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Business Goal Setting on a Budget

Congratulations! You’ve applied for – and gotten – a loan for your small business. You’re eager to put the money that’s now in the bank to work. Sure, you wish you had more, but by using your funds wisely, you can increase the odds of turning a nice profit. And who knows; maybe one day you’ll be the feature story in Fortune. Goal setting can play a fundamental role in a business’s success. And creating a budget is key to defining and reaching your goals.

Budget basics for a small business

Running a business without a budget is like driving blindfolded. With luck, you might be able to avoid the potholes, but eventually, you’re bound to clunk to a standstill, or worse.

By definition, a business budget is “an estimate of costs, revenues, and resources over a specified period, reflecting a reading of future financial conditions and goals.” As an administrative tool, it serves as an action plan for reaching goals, as well as a way to measure performance and be able to cope with unforeseen – yet inevitable — bumps in the road.

To maximize the effectiveness of a business budget, revisit it with your management team regularly, even monthly. Update it based on performance and income from the previous month. Use it to gain insight into what’s working and what’s not. Let it help you answer questions about how best to allocate the money that’s available after the bills get paid.

Tips for stretching your business budget

Here are some budget-friendly ways to make the most of the money your young company now has to work with:

Think twice before signing a lease for office space – In the beginning especially, try to live as lean as possible. Consider transforming your married daughter’s old bedroom into a temporary Corporate Headquarters. Or move your spouse’s SUV out of the garage and set up shop there. Minimizing overhead costs in this way leaves more money for things that can bring in a stronger return on investment.

Outsource work whenever possible – Rather than hire full-time staff at the start, look to freelance help to get things rolling. Let a self-employed copywriter handle your marketing communications on a per-project basis. Or call on an outside accountant to serve as your Accounts Payable Department. And to save even more, consider using an online software program – like QuickBooks from Intuit – to make a do-it-yourself approach to accounting, well, doable.

Make the Internet work for you – Today the Internet and social media make it possible to reach millions of people with your marketing messages at a cost of nothing or next-to-nothing. Sites like Wix and WordPress make it easy for anyone to set up a beautiful business website, without having to know coding. And social media, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter let you set up pages for your business on their domain — and start the company “buzz” from your computer.

Goal setting with a budget gets it done

In terms of setting and achieving business goals, working from a budget is a good way to go. Finding ways to stretch that budget, even better.


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