In the April 2001 issue of Inc. magazine, you can read the story of Fred LeFranc - an entrepreneur who bought a restaurant chain, only to discover that the eateries were mired in a mountain of debt. The chain's emergence from debt and subsequent successes are due in large part to LeFranc's attention to detail and eagle-eyed methods of tracking the restaurants' critical numbers.
Inc.com has compiled a list of handy resources to help you determine what your own critical numbers are, why they're so important to identify and track, and how to leverage them most effectively.
Defining Key Terms
- 10 Key Financial Ratios
- Tracking these key financial ratios will highlight financial trends in your business.
- Cash Flow Budget (or Forecast)
- Cash flow forecasting is critical to the success of your business, according to Finance & Capital mentor Stephen King. Here are the steps you need to take to create a reliable cash flow budget.
- Balance Sheets
- Get a quick handle on the financial strength and capabilities of your business using your balance sheet as a guide.
- Income Statements
- Keep track of expenses and find out what areas of your business are over budget, or under budget, with an income statement.
- Here's a straightforward explanation of depreciation and how it affects business assets.
- Here's a quick explanation of amortization and a formula you can use to calculate the amortization of an intangible asset.
- Determining Your Critical Numbers
- Learn how to figure out your company's critical numbers -- and how to use them to build a stronger company.
You must be an inc.com member to download the worksheets listed below, but joining is free -- and easy.
- Financial Ratio Worksheets
- These worksheets will help you calculate 10 key ratios each month.
- Profit and Loss Projection Worksheets
- Use this projection to act as a guide to help you forecast your company's sales and expenses.
Critical Numbers: Do's and Don'ts
- A Daily Dose of Numbers
- Track numbers on a daily basis, and you'll be able to spot signs of trouble in your business -- before they cause big problems.
- Using Critical Numbers: An Action Checklist
- Are you doing all you can to help employees move your company's key numbers in the right direction? Use this checklist to find out.
- Critical Numbers in Action
- Check out this list of creative ways that companies have applied the key financial and operational numbers.
- Troubleshooting Your Critical Numbers
- Learn from five companies that tracked the wrong "critical" numbers.
- Swipe These Critical Numbers
- Use this list of common critical numbers by company, industry, and sector as a benchmark, or tailor these numbers to suit your own needs.