Frequently asked questions
What kinds of businesses does this work best for?
The Rocket Pro Forma template works best for online businesses (which is perfect for our new Covid-19 world). You can mix and match the following business models: subscriptions, transactions, inventory, and manufacturing. Rocket Pro Forma is great for SaaS (software as a service), eCommerce and online stores (with or without inventory), online marketplaces, hardware / IoT devices with or without subscriptions.
Here's a video walkthrough of how to choose your business models:
Is there a money back guaratee?
Yes! There is a 30-day unconditional money back guarantee. Simply contact us and we’ll refund your money with no questions asked.
Can't I just make my own spreadsheet?
Absolutely! I've made a ton of them. But I got tired of re-creating the wheel every time so I built this template that I can keep re-using. It's saved me a ton of time plus I make fewer mistakes (because spreadsheets have bugs just like software). Rocket Pro Forma also acts as a checklist so that I don't forget anything.
What isn't handled by Rocket Pro Forma?
I'm updating the spreadsheet all the time (see below for the change log). The next things on my to-do list are:
- Taxes and depreciation
- Burn rate
- Allowing transactions to happen more than once per day and also less than once per month
- Improve building out both sides of a marketplace business (sellers & buyers)
- Upfront subscriptions payments for 2-years or more (Rocket Pro Forma currently handles monthly and annual subscriptions)
- Curve calculator to project three years of sales and match to your sales funnels
Things that Rocket Pro Forma probably won't handle any time soon:
- More than three pricing tiers for any business model (you can use averages and/or add your own tab of you have more subscription tiers).
- Detailed marketing breakdown by channel (you can use average spend, cost-per-click, and conversion ratios).
- Expansion of multiple physical stores (I've done this in other models but haven't brought it into Rocket Pro Forma yet)
- Portfolio management
Rocket Pro Forma is powerful and I've been getting great feedback from the entrepreneurs who have used it. You're welcome to check it out and use the money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied.
Why three years?
The world is moving so quickly that it’s hard to plan even three years ahead. I used to do 5-year projections, but switched a decade ago and haven’t looked back.
How do I enter my assumptions?
Mostly by entering three values for year 1, year 2, and year 3 along with a growth rate. The Rocket Pro Forma template automatically does all the work filling out the 36 monthly cells for you. And then you can easily change your assumptions as needed.
Here's a video walkthrough of how easy it is to enter (and update) three years of assumptions:
What is the format of the Rocket Pro Forma template?
It’s a Google spreadsheet. You can make your own copy and customize it to your business. The great thing about Google Sheets is that you can share them online. I often collaborate on financial models with entrepreneurs in real time.
Can I use Excel?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that I'm using Google-specific functions and I haven’t tried to open it in Excel in a long time (in fact, I like Google Sheets so much that I haven’t even installed Excel on my computer).
What if I’m afraid of spreadsheets?
I’ve designed Rocket Pro Forma to do all of the work for you, even if you hate spreadsheets. You simply enter your assumptions and you’ll automatically see a killer pitch deck slide plus income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet. Your accountant and your potential investors will all love you.
What if I’m awesome at spreadsheets?
Rocket Pro Forma is perfect for you! It does a lot of the heavy lifting, and then you can customize to your heart’s content. I’ve seen entrepreneurs and their hired guns do all kinds of cool extensions of the Rocket Pro Forma template.
How often do you update Rocket Pro Forma?
All the time! Here's the list of recent improvements:
May 10, 2021
Adjusted Marketplace churn to properly format for Buyers vs. Sellers driving transactions.
May 4, 2021
Adjusted Cash Flow Statement to properly handle repayment of initial loan.
Adjusted Pitch Deck Slide to properly display GMV and CAC in years 4 and 5
April 26, 2021
Adjusted Pitch Deck Slide Y4 and Y5 to 1) not show investment and 2) properly multiply Ads & Data and Hourly Billing in Revenue detail section.
April 19, 2021
Adjusted inventory predictions on Income Statement to properly reflect # of Units per Transaction for all 3 Units Price Points.
Adjusted matching COGS on Income Statement to properly reflect # of Units per Transaction for all 3 Units Price Points.
March 15, 2021
Added ARR, MRR, and # of Subscribers as options to calculate potential acquisition value in Implied Acquisition Value section of Fianancing tab.
