Just starting a business? Feeling overwhelmed? Read straight up professional advice for first timers in the business world.  Too many organisations assume a great deal of pre-existing knowledge. Let’s do away with bravado and start at the beginning with a comprehensive review of what you really need to know.

We continue our exploration into ‘Know your numbers’ with some solid advice on budgeting for small business.

As we continue our deep dive into the fabulous world of numbers, we will explore specific topics that resonate with new business owners like you who are only just starting out on their business journey as well as those living in more mature businesses.

Following on from my recent article, Know Your Numbers, we continue to slice through the thick, sticky jungle of numbers which any first time business owner will encounter. Brace yourself, because budgets are up next – the undeniable backbone of your company’s finances.

Get this bit wrong and you are in a world of hurt. Nail it, however, and the sweet fruits of success are yours for the plucking. Don’t fret though, budgets are your friend!

Budgets are your friend!

First and foremost, the main point of discussion is that of aligning your Business plan with your Financial Budget. Budgets should be your friend – as with any friend you need to maintain that relationship by continuously checking in. You should also make a point of chatting to your bookkeeper or financial advisor about changes and options, these people inhabit this world, they are natives who work with budgets and financial plans all day, so use them wisely. Set goals to track your revenue, expenses and cash flow to ensure your journey to success is moving forward.

How many of us excitingly start the beginning of each financial year with a bright and shiny intention to live to a budget, whether that is a personal spending budget or a plan to track your business revenue and spending? New Year’s resolutions ring a bell…

While it’s natural to lose focus and to not engage regularly or revisit our budget, it is utterly essential that we do return for continual assessment to track our finances. A budget is like a garden, you need to maintain it.

This is perhaps the most important point, review and revisit regularly.

What Does My Budget Look Like?

Budgets are made up of expected revenue or sales, less a listing of fixed costs, less a listing of variable costs; resulting in the expectation of net profit.

We list our potential earnings – Business revenue: sales of good or services, corporate wages, perhaps dividends, interest and rental income. Then we focus on the ‘leakages’ commonly known as expenditure.

Expenses are outgoings – rent, lease repayments, interest paid on credit cards, stationery, product supplies, technology, accounting fees etc…

Hints on budget management

  • More mature businesses should include actual figures in their budget, however if your business is in its infancy you will need to use expected figures or estimates.
  • Learn to change your behaviour based on frequent budget review.
  • Buffer your plan with a 10 – 15% increase – this will cater for those sneaky unexpected spends that were not in the brochure.
  • Reflect and review – often.
  • Pivot and change – often (see a pattern?).
  • Automate – use cloud technologies like Reckon One to access easy dashboards for visual 24/7 net position and drill down for detail all from the front screen.
  • Use Budgets to collaborate with your Trusted Advisor.
  • Ensure to factor upcoming large purchase of inventory or planned expansion, technology change over every 3 years.
  • Track your Budgeted figures against Actual – as a minimum review month by month or in line with the lodgement of your business BAS.
  • Know where your dollars are going and when they are hitting the bank account.
  • The financial health of your business is of great interest to your investors, partnership, trusted advisors and of course yourself. Invest in the ground work to ensure visibility to your key stakeholders.
  • A true budget will be essential in your growth to securing funding from potential investors, interested parties and even financial institutions.
  • Live for a Budget – visibility into your finances are core to the viability of your new business.

Modern cloud accounting platforms supply a fantastic dashboard with drill down, real time business information for you to explore as a graph or financial report.

This information can be shared via the cloud to your trusted advisor, for easy budget and forecasting options.

These tips will be explored in depth throughout the 2017 Business school series, together with a further deep dive into the details of real world small business success. You know, the good stuff.

My hot tip

Until the next blog ensure you say YES to all the amazing opportunities that are presented to you. Learn to listen and absorb from others,  you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, someone already did it for you…