Scenario Analysis guide for founders

Scenario analysis signifies the process it takes to estimate the expected value of a portfolio after a given change of values of certain key factors that can take place. In other words, scenario analysis is a method for predicting possible happenings of the outcome of a situation, whether that be a trend or failure in the future of a business. 

By looking at historical data and past occurrences of a business, scenario analysis can help determine the future paths a company can take.

Why is scenario analysis important?

Scenario analysis can help in a variety of ways:

  • Informing stakeholders of potential risks and successful outcomes.
  • Avoiding loss in own company and assets.
  • Attracting potential investors to your own business, earning you more credibility

Scenario analysis can consider different factors, including analysis of the impacts of certain aspects of certain situations. This can include building a new facility, rent, taxes, utilities, labor, etc.

Scenario analyses can help your company make better decisions, develop better business strategies or help challenge assumptions you may have about your company. This can lead to more tremendous success overall, and you should use this to your advantage when given a chance.

You can also use this to estimate changes in the value of your portfolio in response to a bad situation or event. 

How is Scenario Analysis used?

In multiple scenarios, scenario analysis has a couple of different steps to gather possible outcomes for your business. Business planning is always essential to reach success in your potential field.

  • Define what problem you want to fix
  • Gather information
  • Identify possible outcomes
  • Create scenarios by using strategic planning
  • Determine the best-case scenario

You can make your own scenario manager by using software such as Excel. 

How do I Define the Problem? 

First, you have to decide what your goal is: whether that be something you want to achieve or a decision you have to make.

Next, look at your time and determine your next steps on a timeline. How soon or how far is this going to occur? How you treat your business expansion success is dependent on this decision. Will it be slow or exponential? Slow can still be a good thing! 

How to Gather Information 

Identify all of your key factors. These points can be trends and uncertainties that can affect the overall plan. These factors can include but are not limited to:

  • Position in the markets
  • Economical state- this can include an economic slowdown or recession.
  • Ability to hire skilled consultants
  • New software/ technological advancements to increase productivity

How to Identify Possible Outcomes?

To identify potential outcomes, you have to develop scenarios and separate certainties from uncertainties using the "use scenario analysis" method.

To use scenario analysis, you'll need some specific determining factors. When developing your overall outcomes, you must be certain about a worst-case scenario. Identify and adopt certain business trends and name them "certainties" and "uncertainties" as underlying factors and possible future developments that can hurt your business. 

How Do I Create Scenarios Using Strategic Planning?

Take a good outcome versus a worst case scenario. Now, combine your certainties with the intent to compete with the best possible outcomes. Putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together is a great way to have an overview of your entire plan.

Keep experimenting and look closely at things you may miss when developing your scenarios.

How Can I Determine the Best Case Scenario?

Use the scenario analysis to look at your findings' results. Find the one that made the most sense, with the least amount of errors (it doesn't have to be perfect).

This is your best case scenario, and you can use it to your advantage to further develop your business. Use modeling tools or ask an expert for further opinions on your future path.

Scenario Planning

Scenario planning helps decision makers to identify ranges of potential outcomes and impacts. They then use these products to evaluate the responses and manage both possible negative and positive solutions.

They have to project financial earnings and estimate the business's total cash flow. This is ultimately a way to deal with the uncertainty of a company in relation to its ever-changing society around it.

Why is Scenario Planning so Important?

Planning can enable decision-makers to identify ranges of impacts, outcomes, and responses of both positive and negative solutions. 

Good Scenarios

Good scenario sets could include two to five narratives, utterly different from each other. More than five can get confusing, so try to stick within the range.

Each scenario should tell if the conclusion will be a success or failure by including just the right amount of details to go over in the process. It should also answer questions like "What is the demand for the product?" "How will the supply chains react?" or even "Have new technologies impacted the production of this product?"

Who uses Scenario Analysis?

Those who can conduct scenario analysis can include businesses. They use this concept to analyze the potential financial outcomes of certain external environmental factors as a sort of risk analysis.

Financial analysts and planning groups make this work possible in large companies.

What are the three types of Scenario Analysis?

Scenario analysis can be considered in three ways, in the form of scenario thinking:

  • Base Case Scenario
  • Best Case Scenario
  • Worst Case Scenario
  • Multiple Scenario Analysis

What entails the Base Case Scenario?

