Budgeting that Boosts your Small Business
In our recent #FinanceFridays, we’ve been looking a lot at you as the entrepreneur, such as avoiding burnout. This month we’re going to get to grips with budgeting so that your small business doesn’t burnout.
We have a powerful story of getting out of debt by one of our guests, aimed at your personal budgeting processes, too.
The middle of the year is the ideal time to make sure you’re either catching up with your budget or reviewing your budget up until now.
So, without further ado, bring on the budget!
Table of Contents
Week 1: The Why & How of Budgeting
Have you ever caught yourself saying things like “In hindsight, I should’ve…” or “I wish I knew this was gonna happen so that I could’ve planned for this”? We would love to see into the future so that we can prepare for the “un-prepareable”. Well, we have one way that you can. It’s called budgeting.
Budgeting requires looking so far ahead that one could call a budget “a planned outcome of the future.”
Because when we build a budget we’re able to understand the bigger picture and prepare ourselves for any business challenges that could turn up.
What is a budget?
A budget is essentially a plan of our finances. It is used to estimate a company’s revenue and expenses for an upcoming time period, usually for the year ahead. It helps to control your:
- funding of current commitments
- financial decisions
- meeting your objectives
- money for future projects.
A budget needs to be detailed and realistic. You simply need to work out what you are likely to earn and spend, and leave nothing out. It is so important to take into consideration both short-term AND long-term plans.
And remember that a budget is subject to change. It can be reviewed monthly or quarterly and adjusted according to your business’ needs.
Why do I need a budget?
Structured planning can make all the difference to the growth of your business. It will enable you to concentrate resources on improving profits, reducing costs and increasing returns on investment. Budgeting is the most effective way to control your cashflow. Which allows you to invest in new opportunities at the appropriate time. Budgets are a vital tool in ensuring that you stay in control of your expenditure.
Your budget can serve as a(n):
- indicator of the costs and revenues linked to each of your activities
- way of providing information and supporting management decisions throughout the year
- means of monitoring and controlling your business, particularly if you analyse the differences between your actual and budgeted income
For small businesses, unrealistic or poorly managed budgets can force you to close your doors.
Benefits of Budgeting
Budgets can help prepare you for so many things and help relieve future stress or even burnout. It has a number of benefits beyond just managing money effectively, such as:
- Seeing ahead of time what resources you may need for certain projects.
- Showing how your business has been performing (why reviewing monthly/quarterly is important) and therefore, allow you to make the necessary adjustments to prevent future financial problems. Or, if you’re performing well, make the necessary adjustments to grow the business.
- Forming a plan to meet objectives.
- Improving decision-making. We all know that in order to make decisions about any facet of the business, we have to know how much money is allocated to that item.
- Increasing staff motivation.
- Attracting investors. If a business wants to attract investors in the business, those investors won’t put their money into the business unless they can see a budget.
- Obtaining debt financing. If a small business tries to obtain debt financing from a bank or other financial institution, it must produce a budget to show potential lenders.
- Tax preparation: A business budget assists in the preparation of income, sales, and payroll taxes.
What are the effects on productivity & profitability?
Business profitability depends on future projections of income and expenditure. A budget helps us project the expenses and revenue for the future, as well as take corrective action where required.
We can use our budget to maximize profit margins and ensure that our profit margins aren’t in danger. We will be able to make future projections concerning expenses and the funds that need to be earmarked for the future. It keeps an eye on our expenses and identifies areas where capital infusion will yield higher returns. So, we use budgets to reduce expenses or increase income.
There are costs associated with the plans and tasks you set for your business. When you don’t consider those costs up front, you set yourself up for a conflict. If you don’t at the same time budget for the cost of each plan and determine how those costs line up, you don’t get a clear picture of how quickly the expenses will add up or how quickly your bank accounts will get depleted. Being realistic about the costs of all your great plans can, in the beginning, put a damper on how you feel about the upcoming year.
However, as you add budgeting to your planning process on an ongoing basis, you will discover a balance between productivity and money that fits you and your tolerance for financial risks. This balance will give you a sense of financial security so you can take calculated risks, grow your business, and have the impact you want.
How to budget
Begin by asking these three questions:
What are the:
- Projected sales for the budget period?
- Direct costs of sales? To produce the product, advertise, market?
- Fixed costs or overheads? You should break down the fixed costs and overheads by type.
If your business has been running for a while, you can use last year’s figures as a guide to help estimate expenses and costs for the year ahead.
Your budget will need to include:
- Projected cash flow
Changing your planning process to include a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some suggested steps:
- How much of your current savings are you willing to spend to put all of your plans into action?
