Small business owners have a lot on their plates, from managing employees to dealing with customers to keeping their businesses afloat. One area that is often overlooked, however, is managing their finances. It’s no secret that finances can make or break a small business, yet many owners struggle with budgeting, cash flow, and other financial management tasks.
In fact, a survey by Wasp Barcode Technologies found that 46% of small businesses either didn’t track inventory or used a manual process to do so, which can lead to inaccurate financial reporting and lost revenue. Another survey by QuickBooks found that 61% of small business owners struggle with cash flow, which can cause financial stress and impede business growth.
So, what’s a small business owner to do? The good news is that with some basic financial management skills and tools, anyone can take control of their business finances. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be a math genius to do so – even if you failed high school algebra like I did (true story), you can still manage your finances like a pro.
In this blog, we’ll cover some essential tips for managing your small business finances, from creating a budget to seeking professional advice. So grab your calculator and let’s get started!
Create a Budget for Your Small Business
As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is particularly true when it comes to managing your small business finances. One of the most essential things you can do to keep your finances in check is to create a budget.
A budget is essentially a plan for how you will spend and earn money over a certain period of time. It helps you track your expenses, identify areas where you may be overspending, and ensure that you have enough cash to cover your bills and other financial obligations.
To create an effective budget for your small business, start by tracking your expenses. This can be as simple as using a spreadsheet or a bookkeeping app to record your expenses as they occur. Be sure to include all of your expenses, from rent and utilities to office supplies and marketing costs.
Next, identify your revenue streams. This may include sales, services rendered, or other sources of income. Once you have a clear picture of your expenses and revenue, you can start to create a budget that works for your business.
But don’t take my word for it – the numbers speak for themselves. According to a study by the Small Business Administration, businesses that create a budget are 60% more likely to be financially successful than those that don’t. And a survey by QuickBooks found that small business owners who create a budget are 37% more likely to be profitable.
So, get cracking on that budget – your business (and your bank account) will thank you!
Manage Cash Flow
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, and it’s especially crucial for small businesses that may not have large reserves to fall back on. In simple terms, cash flow is the movement of money in and out of your business. If you have more money coming in than going out, you have positive cash flow, which is a good thing. If you have more money going out than coming in, you have negative cash flow, which can lead to financial difficulties.
One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is getting paid on time. According to a study by Fundbox, the average small business owner waits 21 days to get paid, which can put a strain on cash flow. To combat this issue, consider sending invoices promptly and offering incentives for early payments, such as a small discount.
Another tip for managing cash flow is to create a cash reserve. This is essentially a savings account for your business that can help you weather unexpected expenses or dips in revenue. Aim to save up at least three to six months’ worth of expenses in your cash reserve, and only dip into it when absolutely necessary.
Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate with suppliers and vendors to get better payment terms. For example, you may be able to negotiate a 30-day payment window instead of 15 days, which can give you more time to pay your bills and improve your cash flow.
Remember, managing cash flow isn’t rocket science – it just takes a little bit of planning and foresight. So don’t let a lack of cash flow be the downfall of your small business – take action today and start managing your cash like a pro!
Monitor Financial Statements
When it comes to managing your small business finances, monitoring your financial statements is a crucial step. Your financial statements provide you with an overview of your business’s financial health, which can help you make informed decisions about everything from investments to hiring.
Some of the key financial statements to monitor include:
- Income statement: This statement shows your business’s revenue, expenses, and net income or loss over a specific period.
- Balance sheet: This statement shows your business’s assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time.
- Cash flow statement: This statement shows your business’s inflows and outflows of cash over a specific period.
But, let’s face it, financial statements can be intimidating – all those numbers and technical terms can make anyone’s head spin. However, with some basic knowledge and practice, anyone can learn to read and interpret financial statements.
First, it’s important to understand the purpose of each financial statement and how they relate to one another. For example, the income statement shows your business’s revenue and expenses over a period, while the cash flow statement shows your business’s cash inflows and outflows over the same period. Understanding the relationship between these statements can help you identify trends and make better financial decisions.
