Important categories a new business budget should have
A budget is an essential tool for a new business. It is a great way to stay on track financially. Also, it can help you lower your new business expenses.
In this post, I am going to talk about some of the most important categories a new business budget should have. While there are lots of things to include in a budget, some categories are crucial. Sadly, some of them get left out for one reason or the other.
After reading this post, you will have a great idea of the most important budget categories for your business. And, if you haven’t created a budget for your business, you will need to change that.
One of the mistakes new business owners make is thinking they don’t need a budget because their business isn’t making a lot of money yet. This is the wrong way to look at it.
So, why do you need to create a budget?
Well, first, you want to get used to using a budget for your business. Secondly, if you are spending money on your business, you need a budget to keep track of your income (whether from your personal funds or business revenue) and your expenses.
With that out of the way, if you are ready to create an effective budget or want to know what to include in your business, let’s dive in!
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the top of the page.
1. ESTIMATED REVENUE OR PERSONAL CASH INFUSION
Whether you are funding your business from your savings or not, your budget should include your estimated revenue. Typically, your estimated revenue is how much you expect your business to bring in during a set period of time. But in reality, a lot of businesses don’t bring in enough money in the first six months or one year.
Whatever the case may be, you need an estimated revenue or personal cash infusion category in your business. Since this is only an estimate, you don’t have to sweat it. If you don’t expect to earn anything for the first few months, you can use the amount you plan to spend on your business as the estimated revenue. You can always adjust your budget as things change.
So, think about how much you expect to earn or invest, write that down and use that to make your spending decisions.
2. NEW BUSINESS BUDGET NEEDS A MARKETING CATEGORY
For some reason, a marketing budget is something that gets ignored a lot. I think the reason is that lots of small business owners don’t think they need a marketing budget (also the result of not having a marketing plan).
A marketing budget is not just for big businesses or corporations. If you run a business and you plan to attract customers to your business, it means you are going to do some marketing and that requires a budget.
A marketing budget doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars. You can tailor it to match your marketing plan/strategy and marketing activities. For instance, if you are an online business owner and your main strategies are content marketing and email marketing, you will have a smaller budget than someone who uses mostly ads to attract customers.
So, whatever marketing strategy you use for your business, you need to include a line in your budget for marketing. Your marketing budget will cover things like editing software, photos/graphics, content writers, ads, templates, your email service provider, content upgrades or lead magnets, and anything else you use to attract and convert customers.
Yes, you need a budget whether you are funding your business from your savings or income, or from earnings from your business.
If you have no idea how much you spend on your marketing activities or efforts, you are doing it wrong. Without a budget, it’s hard to measure the return on investment. And, you always want to know if something is working or not. That’s the only way you can grow your business.
3. ALL YOUR EXPENSES
A good budget should include all your expenses. Most new businesses will have two types of expenses: expenses with fixed costs and those with variable costs.
The fixed costs are your expenses that are regular and consistent. The prices stay the same from month to month. For example, rent (if you have a business location), web hosting, keyword research tools, monthly subscriptions, and any other regular expense or payment you make.
Your business may also have some expenses with variable costs. This simply means that how much you pay changes each month or quarter. This could be due to usage, demand, cost of production, and things of that nature. For instance, maybe you hired more content writers this month or you gave your virtual assistant more work to do.
Also, things like taxes can fall under variable costs if your income fluctuates a lot.
Some variable costs can fly under the radar so you need to be vigilant and keep a close eye on your finances. Little bits of spending can amount to a lot. When your expenses increase, it eats into your profits, so do your best to keep them low.
The other kind of expenses or costs you should include in your budget are one-off costs. As a new business owner, it’s a good idea to plan for these one-off costs or investments before you need them. Think about the tools or resources you need to run your business, and allocate some funds to them.
This will take the pressure off you and ensure your business stays cash flow positive. Advance planning is a great way to stay in good financial shape. It also makes it easy to purchase and afford the things you really need.
4. BUSINESS EDUCATION
If you didn’t already know, I am a big fan of investing in yourself and your business or blogging education.
Unless you have built multiple businesses, chances are you still have a lot to learn about how to run and grow your business. You can’t take your business to the next level if you lack the knowledge or skills that are required.
Investing in your business education is a must if you want to improve yourself and grow your business. Unfortunately, lots of business owners don’t have a plan for their education. They wing it or buy things impulsively. The sad part is that lots of things that are purchased impulsively are never used, or if used, any knowledge gained is never implemented.
The best way to ensure you are learning the things you need to is to have a learning plan and a business education budget. With a budget, you know how much you have available for personal growth. This in turn will influence your buying or investment decisions.
For instance, let’s say your education budget is only $500 for the year and you need to learn about search engine optimization and email marketing. With your budget, you know you can’t afford courses that cost hundreds of dollars or more. So, you will limit your research to more affordable options. And, there are lots of affordable options out there!
You see why having a budget is important, especially when you are just starting out and money isn’t flowing in just yet.
Yes, you need to invest in yourself and keep learning about things you don’t know, and things that will help you grow your business. But, you have to do it in a way that is affordable for you.
5. EMERGENCY SAVINGS
The last category you want to include in your new business budget is emergency savings. Since you can’t predict all your one-off costs and things can happen unexpectedly, your emergency savings will serve as a buffer and will come in handy.
Like your personal finances, your business needs an emergency fund to deal with unexpected expenses. Don’t assume you don’t need one because your business is new, you are not making enough money, or you are an online business. Things can go wrong when you least expect them, so it is always good to be prepared.
For instance, your computer or laptop can break down when you least expect it. Your internet can be disrupted and you will need an alternative solution. These are things I have personally experienced and it wasn’t fun at the time.
As a new business owner, you don’t need to have thousands of dollars in your emergency funds, but you should try to save up some money. You can start with a couple of hundred dollars and build it up from there.
Unexpected financial demands can take a toll on you and your business but you can avoid that. Also, remember to keep your business finances separate from your personal funds. Intermingling funds is a bad idea and can cause a few problems.
Have a separate bank account for your business even if you fund your business from out-of-pocket. Pay your business expenses from your business account (if possible), and use your business account exclusively for business-related transactions.
Final thoughts on 5 things to include in a business budget
A business budget is an effective tool for managing and staying on top of your finances. Yes, you will need to spend some time creating one, but it is something that is worth doing.
Your budget will help you make the right financial decisions and will show you how well your business is doing.
Remember to budget for your business education, marketing, and unexpected expenses. And, when your business starts making money, start tracking your profit and losses (if any). Your profit is whatever is left after deducting expenses and taxes from revenue generated. Accountants and bookkeepers refer to this as the net profit margin. The NPM is the best indicator of the health of your business.
If you don’t have a business budget, consider creating one. If you feel intimidated by the process, you can find lots of free templates you can customize. In other words, no excuses!
Do you have a business budget? Why or why not?