Keeping your business afloat means bringing in more money than you spend. The concept seems simple, but as a Mzansi-preneur you know it’s not as easy as it sounds. These business finance do’s and don’ts will help you manage your money.
As a business owner you need to wear many hats: you’re a manager, marketer, salesperson, ideas guy/gal, boss, and (scary for those who hate numbers) a financial manager. If the idea of handling the books for your business makes your heart flutter and your palms sweaty you do have the option of hiring a pro to ensure everything’s in order, but there are certain concepts and practices you need to get comfortable with.
Let’s start with what not to do…
Overextend your credit:
Business success doesn’t happen overnight, so it will probably be a while before your business becomes profitable. Whether this is a side hustle or you’re ‘all in’, things are going to be tough, money is going to be tight. If you decide to take a loan or use a credit card to cover some of your expenses, make sure that you can honour your monthly repayments. Failure to pay will affect your credit score, which could have a negative effect on your plans to grow your business in the future.
Hire too many people, too quickly:
Salaries are often the biggest business expense, so make sure your business really needs each person you bring on board. You also need to provide equipment and tools for them to do their jobs, so factor that into the costs of hiring a new employee.
Be too flashy:
The entrepreneurs we see dropping billions on private jets, custom-made suits and mansions are the exception. Your day may come, but for now your focus is on building a healthy business. Don’t waste money on fancy business cards, expensive branding, big offices or state-of-the-art equipment. Make sure you have the basics covered, and consider snapping up previously loved items.
Advertise beyond your target market:
There are so many budget-friendly marketing options available (such as social media and community platforms), don’t throw all your money into costly mass market adverts or printing too many flyers.
Lose sight of the bigger picture:
You will have your hands full with the day-to-day realities of running a business, but make some time to take a step back and do an audit on the state of your business. You need to make sure you aren’t spending outside what you budgeted, and you need to keep updating your cash flow projections. Try to think about the next six months and what that will look like for your business.
And now, some tips on good money management for your business.
Set a salary for yourself:
Your salary needs to be part of your business expenses. Setting your own salary might sound like a dream come true ... but you need to consider a few things, such as how much a similar business would pay you for the work you do, whether your wages equal your duties performed, how your salary compares to your employees’ wages and if it is enough to live comfortably (and pay those personal bills!).
Draw up a budget:
Keeping track of your income and expenses is key (and why we’ve mentioned it three times already in this article). You need to make sure that you aren’t spending more money on things such as salaries, bills, equipment, stock, advertising and marketing, etc. than what your business is making. The easiest way to do this is to have a budget in place that lists all the costs involved with running your business and the exact amounts of cash you expect to allocate to them. Check and update this budget every.single.day so that you are immediately aware when something costs more than you were expecting. Here is a basic template you can use:
Save up for growth:
You might be a small business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have big dreams. Have you thought about how you’ll make those dreams a reality? When you’re killing it in the business game, it’s time to explore your growth plans, but that’ll cost you. You can turn to a bank for a business loan, you can even approach investors or funding organisations with your plans, but it won’t be easy. A smart business owner thinks about the future and starts saving for it from day one.
GoalSave makes saving easy
GoalSave is a free savings tool that you can link to your TymeBank EveryDay Business account. Open up to 10 different GoalSaves to manage your savings goals and earn as much as 8% interest per year. There is also a calculator to help you work out how much you need to save, and for how long, to reach your goal.
How to use GoalSave
- Login to your TymeBank EveryDay Business account online, click on a new goal and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Give your GoalSave a name, e.g. ‘New Laptop’ or ‘Website Upgrade’.
- Put money in or take it out at any time. But remember the longer you leave your cash in there, the more interest it will earn.
- Watch it grow!