Business Plan in the ICT industry: Excel template!

Finding a good business plan template in Excel format can be really hard, for the following reasons:

You need the right level of detail. More often than not, the templates provided by others (your corporate HQs, your boss, you name it) are much too detailed – if you work for a large company, you know what I mean. In those horrible templates, you really wonder who might ever read the hundreds and thousands of rows that try to forecast what could happen 10 years down the road….

If you are looking at an existing business, the financial projections should also take the recent past into account. Too often, the templates don’t seem to care about what happened in the last couple of years. If you haven’t analysed the recent performance of the company, how can you pretend that your 7-10 year forecast is realistic?

Forecasting ‘costs’ is hard, but forecasting ‘markets’ and ‘revenues’ is really a lot harder. One way to address this challenge is to forecast the market in two different manners: by regions / countries on one hand, and by product lines / products on the other hand. And then reconcile them so that the two projections are aligned.

Bus_Plan_Chart

Finally, the financial plan must look good. Not only it must support the story that you are trying to sell (to your management, or to investors), but it must also be visually appealing.

In the ICT industry, there are quite a lot of software and service businesses (as well as hardware, for sure), with the added charm that gross margins can be (very) high, and working capital requirements low (who doesn’t love prepayments or annual software / service fees paid upfront?). So we have reflected these salient features of the ICT industry in the template below. Business Planning Template PDF (4587 downloads)

Enjoy the template in PDF format! If you want a copy of the business plan in Excel, provided by Investaura Management Consultants, you need to register for the ‘Business Plan templates‘ package on the web side. Beside this template, the package also provide a Business Plan in Excel specifically for Telecoms operators (service providers). Check our various packages here.

Financial ratio analysis: Free Excel template!

There are 4 main categories of financial ratios and KPIs used by financial practitioners, each addressing a specific question:

Question 1: “Is the business profitable?” -> Profitability ratios, calculated from the P&L (e.g. Gross margin, EBITDA margin, EBIT margin)

Question 2: “Is the business liquid in the short term?” -> Liquitidity ratios, calculated from the Balance Sheet (e.g. current ratio, liquid ratio, cash ratio)

Question 3: “Is the business financially stable in the long term?” –> Stability ratios, calculated from the Balance Sheet (e.g. debt-to-equity ratio, gearing, debt cover ratio)

Question 4: “Is profitability high enough compared to what we have invested?” –> Capital Efficiency ratios (e.g. ROE taking an ‘equity’ perspective; ROIC taking an ‘entity’ point of view).

In additional, practitioners often undertake a Cost Structure Analysis, as well as a Working Capital Analysis (e.g. receivables days, inventory days, payable days).

This analysis is not hard when you understand the meaning of these ratios, and how to calculate them. To help you get started, Investaura Management Consultants is pleased to provide you with this Financial Ratio Analysis template.

FinancialRatios

You need to register for free as a ‘Discovery’ member on this web site to download the Financial Ratio analysis template (more than 7500 downloads). Go to the registration page.

Forecasting Telecoms Technology on the Demand and Supply sides

Recently we came across Telektronikk.

Telektronikk was the international data and telecommunications journal of the Telenor Group, presenting research, analyses and updates on industry challenges to experts, students and other readers from all over the world. Each issue was dedicated to a specific theme. Telektronikk was discontinued in 2010 after 106 years of publication. Which is a pity, because Telektronikk published great stuff. Like this publication on Telecommunications Forecasting (1291 downloads) .

More about Telektronikk, including an archive of all released volumes.

Guide des Startups High-Tech en France, 16ieme édition, Olivier Ezratty

For our French readers in Europe, Canada, Africa and the rest of the world: there is a fantastic guide on startups for entrepreneurs, published by Olivier Ezratty, a freelance consultant, university guest speaker and ex-Microsoft manager – and also graduate of Ecole Centrale Paris, the French ‘Grande Ecole’.

The guide, now in its 16th edition, is a must-read for those who want to set up a start-up in France, or elsewhere.

It is free and can be downloaded from Olivier’s web site.

The World in 2030

Sometimes, business plans need to take a really long-term perspective.

Remember 20 years ago? This was the year 1992. Windows 95 had not made its big bang yet, and we were still batling with Windows 3.1 – unless you had a Mac at that time. When you think about it: Windows 95 is about 15 years old only!

20 years is not such a long period of time, but a lot of things have happened since then in the IT, telecom and consumer electronics space:

  • the mobile explosion, SMS, the Internet boom, smart phones, UMTS, 4G
  • the DVD, the iPod, digital TV, HD TV, the iPad

Some stuff are really difficult to forecast over a period of 20 years. But others are not. For example population growth and shift in demand and supply across main world regions.

Large companies do this kind of exercices. OK, maybe not with a 20 years horizon, but 5-10 years instead. But you get the idea.

If you want to know what the world will be like in 2030, there is a fantastic research document called The Trend Compendium 2030 provided by the German Consultancy Roland Berger. Enjoy!