Tip #70: Projection table improvements

Tip 70: Projection table improvements. Still sticking with presenting a projection table despite these recent tips? OK, then here are some things to include.

First, limit yourself to start with to key line items – revenue, gross profit, EBITDA, net income.

Second, leave out any line item that can be derived easily from another. For example, if you show revenue and gross profit, you don’t need to show the COGS line separately.

Third, keep it brief. On revenue, you don't need to show us separate line items for very minor ancillary revenues or for business lines you don't have a plan for yet. On costs, when you created your projection model you thought about lots of cost buckets. But don’t show them in the slides, because individually they’re immaterial and impossible to read.

Fourth, include cost items that are meaningful for your business. If it’s a consumer brand driven by marketing, we need to know how much you’re spending on marketing.

Fifth, include those metrics and data-points we tipped you about earlier – your unit economics, your minimum cash balance in the relevant period, your year end cash balance, etc.

And lastly, do what you can to make the financials fit the rest of your “brand” – with an integrated formatting. (See tip 21 for how not to do this.)

Here is an excellent example where a company followed most of the tips above and put the table in “their format” (they were a knitwear company, so used their color scheme and a clever “weave” of the boxes). Had they lost a few “$”s and “M”s, this would have been near-perfect – for a table.

But what about that idea of not using a table at all?