We are entering the new year, which means many people are setting goals for the new year. As a business owner, you should be doing the same thing. Creating a budget is one of the best practices you can start for your business.
What Is a Business Budget and What Are Its Benefits?
A business operating budget is a financial plan that outlines a business’s projected expenses and revenues over a specific period, usually a year. A budget is a key tool for business owners and managers to understand the financial performance of their business, make informed decisions, and plan for the future.
A well-thought-out and designed budget will allow you to make better business decisions and feel more in control of your future. If you are still not sure you need a budget, here are some of the key benefits of having a budget:
- Improved financial planning: A budget allows you to plan for the financial needs of your business, including projected expenses and revenues, if you need to hire, if you need to invest in new assets, and, more importantly, if you have the cash flow for your business goal. By creating a budget, you can identify potential financial challenges and opportunities and take steps to address them.
- Enhanced decision-making: A budget can help you make informed decisions about allocating resources and making trade-offs between different priorities. The budgeting process should inform you what you are limited to doing by your current business setup and if you need to take action if you want to expand or grow.
- Increased accountability: A budget can help you hold yourself and your team accountable for meeting financial goals and targets. By regularly reviewing your budget and comparing it to actual performance, you can identify areas where you are over or under budget and take corrective action. It will also provide the road map on how your team can spend and give them direction to execute their goals.
- Improved communication: A budget can help you communicate your financial goals and plans to your team and stakeholders, such as investors or lenders. This can help ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same financial objectives. It can act as an early warning system for potential issues and provide guidance on financial needs if you are planning for growth or expansion.
Now that we have established that a budget is important and a worthwhile exercise, the question is, how do I create a budget?
Budget Creation Basics
Here are the basics of building a business budget:
- Determine your budget period: For most, this will be the next calendar year but the first step is to choose a budget period that aligns with your business goals and objectives. For example, if you are starting a new business, create a budget for the first six months, the first year, the remainder of this calendar year, and the next. Setting the budget period allows you to think about a period and focus on those goals and expectations.
- Identify your budget categories: You will need to determine the categories of expenses and revenues relevant to your business. Common types of expenses include payroll, rent, utilities, marketing, and supplies. For income, the categories include sales of products, service fees, and grants. There may be subcategories under each of the main categories. By know which revenue and expenses you plan on budgeting for allows you to become more granular and focused in your approach to building this plan.
- Gather financial data: Collect financial data from past periods or other sources, such as market research or industry benchmarks, to help you estimate the amounts for each budget category. For most businesses, starting with historicals is a great place to begin. Your history will give you an idea of your future and allow you to adjust based on the information you have or the new projects you plan to implement.
- Create a budget template: Use a spreadsheet or budgeting software to create a budget template that includes all the budget categories and subcategories relevant to your business. You can either build your own, hire someone to build a template, or download one from a reliable source.
- Estimate expenses and revenues: Using the financial data you have gathered, estimate the amounts for each budget category for the budget period. This is the work part. Once you know what you plan to budget for, you can do the hard work. Most good budgets will take into account information from your team. Gathering insight and information from the people who are meant to execute the goal will allow you to gain buy-in. Also, most good budgets will take a few rounds. This is a necessary process and not one that should be rushed. Once all information is gathered, it should be reviewed with all stakeholders and adjusted as necessary. Obtaining insight from others will help get everyone’s approval that it is achievable and ensure everyone is working towards the goal of execution.
- Monitor and update the budget: Budgets are a tool that should be used to drive the business towards its goals. It is important to regularly review and see how you are performing towards these goals. The review should provide insight into where you need to improve and where you are doing well. It is also necessary to update the budget as required. Your business environment might change, and different opportunities and pitfalls may arise. It is critical that the budget stays accurate and reflects these changes in your business’s financial position or goals.
With these steps, you can create a comprehensive and accurate business operating budget that will help you understand and manage the financial performance of your business. A well-executed budget will provide you and your business insight to move toward your goals.
Protea Financial Can Help You Create a Budget for Your Business
Now, remember, the budgeting process takes work. Sometimes you will need to get help. If you do not have the capabilities internally or want additional insight into the process, consider outsourcing your needs. Reaching out to an outsourced option like the professionals here at Protea Financial might be a great way to get the best out of your budgeting process by bringing in experts. Contact us today and we can help!
Let Protea Financial Help You Create a Budget for Your Business
If you want help learning how to create a budget for your business, or you need someone to do it for you, contact the professionals here at Protea Financial.