Next, it’s important to review your financial statements regularly – ideally, on a monthly basis. This can help you catch any errors or discrepancies early on and make adjustments as needed. It can also help you identify areas where you can cut costs or invest more resources.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you’re unsure about how to read or interpret your financial statements, consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant to assist you. With their expertise, you can ensure that your financial statements are accurate and provide you with the insights you need to make informed decisions.
According to a study by Intuit, businesses that regularly review and manage their financial statements are 80% more likely to be successful than those that don’t. So, even if numbers aren’t your thing, taking the time to monitor your financial statements can pay off in the long run. Plus, think of all the fun you’ll have impressing your friends and family with your newfound financial knowledge!
Invest in Accounting software
Managing finances can be a daunting task, especially if you’re doing it manually. Fortunately, there are numerous accounting software options available that can make the process much easier and more efficient. In fact, a survey by Capterra found that 52% of small businesses plan to invest in accounting software in the next 1-2 years.
But with so many options out there, how do you choose the right accounting software for your small business? Here are some tips to consider:
- Features: Look for software that includes features that are important to your business, such as invoicing, expense tracking, and inventory management.
- Pricing: Consider your budget and choose software that fits within it. Some software options offer free or low-cost plans, while others charge more for additional features.
- User-friendliness: Choose software that is easy to use and understand, even if you’re not a financial expert.
- Integrations: Look for software that integrates with other tools and software your business uses, such as payment processors or e-commerce platforms.
Investing in accounting software can have a significant impact on your small business. In fact, a study by Deloitte found that companies that invest in financial technology (including accounting software) are more likely to experience revenue growth than those that don’t. Additionally, a survey by Software Advice found that small businesses that use accounting software save an average of 5 hours per week on financial tasks.
So, if you’re still manually tracking expenses and revenue, it’s time to consider investing in accounting software. Not only will it save you time and improve accuracy, but it can also help you make more informed financial decisions and ultimately grow your business. And if you’re anything like me, it will save you from many late nights staring at spreadsheets and muttering curse words under your breath.
Seek professional advice
As a small business owner, you might be hesitant to seek professional advice on financial matters due to the costs involved. However, it’s important to remember that the investment in professional advice can pay off in the long run, both in terms of financial savings and business growth.
According to a survey by the National Small Business Association, 73% of small business owners have sought out professional advice at some point, with the majority citing legal and financial advice as their top areas of need. Additionally, a survey by Wasp Barcode Technologies found that 42% of small businesses use an accountant to manage their finances, while 24% use a bookkeeper.
When seeking professional advice, it’s important to find someone who understands your business and can provide tailored recommendations. Here are some tips for finding and working with professionals:
- Ask for referrals: Talk to other small business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for accountants or financial advisors.
- Do your research: Look up potential professionals online and read reviews or testimonials. Check their credentials and experience to make sure they are qualified to advise on your specific needs.
- Be clear about your goals: When working with a professional, be upfront about your goals and expectations. This will help them provide more targeted and effective advice.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions: If you don’t understand something, ask! A good professional will be happy to explain things in plain language.
Remember, seeking professional advice doesn’t mean you have to hand over complete control of your finances. It’s important to stay involved and informed so you can make informed decisions for your business. And who knows, maybe your accountant will even be able to help you with your taxes AND your algebra homework. Win-win!
Congratulations, you made it to the end of our “Small Business Finance Advice” blog! By now, you should have a better understanding of the importance of managing your finances and some tips for doing so effectively. Let’s quickly recap the key takeaways:
- Create a budget to track your expenses and revenue streams
- Manage your cash flow by building a cash reserve and invoicing promptly
- Monitor your financial statements to track the financial health of your business
- Invest in accounting software to streamline your financial management
- Seek professional advice from accountants and financial advisors as needed
By implementing these tips, you can take control of your finances and help your small business thrive. But don’t take our word for it – the statistics speak for themselves. According to a survey by Intuit, small businesses that used QuickBooks to manage their finances grew their revenue by an average of 25% over two years.
Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of feeling like a financial wizard. Who knew numbers could be so much fun? Okay, maybe not everyone finds numbers fun, but at least you’ll be empowered to make informed financial decisions for your business.
So go forth and conquer your finances, small business owners! And don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way, whether it’s with a fancy coffee or a happy dance in the office (no judgment here).