Finances are the biggest challenge businesses face nowadays. Struggling with financial issues is quite common for businesses at the moment, no matter their size. What’s more, financial mistakes have the most devastating consequences, as even a small mistake has the potential to ruin a company entirely. That’s why budgeting is essential for every business owner.
Nevertheless, a budgeting process is much more than just determining a budget for your business development.
It also means financial forecasts, estimates, and developing budgets for every aspect of your business. In other words, planning for both profits and expenses, as well as future investments and unexpected costs. The better you are at handling business finances, the bigger the financial stability of your company. Unfortunately, that’s always easier said than done. Therefore, here are a few ways to master the budgeting process for your business.
Always have a plan
The essence of business budgeting is planning ahead. Most companies estimate their budgets on financial forecasting. In other words, owners leverage historical data and future assumptions to develop a budget for certain business goals. It comes down to estimating assets and liabilities in order to project a budget that will help a company thrive. The fact of the matter remains that planning is the key to every budget.
For example, let’s say you need to develop a sales budget. For developed small businesses, it can mean using past sales data and sales growth expectations to determine the sales budget. However, for startup businesses with no previous sales records, it means comprehensive research of the market, developing customer personas and analyzing competition’s performance. Expectation is the main factor in both of these scenarios, which means you can’t know for sure how your sales will turn out. That’s why planning is crucial; if nothing else, then to have a plan ready if things don’t turn out so well.
Focus on your cash flow
Budgeting becomes increasingly difficult if your cash flow is falling behind. Cash is the most liquid and thus the most important business asset. Without cash, you cannot make immediate payments or urgent investments. That’s why cash should be an integral aspect of every budget you create. Cash flow represents your incomes and expenses. More accurately, the money left after you’ve gained profits and paid your dues.
If there’s more money going out of your business than coming in, your cash flow is negative, and vice versa. That’s why it’s important to develop a cash flow statement and include it into your budgeting process. That way, you can predict the amount of the cash you’ll have at your disposal. This is vital because without cash, there’s no budget. You can’t use the money you don’t have. Understanding your cash flow is a fundamental factor in determining any budget.
Be mindful of the expenses
One of the major expenses businesses face are overhead costs. Overhead costs are expenses you simply have to tend to, but they don’t produce any return on investment like operating costs do. Examples of overhead costs are: rents, taxes, bills, utility, maintenance, legal fees, accounting fees, advertisements, travel costs, and so on and so forth. Most entrepreneurs tend to forget how much of an impact overhead expenses can have on your budget, especially if you don’t include them in the first place.
Even though these costs cannot be avoided, you can, however, reduce them drastically. For example, many startup owners rent an office only to discover that an office isn’t really required yet. Instead of wasting your resources, you can opt for a co-working space. Australia, for instance, has many such spaces available to entrepreneurs, such as this serviced office in Sydney. That solution may be much more affordable than renting an entire office you don’t really need. Whatever you can save on overhead costs means more money for your budget.
Prepare a balance sheet
A balance sheet is a portrayal of your company’s financial health. It’s also crucial for your budgeting process. This document shows your assets, liabilities and equity. When planning a budget, it’s essential that you understand where your company stands financially. That way, you can plan a budget for improvements based on your financial possibilities.
For example, the balance sheet also shows property and equipment your business utilizes. Based on information in the balance sheet, you can develop a budget to replace the old equipment, or decide not to because you still lack proper funds. Simply put, it helps you make more strategic decisions instead of taking a financial risk that may not pay off or that may lead to additional debt.
Budgeting is a demanding process, but it’s also crucial to ensure your company’s financial stability and growth. If you don’t plan your budgets well, you can end up with financial issues that can halt your business development or even lead to crippling debts you can’t get out of so easily.