What to know about forecasting for your business.
Forecasting is an important part of your business strategy – here are some techniques and tools to use.
Whether it’s predicting sales, measuring market impact, or understanding if you’re going to need to grow your workforce, forecasting helps businesses assess where they are and predict where they might be going in many key areas. This is crucial when it comes to goal setting, budgeting, and campaign planning.
Essentially, forecasting lets a business look at past trends plus their current position and predict a future. You can use business forecast tools to help predict sales, budgets, and more. Having an accurate picture of your business’s potential using data and market trends can help you set and meet objectives. Here are some of the fundamental forecasting tools and techniques to help you plan and strategize effectively.
Business Forecasting Techniques
There are several business forecasting methods that might work for your business that will help you understand past trends and potential demand. The right technique might depend on what industry is using it. Here are some of the general forecasting models often used by businesses.
This method is appropriate where no hard data is available. Startups, for instance, can’t project against past data, because there is no past data for their business. They must use a subjective approach then, that looks at the industry, market research, and relies on opinions of industry experts.
Quantitative methods forecast the future through looking at past data. This measurable, method-based, analytical mode is appropriate for several statistical forecasting needs, including short-term goals and planning.
This kind of forecasting is used to try to understand and predict relationships between things. If there has been a downturn in sales, is that because of the economy or bad customer service? Understanding the relationship between data sets can help to create a better plan going forward.
Strategic management of any goals requires accurate data to plan from. To find, gather and analyze the most accurate data – and utilize it in your planning – you need the right tools. Here’s a list of current, reliable tools to try when working on forecasting for your business.
Demand Works offers forecasting software for businesses that run 100% in browsers, so you can run the software from servers, the cloud, or your desktop. Their demand planning software is specifically for inventory management, capacity planning, and sales and operation planning.
QuickBooks is a go-to resource for anyone looking for accounting software. Because of their robust platform, you can generate trend reports and forecasting reports that will help you in planning financial and budgeting objective.
Tableau has been touted as a great software solution for forecasting for business intelligence goals. It helps you get an accurate picture of several different areas of business and strategize around the data.
While it’s not a crystal ball, forecasting methods can help to assess information for your business’s future. Using the right budgeting and forecasting techniques is essential in creating accurate, reliable forecasts for your business. Decide on your goals, which will lead you to the best forecast tools and techniques to help you start planning and building your strategies to accomplish those goals.