We want to finance growth mainly through cash flow and equity, but will need a second short-term loan, in the amount of $26,391, in the next year to cover our cash flow.
The most important factor in our case is collection days. We can't push our clients hard on collection days, because they are larger companies and will normally have marketing authority, not financial authority. Therefore we need to develop a permanent systems of receivables financing, using one of the established accounting systems. In turn, we must intend to ensure that our investment is compatible with our growth plan, management style, and vision.
Compatibility in this regard means:
The financial plan which follows summarizes information regarding the following items:
The financial plan depends on important assumptions. From the beginning, we recognize that collection days are critical, but not a factor we can influence easily. Interest rates, tax rates, and personnel burden are based on conservative assumptions.
Some of the more important underlying assumptions are:
Others include 60-day average collection days, sales entirely on invoice basis, including a favorable deposit policy, expenses on a net 39-day basis, 30 days on the average for payment of invoices, and present-day interest rates.
The gross margin for a service-based business is a reflection of the efficiency at which those services are offered. labor is our primary expense, and the only cost directly associated with sales. Given our sales rate over the last 6 months, we expect both to remain fairly constant. Gross margin, because we use no inventory, looks to be 100% for all year. After taking labor into account, a more realistic gross margin for Year 1 is 26%. We expect that our increased efficiency in Years 2 and 3 will produce a higher annual gross margin of 34% and 38%, respectively.
Net Profit /Sales will increase steadily through 2005.
The following chart and table summarize our break-even analysis. We are currently averaging sales above our break-even point. Any decrease in sales lasting longer than 3 months will generate decreases in payroll across the board to maintain net profits and capital.
Cash flow projections are critical to our success. The monthly cash flow is shown in the illustration, with one bar representing the cash flow per month, and the other the monthly balance. The first few months are critical. It may be necessary to inject additional capital in this time frame if the need arises. The annual cash flow figures are included here and more important detailed monthly numbers are included in the appendices.
With the payment of our liabilities, relatively low payroll and operating expenses, and a conservative sales forecast, our Balance Sheet shows an increasing net worth in every month and year of our plan. As a consulting and design business, the majority of our "capital" is intangible - the skills, experience, and reputation of our team. However, the nature of our work also keeps our costs low, so careful debt management and billing will soon produce a good profit, and a valuable company.
Business ratios for the years of this plan are shown below. Industry profile ratios based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 8712.01, Architectural Engineering, are shown for comparison.
Our business ratios look different from the industry standards in part because we are counting our only direct cost of sales, our engineering labor, as an operating expense. The company is structured so that employees receive a monthly salary regardless of hours billed, so our expenses are all, essentially, operating expenses.