Embarking on the journey of setting up a franchise can be both exciting and challenging. One of the fundamental tasks on this path is creating a sound business plan and financial projection for your business. This is where financial projections come into play, providing a roadmap for your financial journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial projections in a franchise business plan include key financial statements such as income statements, cash flow projections, and balance sheets, which collectively guide the business’s financial strategies and attract investors.

  • The creation of financial forecasts relies on historical financial data and market research to establish realistic targets and identify trends for revenue growth and cost projections.

  • Best practices for financial projections encompass using realistic assumptions, scenario and ratio analysis for uncertainty, employing helpful tools and software, and recognizing and adapting to limitations and changes.

Understanding Business Plan Financial Projections

Financial projections and business plan document on a desk

Financial projections are like a compass guiding a ship through the vast ocean. They serve multiple purposes, including:

  • Establishing growth targets

  • Determining the financial feasibility of new ideas

  • Strategizing major business decisions

  • Managing cash flow

  • Gaining the needed funding for business operations and expansion

Their role is significant in ensuring the success and sustainability of an existing business.

These projections usually consist of financial statements, including an income statement, a balance sheet, and cash flow statements, such as a cash flow projection.

Importance of Financial Projections

Imagine trying to navigate a ship without a compass. Financial projections play a similar role in guiding a business. They provide a roadmap for future financial decisions and demonstrate the potential return on investment, thereby attracting investors and establishing business valuation. They also prove useful during the loan approval process, as lenders rely on them to gauge a business’s creditworthiness and ability to repay debt.

Components of Financial Projections

Just like a ship is made up of different parts, a business plan financial projection is composed of various components. The financial projection includes:

  • The income statement, which outlines a company’s income and expenses over a specific period

  • The cash flow projection, which outlines the anticipated flow of funds in and out of a business

  • The balance sheet, which offers a summary of the company’s financial position.

Gathering Data for Financial Projections

Data for Financial Projections

The foundation of any robust financial forecast lies in the quality of data used to create it. Such data comes from two primary sources: historical financial data and market research. These sources provide the raw material needed to produce the estimates that comprise the financial projections.

Historical Financial Data

Historical financial data is like the ship’s logbook containing all past journeys. It provides a record of past performance and helps identify trends, laying the groundwork for establishing realistic targets and strategies.

Examining revenue, cash flow, and expense data allows for the identification of trends and patterns, which assists in predicting future sales growth and costs.

Market Research

As a ship’s captain uses a telescope to scan the horizon, market research aids in identifying trends and growth opportunities, which are key components in the creation of financial projections. Techniques such as:

  • Percent of Sales

  • Straight Line

  • Moving Average

  • Simple Linear Regression

  • Multiple Linear Regression

Utilizing various tools and methods can help you create financial projections that are more accurate and reliable, thanks to financial forecasting techniques.

Creating Income Statement Projections

Sales forecast chart and calculator

Creating an income statement projection is akin to charting a course for a ship. The income statement, also known as a profit and loss statement, provides a roadmap of a business’s revenues and expenses, leading to its net income or loss. The process involves estimating revenues and projecting costs, which are the basic building blocks of an income statement.

Estimating Revenues

Estimating revenues is like predicting the winds that will propel the ship. It involves creating a sales forecast by analyzing historical data and conducting market research.

Factors such as the number of units sold and the price per unit are taken into account to estimate the revenues.

Projecting Costs

Costs are the waves that can rock your ship. Hence, accurately projecting costs is of utmost importance. This process involves:

  • Identifying and estimating the cost of goods sold (COGS)

  • Estimating operating expenses, both recurring and one-time costs

  • Accounting for anticipated changes

Developing Cash Flow Projections

Cash flow projection analysis

Developing cash flow projections is like measuring the tides, and understanding when they flow in and when they ebb away. It involves forecasting the anticipated flow of funds in and out of a business from operating, investing, and financing activities, which can be summarized in a cash flow statement.

