When you run a smallish media business, it’s often hard to see beyond the multiple day-to-day challenges, staffing issues, tons of meetings, emails and phone calls. Let’s not forget those looming publication deadlines either. Yet you can’t just live on hope.
All publishers, large or small, have to set aside time (every year!) to forecast their business. So how do you create a forecast that works best for your magazine? The key is to focus on not only the quantitative, but also the qualitative aspects of your organization.
Forecasting will vary with the challenges and growth of your business and your industry.
To learn more about how to create a better forecast, first ask yourself these questions:
- What are the top factors that can affect your forecast?
- Are there certain allowances that you are willing to make when changes arise?
- Have you set clear priorities?
- Could you be overestimating the short-term and under-estimating the long term?
Once you have determined the answers to those questions, you can begin to envision what shape your forecast will take. Make sure it has a logical thread.
Focus on what you know.
- Analyze historical patterns, but don’t base your entire forecast on it.
- Take into consideration the experience and expertise of the management leaders.
- Determine how flexible your organization is and whether you need to make changes.
- Educate yourself on how the overall industry is doing, what trends are being talked about and then gauge accordingly.
- Be prepared to articulate and defend the logic behind your forecast.
Then expect the unexpected.
As humans, most of us hate uncertainty. Yet life is full of them. Anticipate issues that might come up within your organization. Also prepare for the unexpected to happen with your suppliers, advertisers and customers.
Then imagine, in a critical manner, what those wild cards would be. By planning ahead for various scenarios that could occur, you’ll recover more quickly when something happens.
Lastly, try to keep it simple so it’s easy to revisit often and make adjustments where needed. Also encourage consensus with your key people. Then you will not only have better forecast, but a shared vision for the future.
P.S. Join us at the 2017 Niche CEO Summit in Washington D.C., June 21-23, to learn more about new revenue trends from our expert speakers and your publishing peers!
About this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former sales director and corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast…who sometimes gets carried away.
Niche Media has the best events, education, and training in media! Our super niched-out events & content give target-audience publishers in the B2C, hobbyist, B2B, city & regional, and association markets the tools they need to build revenue, audience, and more.