If you haven’t read Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, it’s well worth a read and is the basis for this short blog post – providing far greater detail than that presented below. Here we are simply seeding the concept of Disruptive Innovation and how we believe it applies to the SaaS business model.
In a very stylistic view there are two key types of business evolution: Sustaining Innovation – incremental improvement of an existing product or service providing better value for the customer, and Disruptive Innovation – radically different perspective on innovation providing the market with something different from what might be expected by default.
Traditionally financial modelling produces a series of forecast financial statements supplemented with industry specific metrics which management and investors use to analyse future performance. This information can become quite detailed and to support ease of understanding a “Dashboard” presenting summary information is often included as a reporting tool. The concept behind the “Dashboard” is to present a concise (relatively) uncluttered overview of the model outputs to aid decision making. The dashboard often includes a simplified set of statements, metrics and charts to present time series metric information.
We would like to suggest two additional charts that help to visually explaining the financial situation and performance of your business; 1. Hotspot Charts, and 2. Visual Income Statements
[Note: the information presented in the charts below is all from a fictional SaaS company, Company X with no relationship to any actual company performance]
“…What do all financial models have in common…” – they are all wrong….
At the core of financial modelling is calculating future cash flows. Nobody, knows exactly what the future holds; therefore how can any model be 100% correct? If they are all wrong, are they of any use? As believers of fundamental structured corporate finance, we would like the answer to be an emphatic yes. However, how useful a model is, is highly dependent on what steps have been undertaken to reduce the potential errors in the model.
This blog is not sales pitch for financial modelling. Nor is it an avenue for outlining good modelling practises to reduce human and calculation errors. Its focus is to establish the assumptions underpinning future cash flows – improved rigour here is directly proportional to the usefulness of a financial model.
Detailed financial modelling often breaks a business operation down to its simplest components – what is being sold/delivered and for what price. It’s these future sales and customer numbers that is the focus of this post, particularly in the relation to SaaS companies.
SaaS, or Software as a Service appears to be the new exciting kid on the block, quite often speaking a completely foreign language. Who is this kid… and what is ARPU, CAC and CMR?
Here at Clare Capital we have been doing financial modelling for several New Zealand SaaS companies (both public and private), during which, we have had a bit of a crash course in the world that is SaaS and would like to pass on some of what we have learnt.
[For those that live and breathe SaaS, feel free to point out anything we misrepresent, for everyone else feel free to contact us for more information].