Ideally, we would want to bring in as much as £1 million of equity investment from investors compatible with our growth plan, management style, and vision, in return for some equity ownership. We are not going to talk about specifics of a deal until we have met the right partners. This plan does not call for equity from outside investors.
If and when the time for outside investors comes, we want compatible investors or no investors at all. Compatibility means:
Of these, only the last two are flexible.
We want to establish a mechanism for employees to acquire fair stock options that can become valuable as the company grows.
The financial plan depends on important assumptions, most of which are shown in the following table. The key underlying assumptions are:
The following table shows that we expect to maintain gross margin but increase net profit margin during the next three years. The single most important factor in the improving profit margin is the economies of scale in our general and administrative expenses. These expenses should decline as a percentage of sales, from more than 15 percent of sales in 2005 to less than 9% in 2007.
We don't expect to decrease sales and marketing expenses as a percent of sales. The packaged software business requires heavy marketing expenses.
We also intend to maintain and increase the percent of revenue spent on development. By 2007 we'll be spending almost 7% of sales on product development. This is the key to our future.
The following table shows just the annual numbers. The detailed monthly projections for 2005 are included in the appendix.
The following chart shows changes in key financial indicators: sales, gross margin, operating expenses, collection days, and stock turnover. The growth in sales is the most obvious change, and operating expenses with sales. We believe the growing market for our products, the larger potential market, justifies the growth projections.
We expect to maintain gross margin at a high level without major changes.
The projections for collection days and stock turnover show that we are already expecting improvements as our increasing sales gives us greater economies of scale, and greater negotiation strength with our channel partners.
Our break-even analysis is based on our cost and price structure at present. As we grow, the fixed costs will grow in proportion to our employee numbers.
The following chart is most important for illustrating our cash projections for the next 12 months. Because of our dependence on sales through channels, and the channels' tendency to pay slow, there are wide variations that must be supported with working capital acquired through short-term credit on receivables and stock.
The table shows just the annual results, which are less significant. The key to our business plan is the monthly cash flow table, in the appendix, which also shows up as the key numbers of the following chart.
The table shows the annual balance sheet results, with a healthy projected increase in net worth. Detailed monthly projections are in the appendix.
Standard business ratios are included in the following table. The ratios show a plan for balanced, healthy growth. One of the more important indicators is the increase in working capital, which is critical to our channel sales strategy and our financial health.
The ratios for collection days and stock turnover are different than the ones in the assumptions table, because those are used as estimators to project balance sheet items for every month, while the ratios shown in this table are calculated on annual basis, using the same formulas used by our accountants, after the fact.
The standard comparisons are for this particular industry, software publishers. We feel that they illustrate the difference between software publishing and most other publishing businesses.