- FREE worksheet for this blog post can be downloaded here. > (Business Planning Worksheet)
- Business Partner HERE is the notebook that I reference and use to plan for our business. I also use excel with formulas, but I also like to physically write everything out so I can visually see it and plan for success!
It is really hard to write a post on business specifics, because so many businesses are different. Products vs. services, seasonal, the size of the company, etc. When I was a wedding photographer, cash flow would heavily vary, it was seasonal and I was a solo entrepreneur so I only had to figure out “payroll” for myself – no employees!
With STARTplanner.com we also have busier seasons, but it is a bigger operation and we have a true payroll with employees and we play at a much bigger numbers game! For us, November, December, and January, are our busiest months followed by June and July for the mid-year line. So again, varying cash flow, but there are different ways to navigate the peaks and valleys depending on the company. Lines of credits, building up cash then depleting, owners not taking paychecks, (yes-the sad but true reality!) as a business owner you do what you have to do but strive to run your business as efficiently and effectively as possible.
When you start a company the hardest thing to do is guess projections. Because… well, you are truly guessing. You can look at competitors, gauge your demand by your marketing potentials but you really have no idea. Going into the second and third year you will start having past data to refer to for your decisions so you are not blindly making them.
If you are someone who runs a business, these are all things you should be doing for success!
- Keep up-to-date accounting. I know so many people that do their books once a year right before tax season. You can not make decisions or plan for anything without staying on top of your numbers weekly.
- Constantly looking at marketing efforts assessing return on investment month to month or campaign to campaign.
- Staying on top of cash flow. Cash flow is very different than the profitability of the business. For instance, we pay for half our inventory 2 months before we even put products on pre-order – this means we have to account for that lump sum and plan for it!
- Make sure you are servicing others. (This is not really number related, but it as at the same time.) Reassess that your business is filling a need or providing a product that is still relevant to the market, if it’s not, its time to make adjustments.
- Reports. Not all entrepreneurs are strong with numbers. That is okay but I think every entrepreneur should have a trusted advisor that breaks it down and stays on top of it for them! If you are saying “That sounds like me!” I think at a minimum, it really does help to educate yourself to understand the basics. Numbers, projections, marketing budgets–understanding this will help you make decisions.
Being organized and staying on top of numbers is a must. I am going to show you why we developed the Business Partner and I even copied two pages to give you a brief overview of how I use it.
So if you haven’t already gotten this free download HERE from PART 1 and PART 2 of the financial series then get it!
Here is a brief video overview!
I have directions and tips throughout the document as well! Let’s get organized and make it happen!