"A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it."
--- William Feather
Business leaders are notorious for looking at every nickel and squeezing every penny. Of course this is a good thing and any business leader that doesn't watch the pennies is either independently wealthy or not very good at business. Even the independently wealthy watch the money. The problem is that watching every coin works only if you work within a budget.
Some people see the word budget in the same light as some four-letter words that shouldn't be said in public. But budgets shouldn't be feared, but embraced as another worthy tool to use toward making a business a success.
"We might come closer to balancing the Budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule."
--- Ronald Reagan
Creating and sticking to a budget is actually a simplistic action at its basic form--- put all of the business Incoming money on one side of a piece of paper and all of the business out-going on the opposite side of the page. Assign a category for each expense and make the money fit. It is that simple. The reason most of us fear creating a budget is because it does take some time initially and it takes practice to stick to it.
"When I did 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', I had the idea on Monday and the following Tuesday it was in budget at Paramount. I couldn't walk."
--- John Hughes
Running a business within a budget is a freeing feeling. It gives the business leader a snapshot of the health of the business and allows wise decisions to be made regarding purchases and expansion. A well-developed budget will also give your team a guideline for knowing where the pitfalls are and where profitable areas of business can become even more profitable, beefing up a particular category of the budget.
"The financial report makes it very clear that if we got into honest budgeting today, that in fact we would find ourselves with a much larger deficit than we have today."
The first step in creating a budget is to begin today scribbling down on a piece of paper all of the expenses involved in your business. You can do this. It will take about 10 minutes and is worth the time invested. Caution: this will be an eye-opening experience and may cause a momentary state of depression.
Then, get a statement of the last 12 months of income. Put that on the other side of the page and compare the two. Develop your own categories for expenses such as labor, utilities, insurance, etc. You are now on your way to creating a workable budget. Stop for now and continue tomorrow. Work on it every day for a month until you have the budget that you are comfortable with. Then, show it to your team and ask for input.
"It's not the having, it's the getting."
--- Charles Spurgeon
You may find that this little exercise alone will cause you and your team to tighten the belt, make more sales calls, focus more on marketing and good customer service, and think more in terms of quality products and service for premium prices.
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