Financial Modeling for Startups: Explained - Startups 101

Financial Modeling for Startups: Explained - Startups 101

Intro (00:00:00)

  • A financial model is more than a spreadsheet; it's a tool for inputting data and generating critical business insights.
  • It answers vital questions like how much runway a company has, how much to raise from investors, and company valuation.
  • It's important for startups not to just input revenue goals but to understand revenue as an effect of various business activities, using driver-based modeling.
  • Founders must avoid making overly simplistic or unfounded assumptions in their financial models.

Canvas (00:02:24)

  • Financial models begin on a canvas rather than a spreadsheet.
  • The color-coded system helps differentiate categories: Green for revenue, Red for Costs, Blue for SG&A, and Yellow for CAPEX.
  • Links to spreadsheet templates with this color coding are provided in the video.
  • Within these categories, items like rent, subscriptions, and headcount can be budgeted for accurately.
  • SG&A can be estimated based on per-user costs such as GSuite subscriptions or co-working space fees.

The Good Stuff (00:03:50)

  • Revenue should be the output, not the input, of the financial model, driven by marketing and sales efforts.
  • Assumptions in the financial model should be grounded in reality, like industry-standard costs per click or install.
  • Organic Traffic is the only driver not directly proportional to an expense and must be modeled based on reasonableness and potential caps on traffic growth.
  • Other types of costs, such as a sales team or marketing budget, are blue boxes representing SG&A expenses that drive revenue.
  • Realistic assumptions for conversion rates and the efficiency of marketing spend are crucial to model accuracy.
  • Financial models should be simple to manage, respond to business needs, and grow in complexity as needed.
  • The primary goal is for the model to be useful, not perfect, reflecting actual business trends.

The Effect (00:08:44)

  • eCommerce platforms can estimate revenue by multiplying the expected number of monthly orders by the average order size and margin.
  • For SaaS companies, average revenue per account (ARPU) assists in estimating monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
  • Churn needs to be included as it represents the customers that are lost every month.
  • For realistic estimates, companies should use real user data or industry benchmarks as inputs for their financial models.
  • Direct costs such as server and infrastructure costs should be tied to MRR or the number of active customers.
  • Driver-based modeling allows for the estimation of additional expenses, such as predicting the need for a new customer support agent for every 1,000 active customers.
  • The financial model should incorporate all expenses and critical metrics and evolve based on the company’s live data.

Financial Modeling Workshop (00:08:44)

  • Slidebean offers a Financial Modeling Workshop, designed to help businesses build a financial model.
  • The workshop provides a blank model, guidance from a senior analyst, and a team to add new functionalities to the spreadsheet.
  • Customers will participate in sessions that help them build their business model and, by the second month, start adding revenue lines.
  • The approach is designed to educate entrepreneurs on building and managing their financial models.
  • Links are provided for booking the workshop or for further inquiries.

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