Scenario analysis of a base-case is typically the baseline and based on commonly accepted assumptions. Companies use ranges of 5-20% when making decisions about investing in the manufacture of new ideas and products. This option is the "reference point" for business planning and provides the researchers a basis for further comparison.

However, this is always subject to change, so always keep an eye out. Holiday seasons and recessions can directly impact this result. 

What entails the Best Case Scenario?

Scenario analysis of the best case is used to achieve goals and objectives based on projections. This could result in a net profit margin of about 20%. This is the ideal projected scenario and is always put into action to achieve the highest objectives.

When calculating net present value, always be sure to use a low discount rate and high possible growth rate plus the lowest tax rate.

What entails the Worst Case Scenario?

Scenario analysis of a worst case scenario signifies a negative set of assumptions. This results in a net profit margin of about 5%. This considers the most serious and severe outcome that can happen. 

What entails the Multiple Scenario Analysis?

Scenario analysis that involves multiple scenarios signifies no restrictions to the two possible cases previously mentioned. A company may consider many different scenarios each time using a different set of assumptions.

Actions to Take When Planning your Work Approach in Scenario Building 

To reach easy success in scenario planning, remember to

  • Make sure every scenario is logical to your overall financial modeling.
  • Define all assumptions clearly.
  • Create a specific scenario analysis process tailored to your business. 
  • Focus on material differences in your sensitivity analysis.
  • Assess your cash flow, interest rates, and materialistic costs. Develop your investment strategy around this concept.
  • Indicate KPIs and refresh assumptions on a regular basis.

Actions to Avoid when Planning your Work Approach in Scenario Building

To avoid problems, a scenario analysis considers some ideals to mitigate risks and maintain overall success: 

  • Developing too many alternative scenarios without defining the prime issue.
  • Attempting to create one single solid perfect scenario- this often does not signify better accuracy.
  • Not holding onto one scenario after it ceased to be relevant.

Benefits of Scenario Analysis

Some key benefits scenario analysis uses can include:

  • Assist companies to mitigate risk better by assessing internal factors and risk management in accordance to that.
  • Help businesses make better decisions by scenario forecasting and evaluating different factors.
  • Challenge conventional wisdom by having analysts think outside the box in terms of company success.
  • By utilizing creative thinking, a methodical approach can be compromised to analyze the future and assist companies in spotting details that can often be overlooked.
  • Overall awareness of the business environment expands, and knowledge is developed.
  • Get a glimpse of the future by giving investors an idea of expected returns and risks involved with your company. 
  • Be proactive with your company and quickly assess its problems/ successes with minimal turnaround time. 

Downsides of Scenario Analysis

Some commonly accepted assumptions of downsides to scenario analysis can include the following:

  • It is a time-consuming process: This tends to be a demanding process that requires skill and expertise. Always have an expert take a look at your goals and demands.
  • Easy to overlook various aspects of the financial model: There's just too much information sometimes to look through at times, and it can be challenging to envision all possible angles of probability.
  • Investors and colleagues must understand that there are risk factors associated with outcomes and have to develop tolerance in order to attain the end goal.
  • It is difficult to forecast what may occur in the future: Markets can dip, and things can go astray. It's always important to keep in mind that forecasting is close to impossible. It is difficult to know what will occur in the future, and the actual outcome can be completely unexpected in the financial model that was developed at the beginning of the process.

More on Sensitivity Analysis

Sensitivity analysis is a type of model that determines how certain valuables in different scenarios are affected in conjunction with other variables known as "input variables". It determines the toughness of an assessment by measuring how it withstands changes. In contrast, scenario analysis assesses the effect of changing all input variables at the same time.

Scenario analysis bases itself on the base case, worst case, and best case scenarios we determined earlier. So, sensitivity analysis deals with certain variables, while scenario analysis takes a look at the whole ordeal.

Both of these ideals are similar in theory but different overall. They both, however, play an important role in forecasting and building your final financial model.


Scenario analysis helps companies with their overall business plan. It helps management identify upcoming situations and assess plans to respond to said situations. 

Scenario analysis isn't always perfect, and this should be taken into account when developing matrixes and financial models around a specific set of data points. Be sure to plan accordingly and leave room for errors always.

The impact of uncertainty can help determine parameters that should be set to determine a business's best option during that period.

A financial modeler and research analyst are always good to go to during situations of strife and just as guidance in general. Don't be afraid to reach out. 

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