Here’s just some of the things you’ll be asked for by either the bank (if looking for debt finance) or a potential investor (if seeking equity finance):
Monthly/Quarterly Management Reports
Management Reports underpin any agency. They show a comprehensive look at the latest completed month’s performance alongside previous months. They show movements in revenue, costs (and therefore profit), Balance Sheet value and Cash Flow. Together with these reports, good Management Reporting also shows how you’re doing in the financial year to date against your budget, and how you’re comparing against prior years. Key Management KPI’s will also be outlined in the reports, showing only data that is absolutely vital to your agency and will ultimately help influence how management makes decisions.
Example Management KPI’s for your agency could be: profit per head, lead conversion rate, staff average utilisation rate, number of hours on retainers, staff & client satisfaction levels.
As well as showing what’s happened through your Management Reports, you should also have a detailed plan of what you expect to happen in the coming year and beyond. This will be presented in the form of a Profit & Loss Forecast and a Cash Flow Forecast. The forecast should outline the potential in the business (in terms of growth) but also indicate the requirement for funding.
In the short term, the potential investor will probably also want to see a schedule of the short/medium term work pipeline. This should show confirmed work for the coming 3-6 months plus any work that you’ve pitched for that’s ‘more than likely’ to be accepted. This will give the investor confidence in the short-term viability of your agency.
You’ll be asked to provide a summary of your current clients: how long you’ve worked with them for, annual spend by client and therefore whether you’re overly reliant on a couple of clients. You’ll also be asked to detail out retained/contracted work and how this compares to project work…retained work being much more advantageous to potential investors as it provides regular, stable income and cash.
Growth & Exit Plans
You’ll be asked to detail a longer term 3-5 year forecast, with an ultimate goal for the business. Whether you are looking at an exit strategy somewhere down the line or not, all agency owners should be building an agency with the intention to make this attractive to potential investors. Agencies sell at a multiple of earnings, and the strength of that multiple depends on a number of factors (such as value of retained/contracted work, staff turnover, client churn, internal systems & processes etc).
If you’re thinking of applying for funding for your agency and don’t have this reporting in place, find out how you can by calling 0161 667 9911 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org