Cash Flow 101 for Brands: Sales Guide for planning 2016 and beyond.

Syama Meagher is the CEO of Scaling Retail a retail strategy firm that specializes in small to medium sized retailers and brands.  She will talk how Modalyst can help you.

Planning cash flow can drive anyone crazy, let alone a designer who isn’t inclined to use MS Excel. Lucky for you we are going to break it down into bite-sized sections week after week. This 6 part series is meant to demystify how to approach cash flow and financial planning and give you the tools to get started. Now, I’ve worked with small startup brands to larger retail corporations and all of them have to do this very thing each year, you can’t get out of it. So take a deep breathe and join the Cash Flow Club.


Week 1: Getting Started (you are here)

Week 2: Sales Projections

Week 3: Marketing Projections

Week 4: Operating Costs

Week 5: Cost of Good Sold

Week 6: The Master Plan + How to Use it Monthly


Lets Get Started!

Build the Foundation.

How much money did you spend in 2015? Its still the beginning of the year which means doing a post-mortem (recap) of 2015 is still worth it. This is the foundation for understanding your particular spending habits and business needs. Your post-mortem should include everything you spent last year, what it was for and if you were able to generate any revenue from it. Make sure to include all fixed and variable costs on a list as well. Your fixed costs are expenses you recur on a monthly basis whether or not you make money and your variable costs change each month. If you are able to label each expense this will help you later on.

The more detailed you are with this step the easier it will be to evaluate your expenses. See below for our example of the best way to organize your expenses. Click the image to view it larger.


Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 2.44.35 PM

Create the Structure.

Once you have your baseline (2015 post mortem) its time to create your 2016 plan. Create an excel doc that has the following tabs: 1- sales 2- marketing 3- operating costs 4- COGS 5- The Master Tab (all 4 tabs linking into one sheet). You will create your months across the top row and different line items down the columns. Add subtotals at the bottom. Boom- you have a basic Excel doc to begin with. Your final tab will require something a bit more sophisticated. We will be linking sheets, formatting and color-coding. Very exciting stuff for my creatives out there! The example provided is meant to guide you with how to outline your new 2016 spreadsheet, make sure you add as many lines as you need. Click the image to view it larger.



Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 2.45.56 PM


This week your homework is simple. Do your post mortem and start to create the structure for your 2016 Financial Plan. Take your time and if this is your very first time using excel check out the WikiHow for a simple guide

For expert advice as you build out your customized financial plan send an email to to schedule a consult. Otherwise, I’ll see you next week!

Scaling Retail has a contest running for fashion and accessory brands to attend Launch My Brand. 5 winners will win a ticket worth $500. Contest ends 2/23/16. Enter here! 

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