» Budget Boot Camp

Budgeting is certainly not the most fun part of managing your business, but it is essential. Fortunately there are ways to simplify the process and make it less of a headache.

Here are the top three guidelines on how to best cultivate your budget:

1. e-Budget. Using finance software can eliminate the stress of an overflowing file cabinet. Forgoing paper receipts and data entry for a technology-based maintenance tool that will manage your bank account and set alerts is extremely helpful in managing your finances, and freeing up some of your time for real work! The tool inDinero offers features for keeping track of your transactions. You can connect multiple bank accounts to view all of your expenses and budgets in one place, as well as set specific categories. Plus, inDinero will sort transactions into your accounts automatically. For more niche tasks, Xpenser is a platform specifically for expense reports, with mobile apps available on iPhone, Android and Windows. Finally, FreshBooks is a tool specifically for managing invoices. Programs and platforms like these also help to really visualize cash flow—something that can be difficult to maintain while juggling physical materials, automatic payments and multiple accounts.

2.  Ask around. Remember, there are no dumb questions—especially when it comes to the financial safety and the success of your business. Using answer sites like Quora can be helpful in reaching a wide audience of professionals who may have been in your position before, and potentially have found a solution to one or more of your problems. Asking questions in forums like this is particularly beneficial for young companies or companies experiencing rapid growth, as they may not be as conditioned to changes in financial situations. Also, reach out to other Wedding Pros who can relate to your industry on WeddingWire by posting business management and growth questions in the Pro Forum!

3. Over-estimate. Wouldn’t you rather end up with a surplus than a debt? Most business expenses are predictable—office supplies, commuting costs, phone bills, computers and software, etc.—but what about unexpected travel fees? A rise in gas prices? Parking tickets? Saving funds, and leaving room in your budget for these types of  unplanned expenses will allow for peace of mind, and potentially, some extra money.