Finances don’t come easy or naturally to most people. If they did, household debt (in the U.S. alone) probably wouldn’t be in the trillions.
Blame a lack of education on proper money management and/or the consumerist culture we’ve built for ourselves. Whatever the cause, settling for a phrase like, “I’m just not a numbers person,” is not the solution. Especially when you’re running your own business.
As an entrepreneur, the onus is on you to do your research, learn, and be disciplined enough to prioritize managing your finances alongside all other operational tasks.
While there are plenty of money management missteps to avoid when running a business, here are four key ones to remain mindful of.
Not Calculating for Expenses and Taxes
Going from the “normal” 9-to-5 to running your own show can be a shock to people. As an employee, you’re used to receiving consistent paychecks. You’re also used to said paychecks accounting for all of the taxes you’ll be responsible for come tax season.
When you get that first payout from a client as an entrepreneur, it’s going to be really easy to get excited at the dollar amount—so much so that you forget it’s not all yours to spend.
Make sure that you’re putting away a portion of every payment received for quarterly taxes. Additionally, you’ll want to forecast your cash flow—accounting for upcoming expenses on the horizon.
Mixing Your Personal and Business Spending
For the sake of keeping clean and organized financial records, make sure to separate your personal and business-based spending. In other words, get yourself a business credit card to place all of your expenses on.
You’ll get a feel for how this helps when using a platform like QuickBooks to track everything. Instead of having to sync multiple credit and debit cards, you’ll only have to connect one that you can then review and categorize line items from.
Trying to Save Money by Managing It Yourself
When money’s tight, it’s easy to justify wanting to do everything yourself. What you don’t calculate for in doing so though, is the value of your time.
Even if you’re not spending cold hard cash on a third-party tool or service, you’re spending time that could be allocated elsewhere—towards tactics for growing your business.
Be willing to acknowledge when it’s time to call in reinforcements. Especially as far as taxes are concerned, you can easily end up spending everything earned in the short-term on long-term mistakes.
Failing to Budget for the Future
From balance sheets to startup costs, there are plenty of tools out there for financially planning ahead.
If you decide to invest in an accountant, don’t opt out of tracking the basics—like your budget. Keeping an eye on your numbers at every stage of business development makes it much easier to raise the red flag and get ahead of issues before they turn serious.