Starting a business can be an overwhelming process. Business plans, leases, financing, legal documents — and monthly budget sheets. Granted, you’d almost certainly rather spend time refining your product, talking with happy customers, or honing your investor pitch than hunch over spreadsheets, calculating the seemingly impossible amount of money it’s going to take to get your business off the ground. But budgeting is absolutely essential to your success.
How does a monthly budget worksheet help you?
Your monthly budget worksheet is a roadmap for your business, helping you define priorities, understand where your business is going, and determine whether you’re on the right path. It’s a key factor when raising capital, whether you're applying for a loan or pitching investors, and a cornerstone of your business plan. It can help you minimize risk and experiment with how to best allocate resources. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to create an accurate and realistic budget that's specific to your business and goals.
How much money do you have? How much do you need to spend on materials, manpower, and marketing? How much revenue is required to meet your business goals? Can you afford to buy new equipment, run a new advertising campaign, or hire another team member?
How to Make a Monthly Budget
Costs typically fall into two categories: monthly expenses, and one-time costs. Employee salaries, lease payments, utilities, insurance, etc. are all recurring monthly expenses, whereas purchasing equipment, consultant fees, etc. constitute one-time costs.
What to include in your monthly expense sheet:
- Revenue: Estimated sales figures (err on the conservative side if you can't be exact)
- Fixed costs: Rent, insurance, etc. These figures don’t typically change from month to month.
- Variable costs: These costs typically correlate with sales, such as the cost of raw materials to produce your product, inventory, shipping/freight, etc.
- Semi-variable costs: These expenses are influenced by the volume of your business, including salaries, marketing and advertising, etc.
- Profits: To determine profits, subtract your costs from your revenue. Once you have a profit estimate, you can determine how to invest in your business, whether that means upgrading equipment, moving to a larger office or better location, adding staff, or giving your employees raises.
Now that you’ve set up your monthly budget, make sure to revisit it periodically. It should not be a static document that you check once a quarter or only at the start of the year. Revisit it every month and see where you can adjust or experiment — maybe shift some funds to give your marketing budget a boost for a few months and see how it affects your sales pipeline. If you find you’re getting a good return, that’s useful information when it comes to future decisions about allocating resources. Reviewing your budget data will also help you anticipate your future spending needs, profits, and cash flow.
Downloadable Templates and Resources
Tools for Tracking Business Expenses and Budgets
Along with a monthly budget spreadsheet template, the right project management tool is one of the best ways to prevent out-of-control spending and overrun costs: you’ll know exactly where your work stands, how much money and time has been spent, and be able to more accurately predict the cost and timeline for the entire project. to easily track your project budgets.