"I only have a small business, I don't need a budget."
"I don't have enough money to budget."
For many small business owners, the word "budget" is something for the bigger company - maybe they'll have one when their business "grows up."
What is a Budget?
(estimated )Sales minus (estimated) Expenses = Profit (or loss)
How to create a Budget
How much does it take to operate your phone line? What is the cost of other utilities? How about the cost of a company vehicle, or what is the cost of transportation if you're using your personal vehicle to also serve as a company vehicle. Do you need any supplies or inventory to operate your business? How about any employee payroll, payroll taxes or independent product or service providers? Remember to include everything you spend money on to operate your business even if you allocate some of the expenses to "petty cash" expenses, such as parking or bridge tolls while traveling to see clients.
I recommend that you create annual budget, as opposed to a monthly budget, so you can identify any expenses that you may have that come up only once or twice a year such as insurance and include them in your list of expenses. This allows you to amortize or spread the cost of this out over several months so that you can plan ahead for the expense.
As you work on your list of expenses keep in mind that these are the expenses that are necessary to operate your business. These should not be your "wish list" unless you want to budget in some expansion or growth. You may want to create a budget with just the necessities and another version of your budget with expansion expenses listed so that you can see the cost of both separately.
With a dollar figure to work with of your total expenses you are able to set the standard for or evaluate your sales figures. If you are new to your business you may need to use the dollar amount of your expenses to help you determine what your sales need to be in order to cover all costs and show a profit. If you have been in business for a while you can evaluate whether or not you are producing a profit by looking at historical sales figures.
As you conduct business during your budget year you should compare your actual income and spending with what you estimated. This will allow you to manage your spending so that you don't over spend and cut into or eliminate your profits. You will also be able to see if sales have met expectations in order to cover expenses and still remain profitable.
Who should Budget?
The Goal in Budgeting
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