Although business forward planning itself has no formal definition, it can best be defined as the process of making plans to consider what is likely to happen or be needed in the future. Simply put, business forward planning is making plans for the future in the context of a business. There is no generic or specific way of planning that qualifies as being forward planning either, it covers a broad range of planning types. This could involve forward financial planning as a way of preparing budgets for the upcoming financial year. Alternatively, it could involve the planning required to determine what the strategic future of the business might look like.
However, all business forward planning has one thing in common. It involves planning for uncertainty. Some see this as a Sisyphean task, usually a result of their history of neglecting plans soon after making them, or simply due to their lack of a crystal ball. For others, planning is seen as a necessary burden that saves both time and money in the long-term. In reality, the benefits associated with planning far outweigh any perceived inconveniences.
The large number of unknown possibilities and outcomes also mean that future-based planning is essentially assumption-based planning. This being because it's largely based on assumptions that what has happened in historical data and personal experiences will continue to happen. Of which, there is no guarantee that these trends will always continue to reoccur, which is why not all predicted outcomes can be necessarily assured.