Start Month for inventory of all 3 Unit tiers now adjusts for type of manufacturing ("Batched" vs. "Drop Ship" and "Just In Time"
Adjusted low cash position of Financing tab to exclude annual totals.
Properly handle Expense per Employee on Pitch Deck Slide in situations with zero employees.
Added calculation of trials needed to drive requested # of subscriptions for Top Down Sales Targets in Assumptions tab.
Updated indication of year in hints for Assumptions tab whenever you enter a start month to properly handle models that start on months other than January.
January 27, 2021
Updated Nav Bar in row 1 of Assumptions tab to dynamically adjust hyperlinks based on which biz models are active.
Pitch Deck Slide now automatically shows correct third key metric when Subscriptions is set as primary and either Transactions or Units is secondary.
January 25, 2021
Tier 2 and Tier 3 COGS for Units now enable / disable properly in the Assumptions tab.
Limited input for number of months in Batched manufacturing to an integer number of months in Units COGS section of the Assumptions tab (because this model doesn't support days / partial months).
Bottom-up Ad Sales now properly reflects year 3 ad spend in all instances.
January 4, 2021
Income Statement COGS for Transactions now updates correctly for all tiers when Marketplace is active.
December 23, 2020
Added a few new options to Pitch Deck Slide customization of Key Metrics 2 and 3: Gross Merchandise Values (for Marketplace models) and Global CAC.
"None" option for Pitch Deck Slide now blanks out Key Metric 2 and/or 3. "<auto>" option is now the default that automatically adjusts based on the selected revenue model(s).</auto>
Added dates to all appropriate fields in Assumptions tab (Month X of Year Y) to translate from 1 to 36 moths into easily understandable English.
Adjusted Transaction / Marketplace sales via Channel Partners in Y2 and Y3 of Customers tab line 38 to properly reflect Start Month for Seller Acquisition by Partners from line 678 of Assumptions tab
Cleaned up Marketplace language around Buyers, Sellers, and Listings vs. Transactions on Assumptions and Customers tabs.
Avg Transaction Amount in Cost of Sales for Transactions section of Assumptions tab now shows correct amounts when Marketplace model is active for all 3 tiers.
Adjusted CAC Spend if You're Only Using Top-Down Sales Targets in line 13 of Customers tab to turn itself off when Bottom-Up Sales are activated.
Adjusted Transactions Key Metric in Pitch Deck Slide to display Marketplace transactions regardless of whether Buyers or Sellers are paying the transaction fees.
Moved Website Traffic Assumptions into its own section on the Assumptions Tab.
Updated Use of Funds tab to automatically use # of months to break-even reported at top of Financing Tab.
Added option to Use of Funds tab to Break Out Salaries Separately or not.
November 22, 2020
PUBLISHED NOV 22, 2020
Adjusted three tiers to reflect retail price rather than GMV in quick margin calculations in Unit COGS section of Assumptions tab.
November 19, 2020
PUBLISHED NOV 19, 2020
Adjusted Website customer calculator in Bottom-Up Sales Funnels section of Assumptions tab to properly reflect Website conversion ratio.
November 17, 2020 // PUBLISHED NOV 17, 2020
Adjusted Payment Processing Costs in Unit Economics for Transactions in Dashboard tab to gracefully handle instances where # of Transactions = zero.
Adjusted Payment Processing Costs in Unit Economics for Transactions in Dashboard tab to automatically gray out when Payment Processing Costs = zero for all three years.
Adjusted Lifetime Revenue per Customer for Unit Economics for both Transactions and Units to properly reflect the # of Purchases over an average customer's lifetime.
November 9, 2020 // PUBLISHED NOV 10, 2020
Fixed issue where Operating Expenses line of Pitch Deck Slide could show negative numbers under certain circumstances.
Added Advanced Settings for App Store section to Assumptions tab so you can now apply App Store commissions to specific biz models (Transactions, Units, and / or Subscriptions)
Units biz model now incorporates "Avg # of Units Purchased per Retail Transaction" from Assumptions tab into inventory planning for each Tier.
Updated Implied Acquisition Value section of Financing tab to let you choose between EBITDA and Revenue when entering a multiple to calculate exit price.
Adjusted Exit Multiple and IRR calculations section in Financing tab to only use cash flow (vs. EBITDA in previous version).
