I first learned to create financial models while I was working at the world's largest natural resources company. Then, I became interested in entrepreneurship while I was getting my MBA and I started applying my modeling and business model generation skills to helping my teams win several business plan competitions. Since then, I have created financial models used to raise over $20 million from corporate strategic investors and venture capital firms for startups.
I have learned that creating excellent financial models is both an art and a science. A good financial model is:
- A great way to develop a deeper understanding of your business
- A way to test certain assumptions and theories BEFORE spending a boatload of money to learn everything the hard way
- A way to communicate with your investors and co-workers. Money is about numbers and it makes sense to have a way of communicating your plan that is also based on numbers.
- NOT always going to be 100% accurate. That's not actually the point - especially with startups.
A financial model can also be a huge potential time sink if you let it get out of hand. This is why it's important to focus on testing your business assumptions rather than trying to invent a new Excel framework from the ground-up. I created SpringExcel for a similar reason to why Rails & Django exist as web frameworks - to try to save people time so they can spend more of their time adding value in ways that are unique to their business.
Whether you are trying to learn modeling to get a job or you need to create forecasts for your startup, I hope that this course is helpful and is an efficient use of your time.
I am constantly working to improve this course and model template so please feel free to send me any feedback.