What If Analysis

What If Analysis

What If Analysis Jonathan Poland

What-if analysis is the process of considering and evaluating hypothetical outcomes. It is a common technique used in early stage strategy and planning, and has many specialized applications in fields such as marketing and risk management. By exploring different potential scenarios and outcomes, organizations can make more informed decisions and prepare for a wide range of potential outcomes. Examples of what-if analysis include simulating the effects of different marketing strategies, forecasting the potential risks of a new business venture, and evaluating the potential impacts of different policy decisions.

Data Analysis
What-if analysis is a common data analysis technique that involves exploring the potential impact of different hypothetical values. This can be a useful tool for making informed decisions and planning for potential outcomes. Many spreadsheet software programs have built-in features to facilitate what-if analysis, and it is good practice to capture and document the results of these analyses as an artifact. By capturing and reviewing the results of what-if analyses, organizations can gain valuable insights and better prepare for a wide range of potential scenarios.

Goal Seek
Goal seek is a feature of many spreadsheet programs that allows users to work backwards to determine what input value would produce a desired result. This can be useful for solving complex problems or making informed decisions. For example, using goal seek, you could determine what conversion rate would be needed to achieve $10,000,000 in revenue for a given number of visitors and unit cost. It should be noted, that planning backwards from your end-goal is a classic mistake of strategy and planning whereby you target numbers that fit your goals as opposed to those that are realistic.

Scenario Analysis
Scenario analysis is the process of modeling and evaluating potential future outcomes. This typically involves brainstorming and reverse brainstorming to generate a range of potential scenarios, followed by estimates of their probability and potential impact. For example, a safety risk analysis on a construction site might involve considering the likelihood and potential consequences of different types of accidents or incidents.

Business Experiments
While what-if data analysis often involves working with hypothetical numbers, a more concrete approach is to conduct experiments in the real world to generate concrete data. For example, an organization might test different marketing offers to determine which ones have the highest conversion rates. By conducting experiments and gathering real-world data, organizations can gain a more accurate understanding of the potential impacts of their decisions and actions. This can help inform future decision-making and improve overall performance.

Learn More
Examples of Consumer Goods Jonathan Poland

Examples of Consumer Goods

Consumer goods are physical products that are purchased by individuals for their own personal use. These goods are typically tangible,…

The World’s Biggest Customer 150 150 Jonathan Poland

The World’s Biggest Customer

the U.S. government is the world’s biggest customer, spending over $6 trillion annually on goods and services. Here are some…

Procurement Jonathan Poland


Procurement is the process of acquiring goods or services from external vendors or suppliers. It is an essential part of…

Boss Archetypes Jonathan Poland

Boss Archetypes

A boss is a person who manages and oversees the work of an organization, department, or team. The term “boss”…

Process Improvement Jonathan Poland

Process Improvement

Process improvement is a systematic approach to identifying and implementing changes to processes within an organization in order to improve…

Market Intelligence Jonathan Poland

Market Intelligence

Market intelligence refers to the process of gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information about a market, competitors, and industry trends in…

Economic Efficiency Jonathan Poland

Economic Efficiency

Economic efficiency refers to the ability of an economy to produce the maximum possible value using its available resources, such…

Perceived Value Jonathan Poland

Perceived Value

Perceived value is the subjective worth that a customer assigns to a product or service based on their own personal…

Organizational Capital Jonathan Poland

Organizational Capital

Organizational capital refers to the intangible assets and resources within an organization that support its operations and enable it to…

Content Database

Search over 1,000 posts on topics across
business, finance, and capital markets.

Innovation 101 Jonathan Poland

Innovation 101

Innovation is the process of creating new ideas, products, or processes that add value to a company. This can be…

What’s a GSA Contract? 150 150 Jonathan Poland

What’s a GSA Contract?

A GSA (General Services Administration) Contract, also known as a GSA Schedule or a Federal Supply Schedule, is a long-term,…

Project Failure Jonathan Poland

Project Failure

A project is considered a failure when it does not meet the expectations of sponsors and other key stakeholders. This…

Cost Leadership Strategy Jonathan Poland

Cost Leadership Strategy

A cost leadership strategy is a business plan that aims to reduce unit costs for a product or service to…

Keep It Super Simple Jonathan Poland

Keep It Super Simple

Keep it Super Simple or Keep it Simple Stupid. The KISS principle is a design guideline that suggests that unnecessary…

The Power of Compound Interest Jonathan Poland

The Power of Compound Interest

Traditional finance will explain compound interest as the interest paid on a loan or deposit calculated based on both the…

Collectables Jonathan Poland


Collectables, also known as collectibles or antiques, are items that are valued for their rarity, historical significance, or aesthetic appeal.…

Brand Concept Jonathan Poland

Brand Concept

A brand concept is the overarching idea or meaning that lies at the heart of a brand. It is the…

Strategic Direction Jonathan Poland

Strategic Direction

Strategic direction refers to the long-term vision and direction of an organization, and it serves as a guiding principle for…