Creating a detailed financial projection for your startup can be a daunting task. The financial projection typically provides entrepreneurs and investors with a roadmap of the company’s financial performance over a period of time. It can help to inform important decision-making and provide insight into the potential of the business. In this blog post, we'll define what a financial projection is and outline the process for creating one.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand what financial projections are and how they are used.
  • Outline the process and steps for creating a financial projection.
  • Learn how to anticipate and predict financial performance.
  • Gain insights into the potential ROI of a business.

Set Goals

Before you start compiling a financial projection for your startup, it is important to first set goals that you want to accomplish. Solidify goals that are both long-term and short-term to better prepare yourself for the road ahead. Be realistic with goal setting, establish objectives that are achievable and able to be measured.

Development of long-term and short-term goals

Long-term goals represent the aspirations of your business over the long haul. Defining them can be challenging but if done correctly, can provide you with direction and clarity. Short-term goals are milestones that act as stepping stones on the path to reach the bigger long-term goals.

Evaluation of objectives

Once the objectives have been determined, a good way to ensure they are all achievable is to evaluate them. Ask yourself questions such as, “Is this objective practical and can it be realistically achieved?” and “Do I have the resources to meet this goal?”. Make sure the goals are realistic and attainable and the objectives are worthwhile with achievable results.

Gather Data

When creating a detailed financial projection for a startup, gathering data is a crucial step. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for gathering data, as the type and amount of data required can vary depending on the industry, size and scope of the business. However, some broad principles exist that should be considered when gathering data and crafting a financial projection.

Analysis of Historical Financial Data

It is important to analyze historical financial data when creating a financial projection. This data can give insight into the company's performance over time and help you identify patterns and trends. This data can also provide insights into how the business has been doing compared to expected results, providing valuable information on how to adjust and shape the financial projection.

Projection of Current Financial Results

Once you have gathered and analyzed past financial data, you can begin to project current financial results. This projection should account for any changes in the company, the market or the industry, as well as any new products, services or initiatives that are being undertaken. It is also important to consider upcoming events and any potential shifts in customer behavior. This will help you to create a more accurate and reliable financial projection.

Assess Risks

Creating a detailed financial projection for your startup involves identifying potential risks associated with starting and running a business. Make sure to factor any possible risks into your overall expense and income equations to protect yourself from potential losses. In general, think of any risk that could potentially disrupt the operations of your business, like failure of a supplier, disaster, major lawsuit, etc.

Examination of Potential Risks and Buffer Plans

It is essential to examine the risks associated with your startup to create an accurate financial projection. Take time to identify the potential risks and develop buffer plans in case of any unforeseen occurrences. Your buffer plan should include ways to protect your business from any risks and should also outline the steps you must take in the event that a risk has a significant impact on your business.

Incorporation of Contingency Planning

Contingency planning is an important part of assessing risk. This involves making plans to minimize or minimize the impact of certain risks. Be sure to consider every possibility and plan ahead for any potential trouble. This could include performing regular risk assessments, creating a crisis response plan, or creating back-up systems and resources in case of potential disruptions.

Generate Financial Forecast

Creating a financial forecast for your startup is a critical step in the business planning process. You can use your financial forecast to develop a plan for successful execution of your business goals and objectives. In order to generate a financial forecast, it's important to have a thorough understanding of the current market and market trends. This will help you anticipate growth, calculate future financial performance, and create a more accurate financial forecast.

Anticipation of Growth Based on Research

One of the most important pieces of your financial forecast is the anticipation of growth based on the research you have conducted. This research should include a look at the size of your market and any potential growth that may be in the horizon. You may also want to research competitors, new trends in the industry, and consumer buying habits. This information will help you create realistic growth projections for your business.

Calculation of Future Financial Performance

Once you have a better understanding of the market, you will be able to calculate your business's future financial performance. You should create an income statement that estimates your sales volume, expenses, gross profit margin, and net income over a period of time. This will provide you with an overall financial outlook and help you get a better understanding of your company's potential. Other important calculations you should consider include cash flow projections and break-even analysis.

  • Take a look at the size of your market and potential growth
  • Research competitors, new trends in the industry, and consumer buying habits
  • Create an income statement to estimate sales volume, expenses, and other financial measures
  • Calculate cash flow projections and break-even analysis

Monitor and Adjust Your Financial Projection

Creating a detailed financial projection for your startup is important, but it’s vital to not forget the monitoring and adjusting part. Developing a financial projection is only the first step, so here's a look at troubleshooting projections and periodic review and adjusting.

Troubleshooting Projections

When troubleshooting projections, it is important to keep an eye on cash flow. Keeping track of cash flow will enable you to see how often money is coming in and going out. Be aware of the reliability of your assumptions and make adjustments as needed.

Be sure to check any projected financial results against actual results. Compare the differences and look for areas of improvement. For example, track sales against projections and understand how long it takes for customers to pay invoices, among other metrics. Tracking changes in your financial position will help you identify potential problems and resolve them.

Periodic Reviewing and Adjusting:

Your financial projection is only as useful as the amount of time and effort you dedicate to reviewing and adjusting it. Allocate dedicated time each month, quarter, and/or year to review your financial projection. That way, you can identify if any assumptions need to be updated, if any additional information needs to be added, or if any other changes are needed.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting your financial projection will help you stay on track with your goals and make sure you’re operating the business within your predetermined budget.

By taking the time to review and adjust your financial projection, you can use it as a helpful planning tool to ensure that your startup is ready for the future.


Creating a detailed financial projection for your startup is an important step in setting up a viable business plan. It can help you to make informed decisions, anticipate the financial risks of the business, and establish reasonable expectations. It is important to understand the four main steps in creating a financial projection - researching, forecasting, building models, and monitoring - and be aware of the common pitfalls that you should avoid when making projections.

Summary of projection processes

Creating a financial projection for your business is a multi-step process which follows four key steps. These steps include researching the industry, forecasting the revenue and expenses, building projection models and monitoring the data. By following these steps and taking into account any potential risks, you can create a comprehensive financial projection that accurately predicts the financial stability of your business.

Finalizing the financial forecast

Once you have completed the four-step process of creating a financial projection, you will have the necessary tools and data to make more informed decisions about your startup's future. To finalize your financial forecast, it’s important to review the decisions made throughout the projection process and ensure that you are on track with your predictions. Additionally, make sure to review the data with an investor or accountant for an extra level of accuracy.

Creating an accurate financial projection for your business is an essential task, and requires careful planning and research. By proactively following the four main steps you will ensure that you have created a detailed financial projection for your startup.

Expert-built startup financial model templates

500+ Excel financial model templates for your business plan