How To Create a Business Budget with 7 Steps

Once your business is up and running, it’s essential to manage your financial performance. Establishing a business budget is the most effective way to keep your business and your money on track.

Having a business budget lets you know how much money you have, how much you’ve spent, and how much you’ll need in the future. It also can drive important business decisions.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a business budget is, why it’s important to every business, and how to create a good budget for your company. 

What is a business budget?

A business budget is a detailed spending plan that outlines how you’ll spend your money monthly or annually based on your business income and expenses.

Every penny counts! So, if you want to make the most out of your business funds, a business budget is the perfect tool, as it allows you to compare your plan with reality to see how you did. 

A business budget will help you:

  • Determine your available capital
  • Forecast your spending
  • Predict revenue

Why is a business budget important?

Why is a business budget a must-have tool for every business? Simply put, a budget assists you in determining how much money you have, how much you need to spend, and how much you need to bring in to fulfill your business objectives.

More specifically, a business budget can help your business benefit by:

  • Identifying money that is available for reinvestment
  • Predicting slow months and keeping you out of debt
  • Estimating what it will take to become profitable
  • Providing a window into the future
  • Helping you keep control of the business

How should you create a business budget?

Now that we all acknowledge the importance of a business budget, it’s time to learn how to create a good one.

A budgeting process begins with a review of your previous revenue and spending as you get started. The longer you’ve been in business, the easier this process will be because you’ll have more data to work with when creating your forward-looking budget. However, suppose your company is fresh new; chances are you may need to conduct more in-depth research on average expenditures in your sector or area to develop workable estimates for your projected finances.

Every good budget should include seven components:

1. Estimated revenue

The first step in creating a business budget is to go backward and identify all of your revenue sources. To find out how much money comes into your company on a monthly basis, add all of those income streams together. When calculating your income, make sure you look at revenue rather than profit. 

Once you’ve identified all of your income streams, calculate your monthly income. It’s critical to do this over a period of months — preferably at least the previous 12 months if you have enough data.

2. Fixed costs

The second step is to identify all of your fixed costs. Fixed costs are expenses that remain constant throughout a particular period. They’re the expenses you have to pay whether or not your company operates. For example, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, many companies are being forced to shut down their operations temporarily. Though there are no operating activities, businesses still have to pay for fixed costs such as rent and interest charges.

Fixed costs within your business might include:

  • Rent
  • Supplies
  • Debt repayment
  • Payroll
  • Depreciation of assets
  • Taxes
  • Insurance

Every business is unique, so your fixed costs will differ from those listed above. Take a few minutes to make a list of any other fixed costs that your company may have.

3. Variable costs

While looking for the information you need to identify your fixed costs, you’ll notice that your company has some variable expenses as well. Variable costs fluctuate based on how often you use a service. Many of these, such as utilities, are required for your business to operate.

Some examples of variable expenses are:

  • Raw materials
  • Inventory
  • Direct labor costs
  • Equipment replacement 
  • Office supplies
  • Utilities

4. Periodic costs

As its name suggests, this type of cost doesn’t occur monthly or annually like fixed or variable expenses. However, there are some occasions that you’ll need these expenses, so you have to be aware of this and make a budget for them. Periodic costs include education expenses, networking expenses, travel expenses, etc

5. Cash flow

Cash flow is a metric that tells you the amount of cash that comes in or goes out of your business within a specific period. This metric also represents the amount of money produced or lost by a business during a given period.

Because cash flow is the oxygen of every business, make sure you keep track of it frequently. If you have a positive net cash flow, you’re likely on the right track. On the other hand, a negative net cash flow means you may need to reevaluate your strategies. 

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6. Profit

Profit is a business’s total revenue minus total costs, expenses, and taxes. If profits are increasing, your business is expanding. Based on your predicted income, costs, and cost of goods sold, you can estimate how much profit you’ll make.

If your profit margins (the gap between income and costs) aren’t where you’d like them to be, you should reconsider your cost of goods sold and consider boosting prices. Alternatively, if you believe you can’t squeeze any more profit margin from your company, consider increasing the Advertising and Promotions item in your budget to grow overall sales.

7. A budget calculator

When it comes to business budget planning, a budget calculator can help you know exactly where you are by compiling all of your budget’s figures into a single, easy-to-understand summary. 

Create a summary page in your spreadsheet with a row for each of the budget categories listed above. This is the foundation of your budget. Then write the total amount you’ve budgeted next to each category. Finally, add a new column on the right and record the actual amounts spent in each category at the end of the period. This gives you a quick snapshot of your budget without having to dig through layers of cluttered spreadsheets.

The bottom line

A budget is a road map for your business. Though it can be daunting and time-consuming, like any good habit or practice, you will see the positive results in just a month or so. Stay diligent and continue to reach out for guidance and informative articles to help you build a financially strong and healthy business with the Shoeboxed Blog

Shoeboxed is a cloud-based software that helps businesses turn their piles of paper receipts into digital data. With Shoeboxed, you can do tasks such as scan, store, and organize receipts, manage business expenses, and even track mileage for business travelers. It’s simple to install and easy to use. Try Shoeboxed today!