New announcement. Learn more



Be the Boss of Your Money: How Budgeting Can Boost Your Business

I've been working on my budgets recently - for both my business and my personal life. It's been an eye-opening experience - who knew I was spending so much on software subscriptions and streaming services 🤓 It made me realize how essential budgeting is, not just for my business success but also for personal financial health. So, I thought I'd take a moment to share some insights about why budgeting is so important.

Whether you're running a small business or trying to manage your household finances, budgeting is like a roadmap. It guides you on the right path, helping you navigate your financial journey. Without a budget, you might find yourself lost in a maze of income and expenses, unsure of where your money is going or how to control it.

In this blog post, we're going to delve into the importance of budgeting. We'll explore how it helps manage your money, plan for the future, understand your cash flow, check your financial performance, and manage financial risks. So, whether you're a budgeting pro or just getting started, read on to discover why this financial tool is so crucial.  

Five Reasons Why Budgeting is Important for Your Business:

1. Financial Control: Budgeting gives you control over your money. It ensures that you know where your money is coming from and where it's going. This can help prevent overspending and ensure that resources are allocated where they're most needed. For example, if you run a small bakery, a budget can help you keep track of all your income from sales and all your expenses like ingredients, utilities, and staff wages. By doing this, you can see if you're spending too much on certain ingredients and adjust your purchases accordingly.

2. Planning for the Future: A budget allows you to plan for the future by forecasting income and expenses. This can help you make strategic decisions about growth, investments, and other business initiatives. For instance, if you own a landscaping business, a budget can help you plan for buying new equipment or hiring more employees. You can look at your projected income and expenses to see when you'll have enough extra money to invest in these growth opportunities.

3. Cash Flow Management: Budgeting helps you manage your cash flow more effectively. It can help you identify potential cash flow problems in advance and take steps to prevent them. Let's say you own a retail store. A budget can help you see when you'll have high expenses (like when you need to buy more inventory before the holiday season) and low income (like during a slow season). Knowing this, you can plan to save money during the high-income periods to cover costs during the low-income periods.

4. Performance Evaluation: A budget provides a benchmark against which you can measure your business's actual performance. This can help you identify areas where your business is underperforming and take corrective action. For example, if you run a cafe, you can compare your actual food and beverage costs to your budgeted costs. If you find that you're spending more than you planned, you can look into why this is happening (like food waste) and take steps to fix the problem.

5. Risk Management: By forecasting revenues and expenses, a budget can help you manage financial risks. It can help you build a financial cushion to deal with unexpected expenses or downturns in revenue. For instance, if you're a service business (like us), a budget can help you prepare for uncertain income. You can estimate your income based on your current clients and projects, but also set aside some money in a "rainy day fund" to cover your expenses if you lose a client or a project falls through.

Six Action Steps to Prepare Your Budget:

1. Set Clear Goals: Determine what you want to achieve financially within a certain period. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, you might decide that you want to save $10,000 for a new piece of equipment for your business within the next year. This goal is specific (buy equipment), measurable ($10,000), achievable (with careful budgeting), relevant (it benefits your business), and time-bound (within the next year).

2. Estimate Revenues: Based on your business's past performance and your goals for the future, estimate how much revenue you expect to generate. For example, if your business has consistently made $5,000 a month in the past, and you're planning to expand your marketing efforts, you might estimate that you'll make $6,000 a month in the future.

3. Estimate Expenses: Determine your fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are those that don't change regardless of your level of output, like rent and salaries. Variable costs are those that change with your level of output, like materials and direct labour costs. For example, your fixed costs might include $1,000 a month in rent and $2,000 a month in salaries. Your changing costs might include $500 a month in materials and $500 a month in direct labour costs, but these could increase if you take on more work.

4. Create Your Budget: Using your revenue and expense estimates, create a budget that outlines how much you expect to earn and spend over a certain period. For example, based on your estimated income and costs, you might create a budget that predicts you'll earn $6,000 and spend $4,000 each month, leaving you with a $2,000 monthly profit.

Xero has a very handy Budget Manager which can be exported to & imported from Excel or Google Sheets. Get in touch if you'd like some help with putting together or reviewing your budget. 

5. Monitor Your Budget: Regularly compare your actual revenues and expenses with your budgeted amounts. If you notice significant variances, investigate why they're occurring and whether you need to adjust your budget or your operations. For example, if you find that you're consistently spending more on materials than you budgeted for, you might need to either adjust your budget or find ways to reduce these costs.

6. Review and Revise: Your budget should be a living document. Review and revise it as necessary to reflect changes in your business environment, your goals, or your business's performance. For example, if your business starts taking on more work and your income increases, you'll need to update your budget to reflect this. Similarly, if your rent increases or you hire more staff, you'll need to adjust your budget to account for these higher costs.

Budgeting, whether for your business or personal life, is more than just a number-crunching exercise. It's a strategic tool that gives you control over your finances, helps you plan for the future, and prepares you for any financial hurdles that may come your way. So, if you haven't already, take the time to sit down and work out your budgets. It may seem challenging at first, but the peace of mind and financial security it can provide are worth the effort. Remember, a budget is not about restricting your money - it's about making your money work for you.