September 24, 2018 By Suzanne Robertson

A business budget is key to running a profitable small business. A budget takes a bit of time to set up and calculate but is important for financial management and business growth. With the right template, this process can easier and faster than you might imagine. We’ve researched the financial information needed to create a budget along with free templates available for download. Read on for comprehensive information you need to know.

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What is a Business Budget?

The SBA website has the best description of a business budget that we’ve read:

“In its simplest form, a budget is a detailed plan of future receipts and expenditures.”

A small business budget should:

  • Show sales you need to cover your business costs
  • Figure out how much you can put back into your business
  • Reveal when you can hire additional employees

Why is it Important to Set and Track Your Business Goals?

A budget gives you control by putting you in the driver’s seat. Review your next quarter’s budget to anticipate ups and downs so you can determine when to purchase inventory or hire. It’s also a helpful way to schedule marketing initiatives to spark growth.

Simple Tips to Help you Create a Budget Plan

  • Gather historical information
    Look at three to four years of historical data. These numbers will show seasonal revenue and expense fluctuations.
  • Estimate sales and set profit goals
    No one can predict revenue flawlessly. To estimate sales and set profits, make connections between sales and expenses. Look at past patterns to come up with a reasonable estimate. If your records are appropriately organized, you’ll have an easier time. Reach out to a financial professional if you’re having trouble.
  • Determine fixed and variable costs
    Fixed costs can include rent payments, equipment costs and payroll. Variable costs may include utilities, inventory costs and travel expenses.
  • Calculate your profit margin
    Profit margin is a profitability ratio calculated as net income divided by revenue, or net profits divided by sales. For a comprehensive description of this ratio, visit Investopedia. You’ll learn the important components and how to calculate your business profit margin.
  • Adjust your budget over time
    The SBA suggests that if your budget is going to work for you, you should plan on revisiting it on a monthly basis. You may discover indicators that you need to adjust your budget to stay profitable. Your expenses, staffing needs and inventory purchases might need to be tweaked.

Three Budget Templates to Download

Why go it alone when you can take advantage of existing templates? We’ve researched various kinds of budges and the best way to track. Below are several free downloads you can use from Capterra, Google and accounting pro Seth David.

Killer Small Business Budget Template
Fundera features a business budget template designed by Seth David. David provides consulting and training services in Accounting and productivity based software. Read the full article (linked above) and watch the video for clear and detailed information about how to use the template.

Capterra Free Small Business Budget Template
This site gives the following scenario:

“Imagine going into a month having no idea what you were going to spend or how much money you were going to make. Maybe you’re spending five nights at the Ritz, but maybe you’re eating Taco Bell for dinner every night. If you’re interested in having money in your bank account at the end of the month, you might want to start thinking ahead.”

Google Sheets
This Google template is simple to access and easy to follow. The Annual Business Budget is great for those small business owners just dipping their toe into the budgeting waters.

Next Steps

Once you’ve solidified your small business budget, you might have determined that low-cost funds benefit your business. Your best bet is to consider a low-cost SBA loan that can be used for working capital, high interest debt refinance, real estate purchases and more.

See if you pre-qualify