Let's face it, budgeting can be tough - especially when there are so many moving parts. In the business world, a company will sink or swim based on how they handle things like cash flow, savings (profit), and expenditures. Here we will look to those business owners for sound financial advice.
These are tips that all business owners have learned - sometimes the hard way. When applied to the household budget, your results should mirror a well-oiled, profitable machine.
KNOW the budget
Before a business can open that Excel spreadsheet and start typing in numbers, it needs to understand what revenue is or will likely be. This requires careful planning and budgeting. CEO's across the board recommend overestimating expenses. If a business hopes to end the year in the black, this principle is a lifesaver. The same goes for your personal finance. Are you hoping to stop living paycheck to paycheck? Try planning for more – not less – each month for variable expenses such as groceries and gas. Your "general ledger" will thank you.
HONOR the budget (Or at least try!)
Every business has essentials that must be paid regularly, such as rent and payroll. There are also non-essentials like taking employees to lunch every Friday or beer for the office mini-fridge (although some argue that beer is an essential!). Your personal budget works the same way. The difference between needs and wants is an important one in determining whether you'll be able to stick to your budget.
Are you paying bills throughout the month as they come in? What if a business owner decided to pay his employees at random times throughout the month? This is a sure-fire way to complicate the spending plan. Consider paying your bills only twice a month. It may take extra time and effort on the front end, but the organizational payoff is worth it.
GROW the budget
That has such a nice ring to it, right? Any successful CEO who puts "profit first" can share how doing so has helped grow the business and bottom line. The same principle goes for your finances. Try putting 10% of every paycheck into your savings or interest-bearing account. After a while you may even find putting 20% away isn't so painful. Learning to live on less than you earn is smart budgeting and a great lesson for kids to grasp early.
Respect Your Shareholders
Around here, shareholders are like family members. And at home, family members should be treated as shareholders. Shareholders are part of the team; they matter. They should be informed and respected. Plus, they should have the ability to vote on how the organization operates. Not only does this improve the business (or family budget), it also unifies everyone involved. Want to dig deeper into helping your kids understand good money practices? Here are some helpful tutorials from the FDIC that you can do with the kids.
Clearly there is much to be learned from successful businesses and their owners. It's important to know, honor, and grow your budget. And perhaps most importantly, care for your stakeholders. Taking financial advice from the pros can go a long way in helping your family reach your financial goals.