This sales forecast template (Excel 120KB) is an easy-to-use Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that allows you to input your expected sales figures per quarter, along with your overheads. As you plug in your numbers, it automatically calculates quarterly and annual figures for:
- total sales
- gross profit
- total overheads
- net profit.
This template is also professionally formatted, making it perfect for printing and sharing with your business partners or small business banker.
Our sales forecast template helps you to accurately identify projected sales on a quarterly and annual basis. By completing a sales forecast, you won’t be operating in the dark – and you’ll be less likely to be caught off guard at the end of the quarter or year. Using a sales forecast to predict sales and profit also allows you to:
- establish targets
- monitor progress
- address expected shortfalls or windfalls.
Note that this is a sales forecast, not a cash flow forecast (Excel 59KB). While you’ll want to enter your overheads like rent, salaries, and utilities, you don’t need to get too deep into your expenses.
For sales forecasting purposes, you’ll enter the average sale per customer along with the average cost per sale into the template rather than individual expenses.
Sales forecasting for start-ups
Sales forecasting is hard for start-ups because you don’t have any past records to use as a basis for your forecast. However, you can use external data. In order to complete a sales forecast for a start-up, you’ll need to:
- look at trends
- check out past statistics of market demand
- find out what your competitors are doing
- work out what you need to do to break even.
Sales forecasting for established businesses
If you’ve an established business, then look at:
- last year’s sales
- opportunities coming up
- any threats on the horizon.
For example, if your business averages about 500 customers per quarter with an average sale of $300, that’s your starting point. Assuming nothing changes, you could expect total sales of $150,000 for the quarter.
However, opportunities may exist – such as a competitor going out of business or an expansion into a new market. Do you intend to exploit those opportunities? If so, factor that in. How many of your competitor’s customers might you be able to attract? Or how many new customers do you think you can convert in a new market?
The same is true of potential threats – such as an economic slowdown or change in legislation affecting your business. How will these threats affect your sales? Will you lose customers? Will they scale back their purchases? Will your average cost per sale go up? Again factor threats into your forecast. Because opportunities and threats can affect your sales, you’ll want to complete a SWOT analysis as part of a sales forecast for an existing business.