CHART This chart shows planned sales for each month of the ﬁrst 12 months of the plan. HURDLE: THE BOOK 11.4 ON BUSINESS PLANNING The next chart shows a comparison of three years of annual sales. Here again you can sense the
relative size of the numbers in the chart. If you knew the company involved, you’d be able to evaluate
and discuss this sales forecast just by looking at the chart. Of course you’d probably want to know
more detail about the assumptions behind the forecast, but you’d have a very good initial sense of the
numbers. ANNUAL SALES CHART This chart shows planned sales for each of the years included in the plan. Explain the Forecast
Although the charts and tables are great, you still need to explain them. A complete business plan
should normally include some detailed text discussion of your sales forecast, sales strategy, sales
programs, and related information. Ideally, you use the text, tables, and charts in your plan to provide
some visual variety and ease of use. Put the tables and charts near the text covering the related topics.
In my standard business plan text outline, the discussion of sales goes into Cha...
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- Winter '09