Added hidden year 4 and year 5 columns to FInancing tab to evaluate Acquisition Value and Exit Multiple for those years.
Consolidated Exit Multiple & IRR Calculation into one section with checkbox to include / exclude Acquisition Value.
Subsections of "Step 2: Using Primary Biz Model(s) as Source of Sales for Other Biz Model(s)" section of Assumptions tab now gray out properly depending on which biz models are active.
November 6, 2020
Fixed issue where Operating Expenses line of Pitch Deck Slide could show negative numbers under certain circumstances.
Fixed issue where entering zero for CPC or CVR would cause #DIV errors.
Added Global CAC section to Dashboard tab.
Updated Transactions and Units pricing sections of Assumptions tab to reflect global CAC.
Updated Subscription Per Customer Unit Economics calculations in Assumptions Tab to reflect global CAC.
Fixed issue where Quick Ratio in Dashboard tab would occasionally display giant numbers.
November 5, 2020
Key Metric #2 of Pitch Deck Slide no longer displays FALSE under certain circumstances.
Credit card charges can now be assigned to COGS—only if 1) the box is checked and 2) % of sales with credit card fees is set to 100% for all 3 years.
Added legal disclaimer to Navigation tab.
Added more how-to videos to the Assumptions tab (Ad & Data biz model, Marketplace biz model, virtual COGS, physical COGS, and one-time & annual OpEx)
Gave Website traffic it's own home in the Assumptions tab that's separate from whether the Website drives sales (because website traffic now also drives Marketplace and Ads / Data biz models).
Gave Website sales their own 3-year CVC settings that are now separate from Paid Ads 3-year CVR settings.
November 3, 2020
Marketplace tiers now gray out for years before they become active.
November 2, 2020
Direct Sales Commissions are now calculated as a positive number on the income statement.
Subscription revenue recognized from Direct Sales now properly account for tier 2 and tier 3 Subscriptions in all instances.
October 29, 2020
Transactions are now displayed correctly in Pitch Deck Slide for all combinations of Marketplace biz model settings.
Adjusted calculation of Accounts Receivable for Subscriptions to no longer include Deferred Revenue.
Rebuilt the way that the Cash Flow Statement handles Accounts Payable so that rent and salaries are always paid in the month they're due vs. other expenses for which payment can be delayed.
October 27, 2020
Added line for Ad & Data Sales + Hourly Billing to hidden breakout of Revenue detail.
Adjusted how total revenue is calculated on the Income Statement in order to better reflect all revenue streams.
October 26, 2020
Updated Cash Flow Statement to properly account for new employee furniture / computer purchases in Year 1.
October 23, 2020
Updated Transactions business model to properly handle repeat customers when Transactions is not the primary business model.
Updated Units business model to properly handle repeat customers when Units is not the primary business model.
October 22, 2020
Updated Hiring tab to allow discounted salaries for a certain # of starting months (an improvement from previous all-or-nothing functionality).
Adjusted green indicators in Hiring Tab column D to preform better when either column B or C is deleted (vs. set to zero).
Adjusted Transactions line in Pitch Deck Slide to better handle Buyers driving transactions in a Marketplace business model.
Added Fulfillment and Distribution to G&A section of Operating Expenses.
October 21, 2020
Updated Pitch Deck Slide to better handle customized names of Buyers and Sellers in Key Metrics for Marketplace business model.
Updated Pitch Deck Slide to properly credit cash flow for Batched (pre-paid) inventory vs. Just In Time / Drop Shipped inventory (added a new section on the Cash Flow Statement to track this).
October 20, 2020
Updated NPV calculation in Financing tab to reflect cash flows instead of simply EBITDA.
Updated the Change in Work in Progress Inventory on the Cash Flow Statement to reference the correct cells on the Income Statement.
Updated Transactions section starting in row 4 of Cash Flow Statement to properly reflect cash in from Top Down Sales Targets.
Updated Units section starting in row 44 of Cash Flow Statement to properly reflect cash in from Top Down Sales Targets.
October 19, 2020
Updated Customers tab to turn off appropriate inputs when Bottom Up Sales is disabled.
Updated Marketing Spend on Channel Partners per Month line 297 of Income Statement to more accurately reflect settings in Assumptions tab.
Updated Retail & Wholesale Margin calculations for Tier 2 Units on Assumptions tab to reflect the proper COGS.
