Small Business Glossary

Business Assumptions

Business Assumptions are estimates about future business conditions and performance drivers used as inputs to financial projections and models.

In the world of business, assumptions are the bedrock upon which strategies and decisions are built. They provide a framework for understanding the current landscape, predicting future trends, and making informed choices. However, they can also be a source of risk if not managed correctly. In this exploration, we delve into the nature of business assumptions, their importance, and how to handle them effectively.

The Nature of Business Assumptions

Business assumptions are essentially beliefs or notions that a business holds about its environment, market, customers, and more. These assumptions are often unproven at the outset, but they are accepted as truth to enable the business to move forward. They form the basis of business plans, strategies, and operational models.

These assumptions can be about anything that affects the business. They might concern customer behaviour, market trends, the impact of new technologies, or the effectiveness of a marketing strategy. They can also be about the internal operations of the business, such as employee productivity or the cost-effectiveness of certain processes.

Implicit and Explicit Assumptions

Business assumptions can be categorised into two types: implicit and explicit. Implicit assumptions are those that are not stated outright but are nonetheless present in the way the business operates. For example, a business might operate on the implicit assumption that its customers value quality over price.

Explicit assumptions, on the other hand, are those that are clearly stated and documented. These are often found in business plans and strategy documents. For example, a business might explicitly state that it assumes a certain growth rate in its target market over the next five years.

The Importance of Business Assumptions

Business assumptions are crucial for several reasons. Firstly, they provide a basis for strategic planning and decision-making. By making assumptions about the future, businesses can plan ahead and prepare for different scenarios.

Secondly, assumptions help to simplify complex business environments. By making certain assumptions, businesses can focus on what they believe to be the most important factors, rather than trying to consider every possible variable.

Assumptions and Risk Management

Business assumptions also play a key role in risk management. By identifying and challenging their assumptions, businesses can uncover potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. For example, if a business assumes that its suppliers will always deliver on time, this could be a potential risk if the suppliers fail to meet their commitments.

On the other hand, assumptions can also lead to missed opportunities. If a business assumes that a certain market is not worth pursuing, it may miss out on potential profits. Therefore, it's important for businesses to regularly review and challenge their assumptions.

Managing Business Assumptions

Given the importance of business assumptions, it's crucial that they are managed effectively. This involves regularly reviewing and challenging assumptions, as well as updating them as new information becomes available.

One effective way to manage assumptions is through scenario planning. This involves creating different scenarios based on different assumptions and seeing how the business would fare in each one. This can help businesses prepare for a range of possible outcomes and identify any potential risks or opportunities.

Challenging Assumptions

Challenging assumptions is another key aspect of assumption management. This involves questioning the validity of assumptions and seeking evidence to support or refute them. By doing this, businesses can ensure that their assumptions are based on solid evidence and are not just wishful thinking.

Challenging assumptions can also lead to innovative thinking and new ideas. By questioning the status quo, businesses can uncover new ways of doing things and identify opportunities that they might have otherwise overlooked.


In conclusion, business assumptions are a fundamental part of strategic planning and decision-making. However, they can also be a source of risk if not managed correctly. Therefore, it's crucial for businesses to regularly review, challenge, and update their assumptions to ensure they remain relevant and accurate.

By doing so, businesses can not only mitigate risks but also seize new opportunities, leading to greater success and growth. So, let's challenge our assumptions, question the status quo, and strive for continuous improvement in our business endeavours.

Why waste time on financial admin when Thriday can do it for you?

Already have an account? Login here
Thriday Debit Card