January is financial wellness month! I’m thankful that time has been set aside at the beginning of the year for us to all get our finances in order. It’s a shame that so many people lose track by December, but 2012 could be the year that you choose to make it through December with your finances still in line. If you would like to try this, here are a couple of pointers to keep your business on track this year:
1-know what you spend.
If you aren’t aware of what you’re spending (other than it’s a lot) you’re at risk for not only bankrupting your company but not having money when you do need it. Set up a spreadsheet that shows exactly (or approximately) what your bills are each month. Things like water and electricity may change a little, but most bills should be predictable. Also having a program to manage all your bills and income is helpful too.
2-have a budget.
Even if it’s a very rough budget, say to the thousand each month, you will know better if you have wiggle room when you’re looking at a marketing campaign, new staff member or other purchase. Make sure that all your team members know and agree to the budget.
3-live with that budget.
Unless your income is increasing exponentially each month you really have to agree to work within that budget. If you have a purchase that won’t fit in the budget that month, plan for the next 2-3 months to purchase it. Only look for special financing if it will really help you and not end up making you pay twice as much later.
I know that when you’re getting started in the business it’s hard to pay yourself, but it’s essential. Even if you’re paying yourself $1 per month, at least pay yourself some salary. My suggestion would actually be to pay yourself more and spend less as you get started so you’re less at risk if you don’t make it. There are lots of helpful tools online to help you get started for little or no cost.
5-invest in yourself.
The business will only grow as much as you grow. If you’re not growing neither will the business. Part of that budget each month should allow for either time off to take in some free educational opportunities or finances invested in taking seminars to learn more.
6-pay off your debts.
Your first goal in business is to help people. Your second goal is to make money. Your third goal should be to be debt free.
7-always look for ways to make more money.
This may sound silly, but some businesses just stick with what they’ve got and don’t look for other ways to make money. At the very least each year you should evaluate your financial state and your business and see if there are other ways you can be helping people and earn more money.
What do you do to stay money-wise in your business?