A great idea can ignite the urge to create a new company but money management is what makes it last. Here’s a crash course for managing your money while building your company from the ground up. So how much does it cost to start a business?
According to Quickbooks, 40% of small businesses start with $5,000 or less. Not the most daunting number but definitely not pocket change either. If you don’t have $5,000 saved up already, you can try obtaining the cash by running a crowdfunding campaign- IndieGogo is a great choice, as some other platforms like Kickstarter don’t give you the money you’ve raised unless you meet your goal. You can try pitching to Angel Investors (shoutout Lori Greiner from Shark Tank) or maybe even a relative or family friend who might be interested in investing in your company in exchange for 10% of proceeds. Another great option is taking out a loan, companies like Lending Tree or Prospur are great options that allow you to customize how much you want to loan out and how fast you want to pay it back. Family members would be the most ideal way because you most likely will not have to pay interest and have more leeway on when you pay them back, however if you want complete ownership and creative direction over the company a loan might be best for you. A loan could be risky because if your business does not take off in the first year, you will have trouble paying back that loan with its accrued interest. That’s why it’s important to not take out a bigger loan than you need. Do the math to figure out how much exactly you need to start and try loaning, borrowing, or fundraising for that amount.
Being a small business owner, you’re going to want to cut costs as much as possible. Make sure that you keep track of your expenses, your gasoline/transportation costs, etc. Taxes for small businesses come quarterly and can be pretty intimidating. But if you know your tax write-offs, you’ll be much better off in the long run. Be sure to estimate how much you’ll need to put aside for taxes each quarter. The last thing you want is to go to pay your taxes and find out you owe $12,000 that you don’t have! Keep track of how much you are making and how much you already have set aside just for taxes.
Make sure that you separate your personal and business finances! This is huge! It can be really hard to keep track of your spending if all of your money is in your personal account. By separating the accounts, you have data on your business expenses and how much you are making. You’ll also be able to have that money set aside for taxes later on or continued Marketing or Advertising budgets. If you have a single member LLC you’ll be able to open a small business account without having to pay a monthly fee. Go in and speak to a representative about each option and figure out what’s best for you. You’ll be able to get debit cards for each person on your team as well, just make sure that you have complete trust in that person before extending them a business card as they will have direct access to the account and the ability to withdrawal cash from the account.
Squarespace really does a phenomenal job at helping you create and manage a website. Clean lines and intuitive buttons make for a user-friendly experience while the layouts available make for any website to look chic. At $18 a month with 24/7 customer support and website analytics, you can’t get a better deal than this. If you plan on selling anything such as e-commerce it has integrated services to make this much easier than it would be with another platform. Custom shipping options, credit card support through Stripe, and the ability to manage and print shipping labels and expenses through ShipStation.
Track all of your expenses. It may be a tedious task, but you’ll be glad you did so in the end. It is essentially gathering data on your business. By the quarter’s end you will have an accurate view on your profits and loss. This will help shape the path your company follows in the future. If you keep track of one time expenses versus recurring expenses as well, you’ll be able to shave down costs in the future after analyzing your spending pattern and determining what is really worth the cost. Whether you do this manually or digitally it’s good to do monthly check-ins as well. It can be easy for pesky recurring subscriptions to keep charging you without realizing it. Be sure to go through all of your statements each month and cancel anything you don’t want or follow up on any suspicious charges. You can use a software or just a standard personalized excel to keep track, there's plenty of options but some of our favorites are Quickbooks, Wave, and Excel.
Quickbooks has three apps for managing money. Quickbooks Accounting tracks your profits/losses, invoices, expenses, sales and customers. Quickbooks Self-Employed helps you track the little details of your business such as organizing expenses, calculating GPS at all times, invoices and taxes. Quickbooks GoPayment serves as a credit card reader for small businesses that rely heavily on daily sales. All apps are accessible online and can be purchased for a monthly subscription. New downloaders receive a free trial.
Very similar to Quickbooks, it helps manage all business finances on a monthly subscription.
An oldie but a goodie, Excel is the tried and true method to keeping track of company expenses. With clear-cut templates and a recognizable software, you can’t go wrong with this one especially if you already have it installed on your computer. Lynda.com has useful tutorials for tips and tricks on operating Excel.
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