Updating hiring spend (desk + computer) to properly calculate per-hire spend in Year 1.
Updated Paid Ad spend to properly calculate in situations where start month was greater than 12.
October 16, 2020
Added Fulfillment Expenses to Assumptions tab, with calculations added to Customers and Income Statement tabs (Amazon & Other / Shopify)
Moved Credit Card Expenses into Selling Expenses on Assumptions tab and Income Statement
October 13, 2020
Adjusted available Buyer calculations in Marketplace model to more accurately reflect churned Buyers.
Adjusted Marketplace Transactions from Buyers to properly reflect # of newly onboarded Buyers each month in situations where Buyers are driving Marketplace transactions.
October 8, 2020
Marketplace now supports flat fee per transaction (in addition to % fee per transaction).
Adjusted line 22 of Pitch Deck Slide to properly display revenue from Marketplace transactions.
Deleted 5 hidden sheets for older versions of Pitch Deck Slides.
Hidden revenue detail on Pitch Deck Slide now dynamically adapts when Marketplace is active.
Adjusted Cash Flow Statement to properly account for Marketplace fees.
October 7, 2020
You can now choose whether Sellers or Buyers drive the transactions in your Marketplace, which can make a big difference in the number of transactions.
Made the Pitch Deck Slide more resilient so you can now change the names of the Key Metrics in cells C4, C14, and C16.
Adjusted Revenue Growth % calc in Y4 and Y5 of Pitch Deck Slide to properly refer to Revenue line.
Adjusted 2nd and 3rd Key Metrics for Y4 and Y5 in Pitch Deck Slide to automatically disappear if one or both isn't being used.
Adjusted Start Month for Marketplace to solve a potential error in some situations where the Transactions business model was disabled.
Adjusted Pitch Deck Slide to properly count Buyers, Sellers, and Transactions for Marketplace configurations.
Adjusted "Active Sellers - Tier 2 & 3 (Incl. Newly Onboarded)" line 594 and 595 of Customers tab to properly include newly onboarded Sellers.
Adjusted "Monthly Budget to Acquire Buyers" line 606 of Customers tab to properly reflect Y2 and Y3 budget set in line 285 of Assumptions tab.
Adjusted "Total Revenue Recognized" line 86 of Income Statement to include Marketplace revenue under all circumstances.
October 5, 2020
Adjusted Navigation tab to include Top Down Paid Ads to Close Gap for summaries of all three business models.
Set MKT_Active to also include if Transactions business model is active.
Added "Inventory - Work in Progress" to Balance Sheet to better capture manufacturing batches that have been started but not completed.
Updated "Change in Inventory (COGS)" line 130 of Cash Flow Statement to include new "Inventory - Work in Progress" subtotal.
Updated "Cash at Start of Period*" line 52 of Pitch Deck Slide to properly reflect starting cash for Q2, Q3, and Q4.
October 1, 2020
First version of Marketplace functionality! You can turn Marketplace on / off inside of the Transactions business model.
Updated Cash Flow Statement to reflect Change in Accounts Receivable across new Marketplace and Ad / Data income streams.
Added small green lights to Hiring Tab to show if each position has been hired at some point in 3 years—makes it easier to read at a glance.
Updated Pitch Deck Slide to label Year 4 and Year 5 to match Years 1, 2, and 3.
Added Sellers and Buyers as optional key metrics on Pitch Deck Slide to support the new Marketplace functionality.
September 29, 2020
Updated Customers tab to properly reflect Y2 and y3 "Ad Spend per Month" from Assumptions tab.
Updated Navigation tab to point to the new Pitch Deck Slide.
Naming Transactions & Units now handle plurals for words that end in "y".
September 21, 2020
Added credit card per-transaction flat fee to Assumptions tab, to handle 30 cents + 2.7%. Also created new "# of Purchases Counter" section in Customers tab to add up all transactions per month.
Updated "Trials from Ads to Close Gap" in hidden section of Pitch Deck Slide to properly reflect annual totals.
Added ability to decide whether 1) new + existing customers or 2) only new customers drive secondary business models. This can have a large effect on # of sales fo rthose secondary business models.
September 15, 2020
Updated Pitch Deck Slide to better handle blank entries for Key Metric #2 and Key Metric #3
Assumptions tab now grays out sections for years that aren't relevant—in order to declutter and make things easier for users to understand.
