Your budget has a lot to do with the success or failure of your business. Creating a budget is key to managing cash flow and ensuring your bottom line is optimal, and managing your budget over time is just as important.

A business budget should cover estimated revenue, regular and variable expenses, cash flow, and profit. If you’re just starting out, you can get free budget detail worksheets from the Small Business Administration. Your local chapter of SCORE can also provide mentoring, including budgeting advice, to entrepreneurs working to start or grow an existing business. Contact SCORE in Northern Nevada or the Las Vegas SCORE Chapter

Here are six tips for creating and managing your business budget.

1. Utilize Software

Software can be incredibly helpful, especially if you're not financially minded. Use it to create your initial budget, and also to track expenses and manage your budget along the way. Explore solutions from providers like Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks, and others.

"Most accounting software has a built-in budgeting tool, so if you’re frustrated with your Excel budget, take a step back and check whether your current software has a tool you could utilize to assist," says Steve Jordan at Forbes.1 "This may lead to increased efficiency since you can link your results to multiple prior years and analyze the current-year budget with a simple click of a button. Let your software work for you!"

2. Consult a Financial Professional

Consider speaking with an expert at budgeting and finance. While it may seem counterintuitive to pay someone to help you save money, it might be more than worth it to find out how a financial professional can help you optimize your business spending, estimate cash flow needs, and plan for the future.

3. Plan for Less Than the Best

As you create a budget, you might be doing so with an unrealistic amount of optimism. This mistake can create serious problems when things don't go according to plan.

"Entrepreneurs don't go into a business because they feel it might do fine," says Anthony Cavaluzzi at Entrepreneur.2 "They go into a business because they expect it will do great. While great is the expectation, the budget needs to reflect fine. It can be challenging to do with a business you're excited about, but planning for the worst is the best way to realize the amazing. Have extra savings in the budget for a rainy day and plan on scenarios where costs might be higher than expected and revenue lower. The main idea to keep in mind here is preparing for a high amount of savings and lackluster performance to create a lot of financial slack. Well, that and the surest path to happiness is reduced expectations. Now go blow it out of the water."

4. Find Ways to Cut Costs

To get the most out of your budget, you should find costs that can be cut with relatively little pain. Look for ways to cut supply and production costs. Shop for better deals on supplies and find ways to get more out of the materials you have on hand. Eliminate waste. Shop around for different service providers, and keep your debt under control. Look for ways to increase efficiency with your marketing budget so that you can lower it without feeling a negative impact.

5. Look Into Loan and Credit Options

If you're having trouble finding the money in your budget to pay for critical items that can help your business succeed, speak with your bank, and find out about the loan3 and credit3 options available to you. Even if you don't need a small business loan, a new business credit card3 or line of credit might be just the thing to get you on track.

6. Review Your Budget Regularly

Don't just make a budget and assume that it should apply indefinitely. Take time to review it on a regular basis and always look for ways to adjust it. You may need to increase it at times to improve ROI, or you may simply find new ways to cut costs. Perhaps new expenses have occurred since the last review, and changes need to be made to accommodate them.

Your budget should always be near the top of your mind as you engage in business operations on a day-to-day basis. While providing a great product or service and keeping customers happy are indeed priorities, doing so on budget will help ensure your continued success.




3. Subject to credit approval. Certain terms, conditions and restrictions apply. See a banker for details.