How many times have you heard that you need to know how to budget as an entrepreneur? If you are honest, the answer is probably many or too many. Budgeting can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you don’t use it regularly and haven’t had good examples to follow. You don’t need to feel lost in the woods; budgeting can be easy when you know what it means and your options. How to Effectively Budget as a Business
Tips for Effective Budgets
Figuring out how much money you have available and how much you can spend isn’t easy, but having a clear budget gives you structure in your company. The best way to set up an adequate budget is by dividing expenses into fixed and variable categories.
Fixed expenses are costs that stay consistent month-to-month, such as rent or loan payments.
Variable expenses, such as utilities or food costs, fluctuate from month to month.
Combining those two types of expenses gives you a specific expense number that defines your overall financial picture for your business. If you keep track of both, it’s easier to make short-term decisions about spending versus saving—and it makes long-term planning a lot easier too.
Things To Consider When Building Your Budget
Before building your business budget, consider these important points:
What will your monthly operating expenses be?
What about short-term investments and unforeseen costs?
To ensure that you’re operating on realistic numbers, it’s wise to create an estimate for all of these figures based on historical data. One way to do so is by creating a summary from your prior financial reports (e.g., invoices or payment summaries). Then, when deciding on startup costs or other estimates in your business plan, you can consider what you’ve learned here.
Set aside enough funds to cover taxes, fees, and other expenditures associated with starting up your business. Suppose you don’t have enough money at launch time to cover both fixed and variable costs over several months. In that case, you may need additional financing.
Additionally, make sure you have funds available for any one-time events that might occur during those months. Such as unexpected repairs or marketing efforts that could disrupt your regular cash flow.
Preparing For The Future
The most successful companies don’t just look at their immediate needs—they also think about how those needs will change in three months, six months, and twelve months. No one’s future is entirely predictable, but that doesn’t mean we should throw caution to the wind.
Start by having your financial team estimate for next year and beyond. The general business plan should address anticipated profits over three and five years. Your short-term goals along with your long-term ones.
Look at what your company needs now and estimate revenue growth. For example, if you need more storage space now, include expansion plans in your budgeting process. This will help keep you from making rash decisions later on down the line when there’s not enough room to accommodate new hires or an influx of data.
Saving Money And Avoiding Overhead
It’s not just individuals who need to budget; businesses do, too. Any company needs to make sure it has enough cash on hand and isn’t spending too much without figuring out how long its funds will last. Some companies go overboard with their budgeting; you don’t want to see your business account balance dip too low or worse—go negative—and have a hard time paying employee salaries and other expenses.
Take some time at least once per month (ideally more often) and review your monthly income against what is being spent. Run detailed reports on which departments are spending money frivolously, if necessary. If certain areas can be cut back to save money, take steps to do so. You might also consider hiring an accountant or another financial advisor who can help you better manage your finances and avoid overspending.
Tips For Managing A Team Of People
You don’t need an MBA to become great at managing people. Many entrepreneurs are successful because they have good people skills—and that’s why they became entrepreneurs in the first place. But whatever your background, you can benefit from studying how to run a business.
Here are some of my favorite reads
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey;
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap…
- And Others Don’t by Jim Collins;
- The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey:
- A Guide To Winning Friends And Influencing People At Work by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.
They’re all quick reads and offer valuable insights into managing people effectively.