Forecast Profitability Accurately with Resource Planning
by René de Jong on May 1, 2020
Updated February 22, 2023
Accurately forecasting sales and revenue is the dream of any business owner in the world.
For one, forecasting unlocks the ability to spend smarter. You’ll know where and when to put focus on new or innovative projects (such as marketing), and forecasting can greatly improve hiring decisions.
You’ll also need some kind of accurate forecasting to present to shareholders who want to know in which financial direction the business is heading. And to attract new investment as your business grows and scales, you’ll obviously need these projections to prove you’re worth the risk.
But forecasting, for all its benefits, isn’t necessarily an easy task. Lots of startups and small businesses can get it wrong, finding themselves in a cash-strapped situation.
For one, forecasting is not always accurate, especially for seasonal businesses. It can be even more inaccurate and consequently damaging if your business lacks clear cash flow reporting dashboards.
So, how can you leverage the benefits of forecasting while being as accurate as possible?
A critical piece to getting more accurate forecasting for your small business is practicing better resource planning and management. It’s not just about the work coming in, but how successfully you are able to complete projects.
Is your team efficient? Is there any room for improvement? Effective resource management will help you get down to brass tax with just how long projects and tasks are taking and how that time is being used.
By leveraging comprehensive resource planning, businesses are better able to forecast revenue and profitability ACCURATELY. We’ll share tips for what to consider when resource planning, how to get started, and software tools you can use to better manage your resources.
What is resource planning?
Resource planning is often the first step in project management. Essentially, resource planning identifies all the necessary resources to complete a project. Resources include team members (roles and responsibilities) as well as tools (software, hardware, facilities, etc.). Resource planning in project management involves putting all these items into a schedule.
Important questions to ask when setting out to plan resources:
What is my timeline?
If you’re a services organization, how many employees do you have?
What are the rates/salaries involved? Is there anyone with multiple roles that are billed differently?
How long will it take to achieve the individual milestones?
Benefits of resource planning
Knowing exactly the who, what, and when of your resources removes any guessing when it comes to scaling. In other words, accurate resource planning begets accurate forecasting.
"Resource planning in project management will help you avoid making unnecessary decisions that might cost you margin on projects. Plus, you’ll be able to better stick to deadlines or be more flexible for clients if needed."
And importantly, effective resource planning can create a better connection between sales and project management. This will help streamline the handoff between the two as well.
Ready to start resource planning? Here’s how.
- You can start with spreadsheets. Although you can find templates online or within Excel to help get you started, this requires manual data entry, the bane of creatives and most Professional Services Organizations. If you’re working with clients or projects that need more flexibility (aka shifting timelines), spreadsheets can eventually create cumbersome workflow clogs for your project managers. Still, you have to start somewhere, so don’t knock the spreadsheets just yet if you are new to resource planning in project management.
- As you grow, consider adopting smart project management tools to optimize workflows and save precious time and cash. Monday.com, Teamwork and PSOhub are examples of solutions to consider. With adept project management software, you can:
- Start to automate the planning process. Make it easier to build projects and save time on data entry or possible mistakes.
- Level-up with capacity planning. Some small businesses wait to start doing capacity planning until it’s absolutely necessary. We’d suggest getting a jumpstart, as capacity planning is a great way to keep your eye on team utilization, otherwise known as productivity. Getting it right on the productivity front from the outset is never a bad thing. Also, capacity planning tools will let you see where everyone stands in real time, so you can shift work around if you need to. This can help prevent burnout and keep your team’s billable utilization (‘billability’) high
- Visualize resource management clearly. Visibility is everything! And these tools will allow you to see performance and time spent on previous projects that will help you scope better and plan better. You’ll be able to see where you might have gone over or under on previous projects and make the necessary adjustments.
- Incorporate MORE functionality. Make your projects even more efficient with self-driving features like time tracking to collect real-time capacity data once projects kick off. Set alerts to stay on top of budget and productivity. Save previous, successful workflows for future projects. The world is your oyster.
- Get to know your team to plan beyond capacity and begin to evaluate individual strengths and needs that would be best suited for certain projects. After all, your team is arguably your best asset!
Ready to forecast your company’s profitability more accurately?
Take the steps needed to strengthen the connection between your sales and project management teams by finding a resource planning and management tool that seamlessly integrates with both. Make sure to look for self-driving features that will save you and your team time on mind-numbing admin.
The aim is to nail both productivity and profitability at the same time. To kill two birds with one stone, as they say.
With truly comprehensive software in place, you should be able to increase your visibility and provide forecasting that’s more accurate than ever before. This will help you keep your cash flow where you want it to be and potentially uncover new opportunities for both investment and revenue growth.
Curious about resource planning and forecasting in PSOhub! Try it FREE.