How should I forecast numbers in the business plan?


After searching and referencing many types of business plans I am trying to figure out how to forecast my competitors profits to demonstrate the potential profit for the company. However, I am going independent and I do not know if I should only forecast independent, non-franchise businesses or also provide statistics for franchise companies. I would like to stay local and eventually sell to the entire US. Should I include all this in my business plan? Is there a solid place investors look for business numbers to reference before investing or to validate my numbers?

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asked Feb 12 '13 at 06:23
Matt 2.0
188 points

3 Answers


Why are you making a business plan? What do you need those numbers for? Are you doing it because you "should" be doing that? If so, could be a big waste of time.

It also sounds to me like you are going to include a bunch of numbers that don't have much accuracy, and then presumably you are going to make decisions based on those numbers. That doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

If you don't know how to put something in your business plan, there's a good chance you don't need it. If you really needed it for a purpose, it would be obvious what to do.

I'm pretty confident I didn't answer your question, but it might still be helpful.

answered Feb 12 '13 at 17:10
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points
  • You might be able to pull the numbers from Dunn & Bradstreet or Hoovers.. but generally, I'd skip all of this as Joel said. If you need the numbers later, you can always update and expand your plan to include things as you figure them out. – Casey Software 7 years ago
  • well in all the business plans I have seen they all include number and forecasts. – Matt 2.0 7 years ago
  • @graphicsman I think you have missed my point. Just because others do it doesn't mean you should. Facebook screws over users with privacy settings and they are huge... maybe we all should be doing that? – Joel Friedlaender 7 years ago


Who says you need a formal Business Plan?

Maybe you'd be better off reading The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries, or The Innovator's Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen, or even Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore.

Oh, and some advice I heard a long time ago which may apply: Forgot your competitors, just worry about your customers.

answered Feb 12 '13 at 18:02
Steve Jones
3,239 points


I asked this same question recently so the answers on that question might help Is there a method for creating achievable financial forecasts?

answered Feb 13 '13 at 10:38
63 points

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