Operating Activities

Operating activities are the wind in the sails of your ship, driving it forward. They encompass the cash generated from sales as well as the cash paid for expenses. Monitoring operating cash flows enables businesses to assess their ability to generate cash from their primary operations and make sound financial decisions.

Investing and Financing Activities

Investing and financing activities are like the rudder and anchor of a ship, guiding its course and providing stability. They include cash inflows from investors or bank loans, as well as cash outflows from debt repayment or distributions to shareholders.

Building Balance Sheet Projections

Balance sheet projections and financial analysis

A balance sheet projection is like a ship’s manifest, providing a snapshot of a company’s financial status at a specific point in time. It includes details about the company’s assets, liabilities, and equity.


Assets are the cargo on your ship, representing value. They include items such as cash, accounts receivable, and inventory.

Correctly projecting the cash position is important in balance sheet projections for evaluating the company’s financial stability and health.

Liabilities and Equity

Liabilities and equity are the weight and balance of your ship. They include elements such as debts, loans, and owner’s equity. These elements are key in balance sheet projections as they significantly contribute to evaluating the financial stability and ownership value of the company.

Best Practices for Creating Financial Projections

Creating financial projections involves the following steps:

  1. Using realistic assumptions

  2. Maintaining a practical perspective on future expectations

  3. Using a template for guidance

  4. Understanding the purpose of the projections

  5. Incorporating sales, expense, balance sheet, and income projections

Navigating this process is like navigating a ship in uncharted waters.

Scenario Analysis

Scenario analysis is akin to having different sailing routes for a ship, each depending on different weather conditions. It involves creating best-case and worst-case projections to account for uncertainties.

Ratio Analysis

Ratio analysis is like checking the ship’s speed, direction, and distance traveled. It involves comparing financial estimates with industry averages and historical data to assess their accuracy.

Tools and Software for Financial Projections

Similar to a ship requiring various tools for navigation, businesses need tools and software for creating financial projections. These tools vary from simple spreadsheets to more advanced accounting software.


Spreadsheets are like the captain’s logbook, providing a simple and cost-effective tool for creating financial projections.

Accounting Software

Accounting software is like the ship’s compass, offering more advanced features and automation for financial projections (QBO). These tools offer integrated forecasting capabilities for projecting future income, expenses, and cash flow, thereby eliminating the need for manual computations.

Limitations and Challenges of Financial Projections

Creating financial projections is akin to navigating through a storm, with its own unique set of limitations and challenges. These include assumptions, uncertainties, and adapting to change.

Assumptions and Uncertainties

Assumptions and uncertainties are like the unpredictable winds and waves that can affect the course of your ship. They can impact the accuracy of financial projections.

Adapting to Change

As a skilled sailor adapts to changing winds and tides, adjusting to change is necessary for maintaining accurate and relevant financial projections.


Creating financial projections for your franchise business is a crucial step in your entrepreneurial journey. Like navigating a ship through uncharted waters, it requires careful planning, accurate data, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. By following the guidelines and best practices outlined in this blog, you’ll be well on your way to charting a successful course for your franchise business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of a financial projection?

A financial projection may include planning budgets, capital expenditures, and pro forma financial statements like projected income statements and balance sheets. These projections provide a course of action for evaluation.

What is a projected income statement for a business plan?

A projected income statement for a business plan estimates future profits and losses, typically for the next quarter or fiscal year, using the same format as a regular income statement but projecting future numbers instead of past ones.

What is the significance of financial projections in a business plan?

Financial projections are crucial in a business plan as they establish growth targets, determine the financial feasibility of new ideas, and strategize major business decisions. They serve multiple purposes and are therefore significant.

To bolster financial projections, it is recommended to utilize techniques such as Percent of Sales, Straight Line, Moving Average, Simple Linear Regression, and Multiple Linear Regression for conducting market research. These methods can provide valuable insights into market trends and customer behavior without giving any dates.

What is the significance of a cash flow projection in a franchise business?

A cash flow projection is significant in a franchise business because it helps monitor projected cash inflows and outflows, including cash generated by business operations. This is crucial for financial planning and decision-making.