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Business forecasts have the best intentions and can serve as a useful tool for cleaning departments, distributors, and building service contractors (BSCs) when predicting what supplies, staffing needs and budgets should be set for the year ahead. Conducted by industry experts analyzing the information they have at the time, they are made with the best of intentions. The reality, however, is many of them fall flat due to any number of circumstances. 

As it pertains to the cleaning industry, no greater example exists than predictions made at the beginning of 2020. While the pandemic was a massive curveball — and perhaps a harsh example of forecasts being wrong — few were adequately prepared for the massive demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), electrostatic sprayers and more. Still, in other instances, business forecasts can give a significant advantage to cleaning companies and departments — and it's always important to be prepared regardless of what the actual outcome is. 

No perfect blueprint exists, but Harvard Business Review shared strategies for analyzing business forecasts and how to make the most of them.

1. Study multiple forecasts: Even if one forecast has seemingly reliable data, studies indicate that just one judgment (even from an expert) is rarely better than randomly guessing. Studying an aggregate of forecasts and what the overall takeaways are provide a more likely chance of something being accurate — or at least significantly backed. 

2. Analyze underlying variables: Even if different forecasts differ in many regards, there will often be a common trend underlying in the majority of them that can be useful.

3. Look for convergence and divergence in forecasts: The level of convergence or divergence in a forecast often points to how risky it is to follow the information. High convergence forecasts tend to provide a lower ceiling, but a safer trend to bet on. High divergence tends to breed high-risk, high-reward scenarios. 

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