As a business owner, you are highly passionate about what you do and why you do it - that’s why you started a business after all! While the quality of the product you sell or the service you provide is amongst the most important elements of creating a successful business, the factor that is just as important (but maybe less exciting) is your business’ finances. So, we collaborated with financial adviser Victoria Devine, owner of Zella & She’s On The Money (SOTM) to talk about all things business finances. Read on for her top five money management tips.
1. Take time for your finances & know your numbers
Even though you may find them boring, it’s essential to carve out time in your calendar to take stock of your finances. We recommend doing this at least once a month so that you have a really clear understanding of how your business is travelling and avoid burying your head in the sand about any debts or glaring financial issues.
Tip: When you’re taking stock monthly, comb through your spending to see anything that could be pared back or what could be done in a smarter way as well as identify areas that may need a little more love financially (maybe you invested lots in marketing but need to direct more towards customer service?)
2. Budget baby!
This is something we reiterate time and time again when it comes to personal finances and it’s just as important (if not more) when it comes to running a business. If you don’t have a business plan, a budget and an understanding of cash flow then you may have no idea where to pool resources, what you can afford and how the overall financial health of your business is progressing.
A budget is a roadmap that’ll help guide and determine the choices that you make for your business, and it’s probably the most important tip on this list.
How do I create a budget?
To establish your budget, take time to document all of your fixed costs, these could be,
- The rent you might pay for office space
- Equipment that you will need to purchase or hire
- Your salary
- Insurances and/or licenses
Then think about the costs that aren’t as set in stone, such as,
- Your employees’ salaries
- The cost of materials, packaging,
- Utility bills
Once that’s all noted, estimate your income (this can be tricky when you’re starting out but is much easier once you’ve been up and running for a while as you can use past performance as something of an indicator for where you’re heading). Err on the side of conservative instead of overestimating what you think you’ll be earning.
Tip: Set up a time to review your budget (monthly, quarterly, six-monthly) and assess how things are tracking, allowing for changes as and when needed. If you’re feeling flustered, enlist the help of a professional!
3. Separate your business and personal funds
It sounds obvious, but we have seen so many people lumping their funds into one bucket, which not only makes tax time a nightmare, but it also adds confusion around how your business is tracking financially. Be careful, It may fool you into thinking you are smashing it from a personal wealth perspective when the bulk of what you’re looking at is money that should be filtered back into the business.
4. Know your worth
It is so easy to undersell ourselves in all aspects of life, but we need to stop doing it from a business perspective! You may feel inclined to underquote to try and attract business. But if you’re starting a business we have a feeling you’re already extremely good at what you do and there’s a part of you that knows that too - otherwise you wouldn’t be backing yourself to do this!
When quoting, remember that time works very differently in small businesses than how it does when working as an employee in a larger company. When quoting, the hours you estimate need to encompass more than just cost for the work, but also for admin, marketing, travel, accounting and so on. The other thing to remember is that the price you quote initially is the price customers will come to expect and if you do ever decide to increase your prices clients may walk away as they assess your worth only as what you sold it as originally.
5. If it’s all too much, outsource!
Some of us are just not wired to be financially savvy and while it’s important to have a base knowledge of your business’s financial performance if the intricacies just aren’t for you then hire someone to do the job for you! You likely have a lot on your plate when it comes to the operational and client-facing side of the business, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, invest in hiring someone to look after the books so you can rest easy knowing your finances are on track and moving in the right direction.
Looking to start a business? Square can help. Read Aussie business stories and find more handy tips and tricks on Townsquare.