September 14, 2020
Consolidated Pitch Deck Slide into one tab (it used to be six separate tabs)
Pitch Deck Slide now automatically customizes itself based on the business models you choose.
Pitch Deck Slide now has an option to override key metric #2 and key metric #3 to your choice.
Pitch Deck Slide now offers year 4 and year 5 with adjustable growth rates via a hidden group along the top.
Adjusted returns and allowances to properly reflect Tier 2 and Tier 3 as negative numbers in Customers tab, Income Statement, and Pitch Deck Slide.
September 3, 2020
Added "Ads / Data Revenue" to Assumptions tab, so you can now monetize both your customers and your website visitors. Also updated Income Statement and Cash Flow Statement accordingly.
Updated Cash Flow Statement to better reflect accounts payable for monthly and annual subscriptions. Also updated Customers tab to support.
September 2, 2020
Updated Unit COGS to better handle zero-month lead times and 0-month batching (same as selecting Just-In-Time or Dropship options for Unit COGS).
Added "Skip Sales Quota" to Hiring Plan Column G which allows you to exclude certain sales people from selling the quota (to more accurately model complex sales teams).
Added "Free Months at Start" to Hiring Plan for founders and other early employees who will work for free for an initial period.
Updated Basic Salary Subtotals section in Hiring Tab to accurately reflect total salaries in four categories: COGS, S&M, R&D, and G&A.
August 21, 2020
Added starting cash in bank to total invested before this model starts in Financing Tab
Updated exit multiple on Financing Tab
August 17, 2020
Upgraded Top Down Sales Targets to better handle repeat customers
Updated Investment & Financing* line in all Pitch Deck Slides to not include loan payments (cash out)
August 2, 2020
Updated Units assumptions to reflect Avg # of Units Purchased per Retail Transaction for each tier
Updated Units assumptions to reflect Y2 and Y3 discounts for Tier 2 and Tier 3
Avg # of Months to Repeat Purchase must now be set between 1 and 37 months (setting it to zero months would create an infinite loop)
Repeats now feed back into the # of customers from which to calculate future repeat sales, since existing repeats are most likely to repeat again
July 24, 2020
Published a major upgrade with intelligence to automatically map out your sales and revenue plan via Top-Down Targets
You can also map out a Bottom-Up Sales Strategy to achieve your Top-Down Targets, and you can close any gap with Paid Ads.
July 23, 2020
Upgraded return calculations for Units
Adjusted renewal period for annual subscriptions by one month in "Churn for Subscriptions" section of Customers tab
Adjusted trial to subscription conversions from Direct Sales and Channel Partners by one month in "New Subs Channel Partner Commissions & Cash Flow Calc" section of Customers tab
Moved previous cash invested by founders into Financing tab (from Assumptions tab)
July 20, 2020
Disabling Tier 3 Units now grays out both buinsess model and COGS assumptions
Fixed inventory prediction engine for manufacturing batches that start after month 1
Activating human override now grays out inventory prediction engine for all three tiers of Units.
July 16, 2020
Base Case, Best Case, and Worst Case scenarios in Dashboard tab now handle zero revenue years more gracefully.
Updated the way the Assumptions tab calculates CAC for subscriptions without trials.
Updated the way Office Build-Out in CapEx flows through to the Cash Flow Statement.
Updated Sheet Protection of Changelog tab so that people can delete it if they want.
July 14, 2020
Fixed % of new customers allocated across 3 tiers for Services, Units, and Subscriptions business models.
July 13, 2020
Moved hourly billing FTEs to bottom of Hiring Plan tab to reduce confusion.
Added bottom-up sales funnel in Assumptions tab (which is calculate in Customer tab)
Made Hiring Plan tab more resilient when adding and removing rows
Hiring Plan tab now alerts with red box when Cost Type isn't present in Column H, which often happen when people create new rows in the Hiring Plan tab.
Removed unused Range Names from Hiring Plan tab
Fixed annualized revenue per employee calculation in Hiring Plan tab
Assumptions tab now lets you assign one-time purchase of computer and furniture for new hires to either OpEx (default) or CapEx
July 10, 2020
Fixed the formatting of the Assumptions tab including moving notes out of input boxes and greying out sections as they are disabled.
Added Waitlist funnel # of sales + revenue to all 6 pitch deck slides
Set all waitlists to zero for all tiers of all 3 business models