Managing your finances as a small business owner can seem intimidating.
One of the most basic yet difficult factors can be separating your business finances from your personal finances so you don’t end up in a situation where you’ve funded your idea with your retirement savings. Creating a business bank account helps to guard against audits, as well. This means you essentially have two budgets to attend to.
You also need to consider how various factors impact your financial needs. For example, your workplace may change as you grow. Looking for options with office space management might give you the economic flexibility you need when you’re first starting out.
In other words, managing your business finances isn’t merely about tracking expenses and revenue. It’s also about identifying steps you can take to optimize your funds.
This doesn’t need to be as stressful as it may seem. Here are some tips on how to get your small business’ money under control.
- Set Up a Retirement Plan: Planning for retirement is always important. However, if you’re a small business owner, you don’t have the benefit of an employer setting aside money in a 401(k). You are the employer now. You’re no longer responsible merely for your personal finances, but for your business finances as well. This involves providing your own employees with a strong retirement plan. There are numerous options to consider, from Simple IRAs to SEP-IRAs. Research the pros and cons of each to determine which is best for your needs.
- Diversify Investments: When growing a business, it can be tempting to reinvest all your personal earnings into the business. This may not be the wisest choice in the long run. Even if you’re confident in your ability to thrive, you should never bet all your money on a single asset. Diversifying your investments with savings accounts, stock, real estate and other options ensures you’ll have other assets should you ever need them.
- Set Up an Emergency Fund: Creating a monthly budget is a basic finance principle all people benefit from. If you’re a small business owner, it’s particularly important to study your budget, as you need funds for office space rent, employee salaries, office supplies, software and your own salary. Going through your budget to determine your monthly spending isn’t enough. You also need to study whether your business has any slow seasons. Calculating how much you may lose during these seasons tells you how much you should set aside beforehand to avoid struggling during these periods.
- Automate Bill Payments: Paying your bills may cost money, but not paying them costs even more. You don’t want to harm your finances by incurring late fees. To avoid this, set up automatic, recurring bill payments.
- Track Your Expenses: Tracking business expenses is a major part of running a small business. Although you have to spend money to make money, you don’t want to overspend. That said, some entrepreneurs focus so much on tracking business expenses that they overlook their own personal spending. Don’t fall into this trap. If you find the task of creating and sticking to a budget time-consuming, you can use a personal finance app to make the process easier.
- Consider Interest Rates: When growing a small business, it can be tempting to accept any loan someone’s willing to offer. However, before you do, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the loan’s interest rates. Be realistic, and don’t accept loans with interest rates that could come back to haunt you later on.
- Strengthen Your Credit Score: Your credit score doesn’t just impact your personal finances. It can also affect your business. Suppliers, lenders and other essential parties may not work with you if you don’t have strong credit. Monitoring yours regularly, and taking steps to improve it when necessary, will help you thrive.
Again, don’t let managing your finances intimidate you. While running a small business does keep you busy, setting aside time to manage your money is still essential.