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A Business Owner’s Guide to Budgeting & Forecasting

A Business Owner’s Guide to Budgeting & Forecasting

Running a business isn’t all glitz and glamour; it’s a rollercoaster ride of challenges and tough decisions.

Effectively managing your finances is one of the most crucial factors that can either make or break your business. That’s where the significance of budgeting and forecasting comes into play.

In this article, we’ll dive into why these money-savvy practices are absolute must-haves for business owners, in plain English, without the jargon: 

1. Money in Control and Smart Choices

Budgeting and forecasting are like the financial GPS for your business. A budget is like your financial plan for the year, showing where the money is coming from and where it’s going. By comparing what you planned with what’s happening in reality, you can spot any money hiccups and fix them.

Forecasting is like looking into a crystal ball, but with real data. It helps you predict the financial future based on what’s happened before. This crystal ball, if used right, helps you make smart moves. Whether you’re spending, pricing, or thinking about expanding, knowing the financial lay of the land is your secret weapon.

2. Where’s the Money Going?

Ever feel like your money is vanishing into thin air? That’s where budgeting and forecasting come to the rescue. They help you figure out where every penny is headed so that you can use your resources wisely. Without them, it’s like playing a game of financial hide-and-seek.

Imagine you run a bakery, and forecasting tells you that people will be craving your croissants in the winter. You can stock up on butter and flour, so you don’t run out when the croissant frenzy hits. Efficient resource allocation like this can save you money, make customers happy, and boost your profits.

3. Dodging Curveballs

Business is like a game of chess. You need to be ready for surprise moves. Budgeting and forecasting help you anticipate and dodge those financial curveballs. You’ll be ready for whatever the business battlefield throws at you.

Let’s say you’re in the fashion business, and forecasting shows that a competitor is about to launch a mega-sale just when you’re releasing your new collection. Armed with this info, you can strategise, maybe even launch earlier, or offer unique perks to keep your customers loyal. That’s risk management in action!

4. Wooing Investors and Getting Cash

At some point, you might need a financial boost to take your business to the next level. Investors, banks, or venture capitalists need to know you’ve got your financial act together. That’s where budgeting and forecasting come in handy.

A solid budget and forecast show potential investors you’re not winging it. They can trust that their money is going to a well-thought-out plan, not a financial free-for-all. This can make it much easier to secure the funding you need.

5. Targets and Keeping Score

You can’t win a game if you don’t know the score. Budgets and forecasts help you set targets and keep score in the business game. Whether it’s doubling your sales or snagging a bigger slice of the market, you can use these tools to track your progress and adjust your game plan.

For instance, if you run a tech startup and your forecast says you’re not hitting your revenue targets, you can reassess you’re pricing or marketing strategy. It’s like having a coach on your financial team, guiding you toward victory.

6. Being Ready for Anything

In today’s fast-paced world, you need to be nimble. Budgeting and forecasting help you plan for change and adapt to it. You’ll be ready to pivot and thrive, whether it’s a sudden trend or a market shake-up. 

Imagine you own a trendy smartphone accessory shop. Forecasting reveals that people are going crazy for a new phone model. You can quickly shift your inventory and marketing to ride that wave. Flexibility is your secret sauce for success.

7. Outsmarting the Tax Man

Taxes can be a real headache for business owners. Budgeting and forecasting can help you outsmart the tax man legally. By predicting your income and expenses, you can plan for tax time and find ways to minimise what you owe.

For example, if you run a small design studio and your forecast shows a big year-end profit, you can invest in new equipment or hire more staff to reduce your taxable income. It’s like finding loopholes in the tax maze.

8. Motivating Your Team

Lastly, your budget and forecast aren’t just for your eyes only. Sharing them with your team can boost motivation and engagement. When your employees understand the financial goals, they’re more likely to work towards them.

Let’s say you own a coffee shop and aim to double your revenue this year. When your baristas know this goal, they might suggest loyalty programs or upselling strategies. Everyone’s on the same page, working toward the same prize.

9. The Mechanics of Budgeting and Forecasting

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you of the merits of good budgeting and forecasting techniques, but the next question is likely how? 

The best way to prepare and formulate budgets is with a 3-Way Cash Flow, which incorporates a trading position (or profit and loss), a balance sheet showing expected assets and liabilities, and a cash flow statement.  Since cash is king for any business, the last part of the budget is probably the most important – it shows the impact of all your decisions, forecasts and planning with respect to the business.  That will include not just trading but also investments, borrowings, collection of debtors and payment of creditors, meeting statutory liabilities, and everything else that goes on in your business on a day-to-day basis.

Check out our other article on 3-Way Cash Flows for some more insight into this indispensable tool.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, budgeting and forecasting are your trusty sidekicks in business. They help you stay on top of your finances, make savvy moves, and dodge financial curveballs. Plus, they impress investors, keep you on track with your goals, and help you adapt to change. So, don’t let your business sail without this financial GPS. With budgeting and forecasting in your toolbox, you’re equipped to steer your business towards success in any storm.

At dVT Group, we have an experienced team ready to help you and your business develop robust and informative budgets and forecasts at whatever level of detail suits your needs.  To discuss how we can help, contact Suelen McCallum on (02) 9633 3333 or by email at mail@dvtgroup.com.au.

dVT Group is a business advisory firm that specialises in business turnaround, insolvency (both corporate and personal), business valuations and business strategy support.

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dVT Group is a business advisory firm that specialises in business turnaround, insolvency (both corporate and personal), business valuations and business strategy support.

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