Small businesses can benefit tremendously from investing time in financial planning — creating and managing a structured budget.

Admittedly, growing businesses may not have an extended history to guide important decisions, unlike larger companies. Small businesses still need to consider different financial planning and budgeting options to identify potential issues before they arise. By doing so, they can confidently determine the direction of the business.

All small business owners should know how to manage money efficiently. Thankfully, business budgeting allows you to plan for the future of your business so that you are fully informed about your business’ finances. Budgeting is an important step that allows you to simplify the complex financial picture. By constantly reviewing and updating your finances, you can prevent any unpleasant surprises.

Before diving into small business financial planning, there are various options to focus on. For instance, you can choose a quarterly, monthly, or annual budget for your business. You can also use forecasting as a tool by using past data and current analysis of trends to make financial estimates. All choices should be considered to develop the best financial blueprint for your small business.

Before we review a few key points about small business financial planning and the steps of creating your budget, let’s talk about the significance of budgeting.

Why is small business financial planning and budgeting in particular important?

Small business financial planning is important for businesses of any size, but particularly for small businesses with limited financial resources. However, since their needs change as they grow, small businesses need to focus on categorizing the budget around distinct areas. Small business budgeting can be challenging at first because time must be invested to create, monitor, and adjust the strategy.

One of the key advantages of a small business budget is that it encourages the overall growth of your business. Focusing on the bigger picture by creating a detailed plan will prepare your business for any hardship you might encounter down the road. Additionally, you can create a plan that will provide many benefits such as reduced costs and increased profits. Although it can be time-consuming, budgeting will teach you how to manage money more efficiently. It also allows you to track cash flow to ensure that there are no abnormalities.

You can concentrate on your small business financial planning by checking if your objectives have been met and identifying potential issues before they become a reality. Your budget will ensure that the day-to-day problems do not overshadow your mission of starting your own business. It will not only motivate you but will also encourage your staff to meet set goals.

small business financial planning - small business owner using POS system

Quarterly Versus Year-Long Budget

Constructing a budget allows you to plan ahead and ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Before getting into the specifics, you should determine if you want a quarterly or year-long budget.

Both quarterly and annual budgets work as a written financial plan for business operations. Small businesses, however, often benefit from starting with quarterly budgets. With this short-range budget, there is more flexibility for growing businesses to adjust and adapt to different results. Another advantage of the quarterly budget is that it uses real results instead of forecasts, unlike year-long budgeting. The quarterly budget allows you to compare forecasted data with the actual numbers at closer intervals.

Unlike quarterly budgets, which contain data over a three-month period, an annual budget evaluates data over a 12-month period. Many businesses prefer the annual budget since it gives a general overview that immediately shows if long-term goals have been met. Other businesses prefer monthly or quarterly budgets for accuracy and a detailed look. Annual budgets are popular with many businesses since the budget forecasts a long-term future. Although businesses can benefit from quick results of the quarterly budget, annual budgets allow the business to focus on long-term success.

Small Business Forecasting

Small Business budgeting allows you to learn about your small business’ financial process. You can analyze costs, projected cash flow, and ensure that there is enough money for future projects. Budgeting discloses your financial performance so that you can make practical operational changes to meet your goals.

By developing a forecast, businesses can set a concrete and realistic budget. You can look at your past sales and new ones when you’re developing the forecast. Additionally, you may want to make predictions for changes in the size of your market and the economy. This is especially significant for new businesses since you’ll want to examine the sales of similar businesses in your area.

When creating a forecast, you may want to analyze the historical data of your business’ finances to decide how budgets should be allocated in the future. In addition, ensure that the financial forecast is regularly updated when there is any change in operations. This will help your business maximize profits, avoid slumps, and make strategic decisions. The forecast included in your financial planning will also use both past and current data to understand potential obstacles and how to deal with them. A well-researched budget and reasonable forecast will show banks and other investors or lenders that your business strategy is secure and well thought out.

SEE ALSO: Your Foolproof Strategy to Forecasting Retail Sales

Creating a Small Business Budget

If your small business has previously invested time in financial planning or previously created a budget, you can adjust the numbers and use the previous budget as a guide. If you haven’t, you can also research and collect historical information on costs and sales.

When in the process of financial planning for your small business, you have to think realistically to ensure accuracy and avoid issues in the future. You have to analyze factors such as projected sales, costs of sales, and other expenses. Accounting softwares work as great tools to help manage your accounts.

Since each business has different costs, it may be helpful to divide the budget thematically. Additionally, it may be helpful to divide the categories into simpler sections instead of specific items or services. This will avoid unnecessary complications and make it easier to spot irregularities and mistakes.

Before creating the budget, you have to identify and list sources of revenue and expenses. After you’ve written down all the expenses, income, and expenditure, you can easily spot cash flow problems as well as which costs need to be reduced. Check to see if your revenue equals your expenses. For example, if you see that you’re spending doesn’t balance what you’re earning, you have to increase income or decrease expenses. You should monitor the budget regularly and make sure that adjustments are made to maintain an accurate reflection of your finances. Small businesses, in particular, need to review their budget at least monthly to pinpoint any difficulties.

By investing time to create a realistic and transparent budget, you’ll manage money more effectively and allocate your resources better. Whether you format a year-long or quarterly budget, small business financial planning is important for your business. In particular, small businesses should constantly review their budgets to monitor performance and oversee finances. Budgeting allows you to anticipate problems before they arise. If any changes occur, it’s essential to make adjustments that accurately represent your small business. As your business grows, you will need to develop effective budgeting and forecasting skills to manage the financial health of your business.

Kathy Yoo

About the Author

Kathy Yoo is a creative writer and currently writes on behalf of the budgeting experts at True Sky. As an avid traveler and learner from Canada, she loves exploring different cultures and cheering for the Toronto Raptors.