There are so many valuable resources out there for small businesses. One of my jobs, I believe, is to slap on my mining hat and go dig up a few diamonds for you all every day.
So it is my sincere hope that you’ll find Inc.com’s list of seven ways to improve your sales forecasting to be polished gems, indeed. One of the primary challenges of forecasting sales is setting up reasonable expectations and then implementing in such a way that you get from Point A to Point B without driving through the guardrail down to Point C.
As is my custom, I want to highlight one out of the list of seven and encourage you to patronize Inc.com and give the entire list a read. I want to focus on their last point, that you should always pay close attention to exceptions.
In this particular case, that means lining up those instances where your forecast differs from the data and figuring out why. It also means having forecasts that are robust enough that you can start to discern trends and adjust accordingly. Whether you’re paying particular attention to that step or all of them at once, you need to keep in mind that it’s not something that can be fixed overnight:
“Don’t loose track (sic) of the forest for the trees,” Margolis says. “You’re just constantly trying to improve.” Improving forecasting doesn’t happen overnight: analysts expect forecasts to include monthly data for about the next 12 months, Berry says, as well as annual data for year two and three. Anything more specific than that is “basically an academic exercise,” he says.
Give the entire article a read. How are your sales forecasts performing?
Photo credit to quitaroga at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1239215