Build the Best Budget for Your Small Business or Side Hustle

A man counts coins on a table

Build the Best Budget for Your Small Business or Side Hustle

Managing finances is crucial for the success of any small business. A well-structured budget not only helps you plan for future expenses but also allows you to identify areas where you can save money and allocate resources more efficiently.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a budget for your small business.

Step 1: Understand Your Business Goals

Before you start crunching numbers, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your business goals. Are you aiming to expand your product line, hire more staff or enter a new market? Your budget should align with these objectives, providing a financial road map to achieve them.

Step 2: Review Your Past Financial Records

Look at your financial records from the past year. Analyze your income and expenses to identify patterns and trends. This historical data will serve as a baseline for your budget, helping you make more accurate projections.

Step 3: List Your Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are expenses that remain constant regardless of your business activity. These may include:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Salaries and wages
  • Insurance premiums
  • Loan repayments
  • Depreciation

List all your fixed costs and sum them up. These expenses form the foundation of your budget.

Step 4: Identify Variable Costs

Variable costs fluctuate based on your business activity. Common variable expenses include:

  • Raw materials and inventory
  • Utility bills
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Shipping and delivery charges
  • Travel expenses

Estimate these costs based on your past records and expected future activity. It’s wise to be slightly conservative with these estimates to avoid under-budgeting.

Step 5: Project Your Revenue

Estimate your expected revenue for the upcoming year. Use historical sales data, market research and sales forecasts to make realistic projections. Consider seasonal fluctuations and industry trends. Break down your revenue projections by month or quarter to get a clear picture of your cash flow.

Step 6: Plan for Unexpected Expenses

Every business faces unexpected expenses, whether it’s equipment repairs, sudden market changes or unexpected opportunities. Set aside a contingency fund—typically around 5-10% of your total budget—to cover these unforeseen costs.

Step 7: Create a Profit and Loss Statement

A profit and loss (P&L) statement is a summary of your revenues, costs and expenses during a specific period. It shows whether your business is profitable or operating at a loss. Creating a monthly or quarterly P&L statement can help you track your financial performance and make necessary adjustments.

Step 8: Monitor and Adjust Your Budget

Your budget is not a static document; it’s a dynamic tool that should be regularly reviewed and adjusted. Monitor your actual income and expenses against your budgeted amounts. Identify any variances and understand the reasons behind them. Adjust your budget as needed to reflect changes in your business environment or goals.

Step 9: Utilize Budgeting Software

There are numerous budgeting tools and software available that can simplify the process. Tools like QuickBooks, Xero and FreshBooks offer features like automated expense tracking, real-time financial reporting and integration with your bank accounts. These tools can save you time and provide more accurate financial insights.

Step 10: Seek Professional Advice

If you’re new to budgeting or find the process overwhelming, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or accountant. They can provide valuable insights, help you set realistic financial goals and ensure your budget is aligned with your business strategy.

Creating a budget for your small business is an essential step in managing your finances effectively. By understanding your business goals, reviewing past financial records and carefully planning your expenses and revenues, you can create a budget that supports your business growth and stability. Regularly monitoring and adjusting your budget ensures you stay on track and are prepared for any financial challenges that come your way. With a well-crafted budget, you can make informed decisions, optimize your resources and achieve your business objectives.

Elevate your business with KCSourceLink and get connected for FREE to local expertise and support! Just tell us a bit about what you need, and we’ll whip up your customized plan of next steps and the resources that can help you succeed at every stage of your journey. Wanna chat? Call 816-235-6500 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Thumbnail by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash.

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