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Tips for setting assumptions

  • Use historical data as a starting point. Even when times are changing quickly, information about past performance can establish a base from which to begin.
  • Trust your own experience. Make educated guesses about what is likely to happen in the future.
  • Listen to your intuition. Even though you can't verify those gut feelings, you can take them into account.
  • Do due diligence. Go out and get the information you need. This may involve doing research, reading trade journals, collecting industry statistics, and so on. And don't forget that the Internet is a growing information resource.
  • Talk with and listen to knowledgeable people. Discuss your ideas with team members, colleagues, mentors. Seek out industry participants, suppliers, concerned community leaders, and experts in the field. Engage in discussions with competitors.
  • Learn when to be a risk-taker and when to be conservative. In a volatile market, conservative assumptions may be the safest.
  • Test your assumptions. If possible, try out your assumptions in small experiments before you accept them

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