Good planning is vital to business success and, whether you are just starting out, or you’ve been established for a few years, taking control of managing and planning your finances means you’ll have far more control over your business’s performance and growth. And that’s why we’ve put together our ten top tips for small business budget planning.
1. Have a plan
This may sound basic, but many businesses do not have a financial plan. Managing your accounts so that you know what you’re spending and what you’re earning puts you in a strong position, and allows you to forecast your turnover and profits, understand how your business is working, and put plans in place for future budgets. Small business owners that succeed usually have a strong financial plan.
2. Find out how to raise money
Businesses often succeed through investment – from people within the business, from business angels, from venture capitalists or from business loans. If your business needs a cash injection this year, take the time to look at all the options, because some will certainly be better for your business than others. Taking the time to make a considered decision when you’re raising finance gives you more control in the long term.
3. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
Reducing your costs is a key way to make your business smarter and leaner. Always look for ways that you can streamline your spending, whether it’s when you renegotiate your lease, when you take on a new supplier, when you rationalise your IT systems, or when you are buying anything new for your business. Long term savings give you a bit more flexibility in your budget – running small business enterprises is an area where flexibility is key. If you can’t find the time for this maybe our product sourcing services could help.
4. Be a savvy marketer
Use low cost channels to market to your target audience, rather than expensive adverts. Your sales and marketing strategy needs to be based on getting directly to the people you know will buy from you, and you can do this without spending a fortune. In particular, a strategic use of social media channels can boost your profile and your turnover for a relatively low cost of sale. Take a look at these articles for more information on this subject:
- Social media strategy planning – our guide to success
- 15 Low budget marketing methods for small businesses and sole traders
5. Set realistic goals
Look across your business at the range of products or services you offer and set a realistic financial target for each. Then break down how you are going to reach that target so that you have a clear plan that will help you to get there. It’s also worth having follow-up goals, so if you reach your target early, you know where you’re going next.
6. Manage recruitment
Recruiting new staff is an expensive business, so you want to make sure you get the right person first time. Take the time to make sure you know what type of person you want and what skills you need. Remember that attitude is really important – skills can be learned. And don’t forget your existing employees – making sure they are happy, supported and developed in their role will help you to retain them, adding value to your business and removing the need for spending money on replacements.
7. Make the most of your accountant
Your accountant is a great asset for your business, so don’t just talk to them when you have an issue, or when it’s time for your accounts to be filed. Build a close relationship with them, and you’ll get the benefit of professional, up-to-date help and advice that could give your business a competitive advantage. If you don’t have an accountant yet, take a look at this article – Accountants for small businesses – how to choose one
8. Bring in support when you need it
Instead of recruiting permanent staff with all the costs that entails, consider outsourcing some tasks to a virtual assistant. Advantages include access to virtual administration, secretarial, sales, marketing and bookkeeping help on a pay-as-you-go basis for as little as an hour a week. Keep your costs down but your business performance up.
9. Retain your clients
Whilst it’s always great to acquire new clients for your business, it’s important that you work hard to retain and bring added value to the clients you already have. Look after these clients and they are more likely to bring you repeat business, or to refer you to others. Run a reward or loyalty programme, offer special discounts or give them pre-launch access to new products, for example.
10. Look for helpful tools
There’s no shortage of tools out there that will make your business more efficient and help your people to work smarter. From managing expenses to keeping your utility bills down, look for affordable – and sometimes free – tools that will help you manage things better. If you are looking for online tools some of these articles may prove useful.
- Choosing the right small business CRM solution
- How to choose the best small business bookkeeping software
- How to choose the best free web collaboration tools for your small business
These small business budget planning tips are the starting point for your New Year planning process and you should look at them alongside your general business planning and strategy – all your planning goes hand in hand. To find out more about the perks of a virtual assistant working with your business, or if you would like to know more about our other virtual business assistant services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.