Financial projections are crucial for any startup business. They help the entrepreneurial team plan sustainability and set goals. A financial projection model is an organized approach that generally consists of predicting revenue, expenses, and cash flow across multiple years. It is used to evaluate the economic viability of a business venture and enables entrepreneurs to better assess the risks and opportunities associated with their business ideas.

Benefits of Creating Financial Projections for a Startup

  • Make informed decisions about the venture
  • Help develop a startup's business plan and maximize its potential
  • Keep an accurate record of finances over the course of the startup’s fiscal year
  • Identify potential external investment options for the venture
  • Track performance against business objectives and make appropriate adjustments as needed

Key Takeaways
  • Financial projections are essential for any startup business.
  • Projections help entrepreneurs plan sustainability and set goals.
  • Projections enable the team to evaluate the economic viability of the business.
  • Projections can help to identify potential external investment options.
  • Regular tracking of finances is essential for the startup's success.


Creating a financial projection model for a startup involves brainstorming elements of the model, reviewing existing models, and developing a plan for the model.

Brainstorm Elements of the Model

The first step in creating a financial projection model for a startup is to brainstorm elements of the model. This involves considering the various aspects of a startup’s financial situation that need to be factored into the model. This could include the startup’s expected revenue, expenses, cash flow, capital expenditures, and taxes, among other things. These elements will form the basis for the model, so it is important to give careful thought to their inclusion.

Review Existing Models

Once the elements of the model have been identified, it is important to review existing financial projection models to get a better understanding of how they work. This will give a good idea of what information needs to be included for the model to be useful. It is also beneficial to analyze existing models to identify any weaknesses that can be avoided when creating the model.

Develop a Plan for the Model

Once the elements of the model have been identified and existing models have been reviewed, it is important to develop a plan for the model. This should include a timeline for creating the model, an outline of what information needs to be included, and any assumptions that will be made. It is also important to consider the format in which the model will be presented, as it needs to be easy to understand and use.

  • Brainstorm elements of the model
  • Review existing models
  • Develop a plan for the model

Building the Model

Creating a financial projection model for a startup can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. By breaking it down into a few simple steps, entrepreneurs can create an effective and accurate financial projection model which can be used to manage their business finances more effectively.

Determine Inputs and Outputs

The first step in creating a financial projection model is to determine the inputs and outputs. Inputs will be any information related to the business, such as expenses, incomes, and cash flow. Outputs are goals that the model will be used to achieve, such as a desired profit or projected cash landing. Having a clear understanding of what the inputs and outputs of the model should be is essential for the success of the model.

Select the Right Modeling Software

The next step is to select the right modeling software. There are many different software solutions available which can be used to create financial projection models for startups. It is important to select a software solution that is tailored to the needs of the startup and is easy to use. Some software solutions are more complex than others and may take time to learn.

Create Key Assumptions

After selecting the right software, the next step is to create key assumptions. This involves inputting information into the software, such as expected profits and expenses, and basing assumptions on up-to-date market information. Assumptions should be realistic and provide a foundation for the financial projection model.

Project Revenues

The final step is to project revenues. This involves inputting additional data such as sales growth and customer data. This data will be used to project future revenues and provide a realistic picture of the potential profits that can be made by the startup.

By following these steps, entrepreneurs can create a financial projection model that is accurate and effective. This model can then be used to manage finances more effectively and make informed decisions when it comes to the operations of the business.

Creating a Financial Projection Model for a Startup

A: Project Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement

Creating a financial projection model for a startup is essential when it comes to predicting cash flows in various scenarios for the company. The income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement form the basis of a financial projection model and should be projected over a number of years. Business owners should maintain a balance in the model and make sure revenue from projects is correctly accounted for along with any other benefits that are received.

Each of these statements should offer a detailed overview of the expected financial performance of the company and cover significant areas like the costs of the project, expenses and resources needed, revenue and profitability. Since balance sheet and cash flow statements include information about the company’s performance during the same time period, they must be accurately compiled using the same date to ensure uniformity.

B: Expand Model with Cash Flow Analysis

After the statements of the financial model have been created, business owners should expand the model with a cash flow analysis. A cash flow analysis helps in identifying high-level issues that could lead to liquidity problems in the business. It also helps in spotting the sources and uses of cash, and evaluating how cash flows in and out of a company over a given period of time.

The analysis should include how much is owed to creditors, the amount of cash available for spending, and the amount of money needed for paying bills, operating costs and investing activities. This helps in charting cash balance over a given projected period and understanding the timeline for investments and payments.

