By Audrey Isaac, 100 Candles
Photo by Nine Köpfer
Events professionals are expert forecasters – we check the weather weeks in advance (and then hourly!) in anticipation of our clients’ celebrations. We scan social media and the interior design and fashion industries to keep up with the latest trends. The same should be true for your business. Regularly analyzing your potential for income, anticipated expenses and your ability to weather crises can be the key to surviving tough times and capitalizing on the great ones.
Forecasting is most effective when you don’t just leave it for the end of the year, but you engage in it regularly. So how do you work it into a crazy busy schedule?
Use the Slow Season for Serious Reflection
It’s best to set up your forecasting process when you’re not in the midst of your busy season, if you can. You’ll start by determining which aspects of your business need to be watched. You might want to examine booking patterns, gross revenue, employment expenses, tax liability, net revenue, profits or other factors that can be tracked accurately (and pretty easily with accounting software or a good spreadsheet).
Establish Your Baseline Data & Set Your Goals
Before you can look forward, you have to take a look back. Reflect on your previous years in operation. Did you have enough of the kind of business you were looking for? Did you get paid enough? When you know what you want to watch, and what the current and past records tell you, you can set new goals and be ready to start the process of forecasting.
Be sure you share your goals with your team so they can help you plan what will need to be done to get there. Having the buy-in of your staff is an incredibly important success factor. Don’t neglect this step.
Set aside part of one day every month to review your progress and decide if anything needs to be tweaked to help you get closer to your goal. Make this a meeting with yourself so you don’t get so busy that you skip it. Send yourself a calendar invite or program it into your phone and calendar. Regular forecasting will save you time at the end of the year. You won’t waste time digging through a year’s worth of contracts or receipts if you make sure to input and reflect on your performance thoroughly once per month.
Forecasting can be a truly powerful tool for taking your business to the level you want, but it won’t be effective if you only do it once each year. Implement it now as a monthly practice and once you see the results, you’ll be very happy that you did!
Audrey Isaac is the spokesperson for 100 Candles, a wholesale market for candles and lights. Since 2002, thousands of event professionals have entrusted 100 Candles with their wholesale candle accounts. For more information, please visit https://www.100candles.com.