Tag Archives: budget

7 Steps to a Better Business Budget

Many business owners have some expectation of what their expenses and revenues will be in coming months, but most have not taken the time to put together and use a real budget.

In order to better understand your business, and maintain good financial stability – a business owner should consider the following when developing their budget:

 

  1. Look to the past – The past gives a good indication of what your ongoing expenses are, both regular monthly and occasional quarterly or annual expenses. Make sure your expenses are categorized consistently and your finances are up to date, otherwise, you’re not looking at accurate information.  Factor out any one-off expenses or things you don’t expect to have to purchase in the coming year.

 

  1. Look to the future – What are you going to do differently in the coming months? Do you expect sales to grow?  If so, will there be any cost to make that happen or satisfy your orders?  Do you want to hire?  Plan that out.  It’s great to dream big here – think of everything you could possibly want and then prioritize.

 

  1. Create a Spreadsheet – Microsoft Excel, Access, or any spreadsheet platforms will keep your business organized and well maintained. Use this to work up your budget (or email me to get my template sent to you). But once your budget is ‘final’ put it in your accounting system for easier tracking of budget to actuals.

 

  1. Expect the Unexpected – Stuff happens. You know it does.  Add a little padding to areas where you’re likely to need or want it – Office expenses, Equipment, Marketing, or areas you determine.

 

  1. Looking to Cut Costs – Use the budgeting process to see where you’re spending too much money and come up with other options. Energy costs can be astronomical if employees don’t get into a habit of turning off computers when not in use, turning off lights where they aren’t needed, and so forth. Solar programs may be beneficial in the long run to save on energy costs – its environmentally friendly and tax cut incentives are also a plus  Marketing costs can be a black hole if they’re not generating a return.  Make sure your dollars are working for you!

 

  1. Be a Smart Shopper – By shopping around for different suppliers or services, you can find competitive rates for what your business needs to operate. Say you’re a commercial contractor – you’re likely to outsource the mason work for the building clients. Be sure to shop around for quotes on the labor, supplies, and other factors that may come into play with your business. But be careful – just because someone gives you a great price, doesn’t mean their work is quality.

 

  1. Review Your Business Periodically – Make sure you have a great bookkeeper who track daily expenses, profits, revenue and inventory, and then keep track of how you’re doing against your budget. Having an accountant can help with reporting, or a CFO for-hire (like me!) who can help with budgeting and other financial forecasting.

Budgeting for SEO – with Guest Blogger Sharon Arena

By Guest Blogger: Sharon Arena of Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC

Running a small business is not easy.  Most small businesses have limited resources and extremely tight budgets, especially when it comes to sales and marketing.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is best defined as the process by which the visibility of your website can be improved within search engines. This means that your website will be more visible on the first few pages on Google or Yahoo, rather than lost in the back.

Some business owners don’t have the budget to spend on web design or an SEO organization, so often they try to do it themselves or.  Expensive SEO does not necessarily mean better, but it should at least indicate a level of care and quality.  Starting off with a small SEO budget could make it more expensive in the long run.  Regardless of the cost of SEO, services for organic searches typically do not yield immediate results.  The time frame for getting results depends on variables such as competition, budget, the demand for product or service and of course the search engines.  Sometimes due to the uncertainty of the outcome, many businesses will try to minimize their risk by allotting small amounts of money from their budget, and not understand the services they are paying for.

Setting up SEO isn’t a one-time event. Search-engine algorithms change constantly to regular research and knowledge is required. As much as we’d like to see instant gratification with our hard work, results often take months to be seen – especially if you’re newer to doing business online. When starting an SEO plan, make sure you have clearly defined goals for your SEO efforts. You’ll need web analytic software in place so you can keep track of what’s working and what’s not. If you decide to pay for an SEO company, make sure you ask a lot of questions. Ask what kind of tactics they use. Ask what are the risks involved?

If you are paying for SEO then the goal should be to see an increase in returns, not just rankings.  Just keep things in perspective – spending a few hundred dollars a month and expecting major results is probably not realistic.  Essentially, when paying for SEO you are paying for time.  SEO can, however, deliver quick results. It can be effective in the short term and help a business who needs immediate results.

It’s important to consider SEO as a marketing campaign.  Sometimes you catch a break in the beginning, but usually, a successful campaign is built over time.  SEO is not so much about the cost, but more as an investment – a crucial piece of your companies marketing plan.  SEO can increase sales without a proportionate increase in marketing costs, which will result in increased profits over time.  Clients are constantly researching online, and are using the internet for comparison with different companies.

SEO plays a vital role in the researching and buying cycle.  Essentially, it’s about being where your potential customers are and guiding them towards what you are offering.  SEO can make your brand stronger, better and well recognized.  As people search for critical and relevant keywords and phrases, they should find you at the top of search results.  SEO has been proven to be one of the most highly cost-effective forms of online marketing, delivering a higher return for every dollar invested.  Having effective SEO can attract thousands, even millions of targeted prospects to your business website.

The residual effect and impact of SEO continue far beyond the time you invest into a campaign because the momentum will sustain for many weeks, often years, making SEO very cost efficient as a marketing choice for your business.

For more information about Sharon Arena or this topic, visit her website at www.saltyreddogmarketing.com.