C: Scrutinize Ratios

Ratios are another important component of a financial projection model and crucial for understanding the company’s financial health. This includes working capital ratio, current ratio, acid-test ratio, debt-equity ratio, quick ratio, return on equity (ROE), return on assets (ROA), micro-margin and gross profit ratio. By using the ratios, business owners can analyze the numbers in the financial statements and accurately determine the financial health of the company.

It is important to note that no single ratio can be used in isolation to accurately evaluate the performance of a business. Instead, ratios should be used in combination to get a comprehensive picture of the company’s performance and make better financial decisions.

Determining the Valuation Methodology

When creating a financial model for a startup, the first step is to determine an appropriate valuation methodology. Startups tend to have a lot of ambiguity in their projections and projections may vary widely depending on the size and industry. Therefore, it is important to choose an appropriate valuation methodology for the startup. There are various methods for valuing startups, including the price to earnings ratio, the discounted cash flow method, the venture capital method and the option pricing method. It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each method before selecting which one to use.

Performing Valuation Analysis

Once a valuation methodology has been chosen, the next step is to perform a valuation analysis. This involves analyzing the historical financial information of the startup, forecasting future values of the key metrics, and analyzing the risk of the business model. When performing the valuation analysis, it is important to consider all of the assumptions that can influence the potential success (or failure) of the startup. This includes factors such as changing market conditions, technological advancements, and other factors.

Evaluating Assumptions

The final step in creating a financial projection model for a startup is to evaluate the assumptions that were made in the valuation. This involves ensuring that all of the assumptions used in the finance model are realistic and appropriate. It is also important to understand how each assumption could affect the value of the startup. For instance, changes in market conditions, technological advancements, or other unexpected events could have a major impact on the success (or failure) of a startup. After ensuring all of the assumptions are realistic and appropriate, the financial model can then be finalized.

Check Accuracy of Financial Projection Model for a Startup

Having a working financial projection model from a startup is essential. An effective financial projection model helps predict cash flows, revenue, and expenses. It also serves as a financial roadmap to make decisions related to investments, cost-cutting, and expansion. A good financial model should have reasonable assumptions and logic processes. But, it is also important to verify accuracy of the model by checking assumptions, verifying logic, and identifying risks and mitigation. Here are steps to check accuracy of a financial projection model:

A. Check Reasonableness of Assumptions

The accuracy of the projection model depends on the assumptions used in the model. Therefore, it is important to check the reasonableness of each assumption. It is especially important to check the fixed costs such as rental expenses. Also, check assumptions about variable costs such as cost of goods sold. Further, check if assumptions about income are appropriate in light of competitive environment. Finally, verify assumptions related to capital expenses and drawdowns.

B. Verify Logic

It is important to verify the logic applied in the financial model. Logic can be verified by scrutinizing the formulas applied in the model. Make sure the calculations related to primary items such as revenue, expenses and capital are correct. Check for inappropriate cell references and wrong calculations. In addition, make sure right kind of formulae are used such as PV formulae for capital and PMT formulae for expenses.

C. Identify Risks and Mitigations

Risk identification and mitigations are important steps to ensure accuracy of financial model. It is important to identify the risks associated with the model. This can be done by examining assumptions related to sales, salaries, and expenses. Make sure the model is adjusted for in an economic slowdown with reduced consumer spending. Time for realization of sales, collection of receivables, and payments of invoices should also be checked. In addition, identify potential threats and possible solutions by examining macro- and micro-environmental factors. Review model regularly to identify any unexpected market changes that might impact the model.

Having a good projection model is important. To make the model useful, it is important to check accuracy of the assumptions, logic processes, and risks and mitigations. By following the above steps you can make sure the financial model accurately reflects the forecast of the startup.


Creating an accurate and reliable financial projection model for a startup requires diligence and an in-depth understanding of the financial processes of the business. There are several steps to creating a projection model, beginning with understanding the financial goal of the startup, creating a business plan and historical data, estimating key financial assumptions, and creating the financial statement projections. Lastly, the model should be reviewed and finalized.

A: Summary of Process

The first step in creating a financial projection model is to understand the financial goal of the business. Once the objective is established, the business plan and historical financial data can be created to inform the projections. It is then important to estimate key financial assumptions based on past trends, industry research, and market conditions. After these assumptions are built into the model, the financial statement projections can be made. The projection model should then be reviewed and finalized.

B: Finalizing the Model

Finalizing the model should include another careful review and validation of the assumptions used. Once the assumptions are verified, the model can be used to make reliable financial decision on behalf of the startup. Additionally, the model should be monitored to ensure accuracy throughout the forecasting period. With a well-organised projection and monitoring process, the startup can better understand their financial position and make decisions to support future growth.

Expert-built startup financial model templates

500+ Excel financial model templates for your business plan