- What is your tolerance for financial risk: How much debt are you willing to incur to put your plans into action? (This number is the total for all of your plans.)
- How much of your monthly cash flow can you put towards your projects (if you have positive cash flow).
- Follow your regular planning process at the annual and quarterly levels.
- For each project, estimate how much money is needed to complete it.
- Compare the cost of completing each project with the numbers from steps 1–3. Your total project costs should not exceed the total of these numbers.
- Adjust the size and timing of your projects so that costs are reduced or spread out and you can stay below the spending and debt limits you’ve set for yourself.
- Convert your projects into task lists that move your projects forward at a pace that fits within the limits you have set.
Remember the following for the brillace of budgeting...
- Add in how much you need to pay yourself, and include an allowance for tax.
- Set aside time for budgeting. Keep in mind the times that you will be reviewing your budget. Set up a budgeting appointment with yourself monthly or quarterly.
- Your budget needs to be realistic. Don’t underestimate the cost of things, and keep in mind updates/upgrades that your business might need
- Involve the right people in your budgeting process.
- Review (and actually use them!) regularly
We hope this has solidified the importance of budgeting and how we go about doing it. There’s no better time than now to get rooted in budgeting and we have short online courses, such as “Unlocking your Inner CFO” to help with exactly that.
Week 2: Top Five Budgeting Tools
If budgeting means we can see into the future, can we call budgeting software our “glasses” that help us see more clearly?
In the world of entrepreneurship, we want everything to be easier. So, we look for things that will make tasks like budgeting more efficient and effective, right? We’ve gladly done the work for you, and will be sharing some tools that’ll help make budgeting more manageable.
Why use budgeting software
Is it not untrustworthy we hear you ask?
- Usually eats up a lot of a company’s resources
- Vulnerable to human error
- Takes longer for staff to generate reports manually or process larger transactions the same way
- Can get damaged easily
- Rely on paper based methods for calculations
- All your data in one place
- Can resolve mathematical functions through inbuilt computing processes
- Backup systems ensure that your data is secure at all times in case of hardware malfunctions
- Data entry can be done with a few clicks
Choosing budgeting software that suits your small business
Some of the best tools for writing a detailed budget and sticking to it are software programs, and they go beyond just Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs.
You already might be utilizing PayPal, Square, or other similar online services with your point-of-sale (POS) system. And like the software programs above, they offer tools for writing a budget and tracking revenue and expenses.
When looking for a budgeting software program, you usually want to look for these features:
- Departmentalized budgeting: Gives you the ability to create budgets by department, division, or profit centre and merge them all into the master budget.
- Collaboration: Gives more than one person in your organization the ability to work on the budgetary planning process.
- Variance comparison: Gives you the ability to see actual vs. budgeted amounts on a line-by-line basis.
- At the end of the day, it’s important to choose the budgeting tool that works best for you.
Top 5 budgeting software to help money management
22seven is a free budgeting and investing app from Old Mutual. It helps you budget, track your spending on all your accounts and invest for your life goals. It has the following features:
- See all your money in one place
- Generate a budget especially for you and your spending
- Shows how much you spend each month
- Automatically updates and sorts your transactions from all your accounts
- Comes with a mobile app
- Gives regular, relevant insights about your money
- Allows you to invest money from as little as R250
- It’s free!
Goodbudget offers the ability to take the envelope budgeting concept virtual without paying a fee for your budgeting software. You can manually import bank transactions and view Goodbudget’s intuitive pie charts to see how your spending is allocated.
Free and paid versions available.
Mint aggregates all your accounts in one place, helps you track your net worth, and provides add-ons such as access to your credit score. Mint makes budgeting easy by allowing you to link your accounts and shows you how your spending compares to the national average. These features can help you see if you’re on track when you’re just starting the budgeting process.
- The software is completely free to use
- Mint’s financial dashboard tracks your net worth and shows you accounts all in one place
- Transactions are categorized automatically
With Spreadsheet Analyst Budgeting, Excel helps organizations by using a data warehouse to hold budget structure and data. Business can easily use the tool to keep their spreadsheets intact and adjust them as necessary.
- Used to list expenses
- Resolve basic accounting needs
- Advanced functionalities
- Can be integrated with other budgeting tools
Did you know that we offer Excel courses? Contact us on the button below if you want some help making sure everything is sound on your spreadsheet and that you’re maximizing Excel.
So there’s a summary of some recommended software tools and we’d love to hear which ones become like glasses for you!
If you feel stumped about creating a budget or even forecasting for your business, let us know because that’s exactly our expertise and we’d love to help.
Check out our online course “Unlocking your Inner CFO” to learn more about budgeting.
