You probably feel like you're on a see-saw. The more money you have the less stressed you are, and the less money the more stressed! And that's probably the game you'll play forever if you don't get your money straight. Let's cover 5 ways to manage money as a business owner that will inevitably reduce stress.
Have an Emergency Fund
You need an emergency fund for you business, just like with your personal finances. This fund will cover you when you have a slow month or in case of an emergency. The amount you need is totally dependent on what your business looks like. But a business with a lot of overhead will need much more to ensure you can cover your expenses and your personal pay, when times get tough. Don't let yourself get stuck in a slow month with zero back up. Your mortgage doesn't care if you have a slow month!
Save for Taxes
Separately from your emergency fund, you need to be setting aside money for your taxes. I recommend saving at least 20% of your net revenue for taxes. Start saving early because tax season is always around the corner! I also encourage you to pay quarterly taxes, this means you'll pay an estimated amount every quarter. Then at the end of the year you'll pay the remaining balance, or you might get some money back if you overpaid. If you don't pay quarterly, then you will pay a small penalty every quarter and you'll owe a lump sum at the end of the year. Quarterly payments ensure that you're making a dent in what you owe but also saves you from the penalties. A CPA could help you with this and provide a lot of insight on taxes for your specific business.
Keep Money in the Business
Yes, I'm telling you to have an emergency fund, save for your taxes and keep money in the business. The percentage that you keep in the business will fully depend on how you run the business, profit margins and what your profit and loss look like. The money you put in the business will give you the flexibility to buy new equipment, hire new team members or invest in an office. You should always see the money in your business growing, if it's not, then you should seek a financial advisor to ensure you're profitable and not bleeding money.
What are these? Deductibles are the tax-deductible expenses subtracted from adjusted gross income. Deductibles reduce taxable income and thereby reduce the tax liability.
So in English, this means that your deductibles are expenses that you need for your business that you won't have to tax. These are things like equipment, marketing, software, office space, etc. Be sure to educate yourself on what these look like in your business. You can't consider all expenses as deductibles, even if you need them. If that was the case, I would deduct Diet Dr. Pepper every year!
Business Credit Cards
Damned if you do, damned if you don't! Business credit cards are tricky.
You can build credit for your business.
You can accrue points for travel or cashback.
High credit limit.
Easy access to cash.
You can damage your credit if you aren't responsible.
You can acquire debt if you're not responsible.
High interest rates.
I'm not going to say you should or shouldn't get one. But be mindful of your own behaviors. Can you be trusted with a credit card? Remember, it's not just you anymore, this is for your business!
Being in debt, running into a slow month and taxes are some of the stresses that come with running a business. But be proactive, do your research and play it safe! The more you know how to manage your money, the less stressful it will be!