I’ve had several clients ask me if I could build them a personal budget. I wish I could – but that’s just not my area of expertise! I make bookkeeping EASY for people; I can show you how to pay yourself a salary while paying off your business debt and using cash to pay current and business development expenses. I can tell you how much money you’re business has to spend this month, and how much money you can transfer to your personal bank account. But how you should spend that money? That’s really none of my business.
If only we could avoid the dreaded B-Word. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy! Everybody hates budgets, but we all need one.
Personal Budgets: Reinventing the wheel
You’ve likely heard of money-maven Gail Vaz-Oxlade and her budget binder. Seriously, her spreadsheets ROCK! Why would I bother coming up with my own when she has – bar-none – the best personal financial management plan out there! If you need help with your household budget check out Gail’s Guide to Building a Budget. Bonus, she has links to pre-formated spreadsheets you can download and use to calculate monthly fixed and variable expenses.
Business Budgets: It’s a personal thing
Knowing how much cash you have on hand is very important. Being able to quickly glance and see what you owe, what you have, and where your money went is golden. But when it comes down to what percentage of income will be spent on salaries, product development, advertising, supplies… There’s no easy answer!
The truth is, you have to take a good, hard, look at your business finances. Here are a few things you can do before you start:
- Find ways to minimize your cost AND your cash output on individual expenses.
- Where your money is going – Do you really need 5000 pens with your logo on it?
- Are you managing your business within its means or are you borrowing money every month?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals? Where do you need to focus your resources?
- What is more important to you: acquiring and retaining clients, product development, or daily operations?
Once you’ve looked at these items you need to decide where you will trim costs and how you can improve current processes to save time, save money, and grow your business.
It Pays to Work
There no easy answer, and you do have some hard work ahead of you! But fear not: a better understanding of your personal and business finances is the first step to financial success.