Week 3: A Budgeting Success Story
We were very excited to interview Marnita Oppermann and hear her inspirational budgeting success story. She shares how relationship with money is everything and it’s nothing to do with number skills.
Marnita qualified as an Accountant and is today a Money Coach after a devastating journey with debt.
We asked Marnita the following…
How has your relationship with money / budgeting changed over time?
I was ashamed that I was struggling with debt because of my job as an Accountant. I was managing at work but couldn’t face my own finances. I now realise, an Accountant is no better off to the next person when it comes to relationship with money. It’s nothing to do with numbers skills.
In 2015 I was over-indebted and realised I had a dysfunctional love / hate money with my own finances. It was definitely a season of feeling like my head was in the sand!
When did you know you needed help?
I kept being able to get bank loans and I kept going back to overdraft. Not knowing how I was going to get out of it. My money life was not reflecting that I am an intelligent person.
The pivotal point was when I accepted that I couldn’t go on in this way and I needed to find the help to change this around!
How did you go about asking for/taking help?
I got professional help and joined a money course where you learn the basics of relationship with money. I learnt how habits form etc. Behaviourally, it was a radical journey to discover that you can have a supportive, fun, loving relationship with money.
There’s no avoiding money because we live in a monetary structured society – we’ve got to learn how to deal with it. It’s always going to be a part of our lives.
Why is it important for someone to examine and understand their relationship with money?
As a Money Coach (or maybe it feels more like a Money Psychologist!) I look at the relationship firstly and then the actual numbers. I do an interesting exercise where the person goes back every year of their life to engage in memories related with money. We’re all likely to mimic one or both parents’ relationship with money or resisting and doing something completely different. I can then help them identify their own money type, i.e. characteristics from their money mindset.
Money types represent patterns that are unconscious drivers of behaviour that deeply influence your decisions; in this case they relate to your money mind-set.
Here are Four of the Money Types:
- Innocent – Avoids all financial matters, wanting someone else to deal with it.
- Victim – Doesn’t take ownership of responsibility.
- Happy Go-Lucky – Spends, spends, spends.
- Martyr – depleted after give, give, giving.
Marnita equips people with tools to help change those characteristics into functionality. Which ultimately, leads to financial freedom.
In your opinion, is there such a thing as “good debt.” If so, what types of things are worth going in debt over?
Bad debt: takes money out of your pocket. Consumer related and compound interest means you end up paying more, e.g. purchasing car.
Good debt: In the end, puts money in your pocket. Leveraging someone else’s money, e.g. property investment.
What advice do you have for someone who’s just starting out, around 20 – 25yrs?
Having the tools around this age is crucial because as soon as you start receiving your own money, you can make informed decisions. You’ll be in a radically different place in the future if you start now. So don’t leave it until later in life!
Did you know? Looking after your money doesn’t mean less fun! There can be a total balance of now and building a future.
You’re going to thank yourself later in life if you do so now.
What does financial freedom mean to you? How do you feel about money right now compared to how you felt back then?
That my bills and chose lifestyle is covered, no matter if I’m working or not. The assets that I’ve built, pays my bills. I have freedom of time and which gifts I want to give to the world.
I’d love to leave you with one tip that can help to align you to financial freedom…
We trust that Marnita’s story has encouraged you!
We see that acknowledging there’s a problem is the first step. Even if you don’t know what the answers are, just by saying “I want to find a better way” is the start of change.
And there’s more Money Management support from Marnita…
- Money Type Quiz
- Coaching Sessions / Calls
- Book: The Money Code and How to Crack it. (written alongside 8 women around the world!)
Week 4: The Role of Budgets in Saving Businesses
How to save my business
Annece Olivier from PivotalFlow unpacks budgeting within business rescue, which is her expertise.
We explore the main reasons why budgets fail businesses and businesses fail their budgets. And end up in business rescue.
Here are some of the questions we asked Annece:
- What is business rescue? As a business owner, why do I need to know about it?
- Why and how do budgets fail businesses?
- How can a budget prevent business rescue?
- Can I still end up in Business Rescue even though I have a budget?
- How does budgeting aid a successful business rescue?
- How can I tell when my business needs Business Rescue?
- Are there any steps I need to take to make sure that I receive Business Rescue if or when I need it?
If you know of anyone in need of business rescue – they can reach out to us here at UPvisor. We’d love to chat with them and help turn their business from failing into thriving.
There you have it!
Budgeting galore. You can’t say you didn’t know that you should do it, that it would benefit you, or how to do it!
If you need any help (because sometimes we all do), then let us know. We will happily engage and help you along the journey.