No company has found the coveted crystal ball, but they would all like to have the ability to see the future to ensure continued profits.
The next best thing to clairvoyance is the ability to use historical trends and patterns and data-driven strategies in projecting business development and making long-term plans through business forecasting.
By making informed predictions about metrics and economic conditions in the business world, companies can make solid decisions and bring their futures into sharper focus through the business forecasting process.
Boise State University’s Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program provides students with the knowledge and tools to apply the business forecasting process to real-world scenarios.
Types of Business Forecasting
By using several different methods to predict future trends, companies can focus on specific metrics and outcomes based on the information they want.
The six most common types of business forecasting are:
- General business — Determining market conditions and maintaining the overall business climate for a specific future timeline can apply to numerous companies and industries. General forecasting focuses on the big picture.
- Financial — Financial forecasting tracks the future trajectory of a company by taking all financial elements into account by weighing the assets and liabilities, accounts payable and receivable, capital structure, operating costs, cash flow and general market conditions.
- Accounting — Using past and present data analysis, it predicts future costs of a company to estimate operating costs and changes to those costs based on recurring trends.
- Demand — In conjunction with sales forecasting, it predicts market wants or needs, which provides insight to capitalize through sales. Demand forecasting is especially useful in investing in inventory and predicting the success of new products.
- Sales — Estimating future sales based on data allows businesses to predict future needs for investment capital, inventory, cash flow, workforce and resources. Sales forecasting can anticipate revenue over a month, quarter or yearly cycles.
- Capital — Although not as reliable and trickier than the other types of forecasting, capital is vital to maintaining a company’s success by analyzing current and future assets and liabilities and predicting liquid capital and cash flow estimates. Capital forecasting helps companies with investment, hiring, acquisitions and any changes that require cash.
See the Future, be the Future
Some courses in Boise State’s MBA online program curriculum are especially relevant to building a business forecasting knowledge base. However, all courses focus on asking questions and learning to integrate human resources, marketing and sales.
To begin the program, all students complete BUSMBA 500, Business Foundations, which includes interactive lessons on Excel tools and capabilities. This sets the stage for more advanced use of data throughout the program.
In BUSMBA 535 Information Technology and Business Alignment, students examine the role of IT in business analytics while learning to use the data analysis and visualization tool Tableau.
In BUSMBA 515, Corporate Finance, multiple lessons prepare students for financial forecasting and cash flow analysis.
In BUSMBA 572, Data-Driven Decision Making, students learn data analysis techniques of managerial decision-making by uncovering data patterns and identifying underlying drivers. The course also covers visualization.
For students interested in forecasting, we highly recommend considering the Business Analytics or Finance emphasis areas. Electives in these specializations allow students to gain expertise to help drive data driven decisions within their organizations.
Because forecasting is holistic, Boise State’s comprehensive MBA lays the foundation to forecast business trends successfully and consistently. No crystal ball required.
Learn More About the Master of Business Administration
The Boise State Online MBA emphasizes the importance of business forecasting, which helps companies remain profitable by predicting future events and trends. Graduates can apply that knowledge to create more career opportunities and solidify their ROI.
Are you ready to hear more about the program?