So, while you done an admirable job being knee deep in shopping, cooking, and gift wrapping, it’s still important to take the time to look ahead at what is staring us down now that the celebrating is done.
That would be a brand new year complete with a clean slate for our businesses.
Before we let another year go by flying by the seats of our pants in our businesses, I want to tell you why it pays to start planning NOW for the new year.
Yes, the thought of setting up a “budget” may make you queasy. Despite that, I want to give you a few reasons why now is the time to get one set up for 2016.
2016 can be the year your business explodes to a new level. But, the foundation needs to be built now. It isn’t going to happen on its own.
So, let’s get into it. Here’s why I want you to put pencil to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and get planning.
Use Your Budget to Reach Your Goals
Yes, a calendar flipping seems kind of an arbitrary time to do anything. Let’s face it, though a New Year means new goals. As humans, we tend to like starting fresh in the new year. There is no other time of year that we get more ambitious about doing great things.
Problem is, while we are great at setting goals, we don’t much as far as putting a plan in place to achieve them.
It’s great that you want to double the size of your customer base or e-mail list.
It’s a worthy goal to add five new offerings to your portfolio.
It’s great that you want to get a new website in place.
Thing is, for a business, ambitious goals tend to cost a fair amount of money. That is, unless, you have an inborn ability to clone yourself or learn new skills with little effort.
So, while you are ringing in the new year toasting your goals, you also need to ensure that the finances of your business can support them. That’s why you need to fit them into your budget. Now.
Spring Cleaning (Out With the Old)
Typically, we wait until springtime to do a full scale blitz on our cluttered homes. With your business, there’s no better time than now. Best part is, you don’t have to drag any items to the curb in a snowstorm.
So, there’s no reason to wait.
As we build our businesses, we have a tendency to try a bunch of different tactics to build lists, streamline processes, get an edge in marketing and advertising, and to obtain new knowledge.
Problem is, as solopreneurs, we are pretty much overtasked. We never do the follow-up to see if we are getting the return on investment for all those nice new expenses we accumulated over the last year.
Time to do some cleaning and inventory.
A good budget process will have you take inventory of all your expenses and evaluate how important they are to your business. Once you have done that, it’s time to do some cleaning. Make room in your finances for all those shiny new goals you have been eyeing.
If those recurring charges on your credit card bill aren’t directly tied to sales coming in, they might need to go.
Pay yourself what you are worth
Us solopreneurs tend to play the martyr game. Admit it, there’s a bit of a glamour around suffering for the sake of your business. Sometimes we even make it an honor. We bootstrap baby!
The problem is, that’s not sustainable. Life is bigger than our business. If our business isn’t adding value to the rest of our life, the day is going to come when that catches up to us.
What happens is we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles of building our baby up and we end up forgetting to pay ourselves. We end up with the leftovers.
Sometimes, there isn’t even any leftovers to sift through.
That’s why you need to plan for yourself upfront. First and foremost. The important part is you need to do it before the day even comes that it is time to cut yourself a check.
This is why a budget is so, so important. It helps you take a step back and consider yourself before the day-to-day fires start up. You enter the fray with a plan that takes YOU into account. You’ve already tweaked and tuned your intentions for investments so that you can still cut a check for yourself every two weeks.
Plan your launches
Most solopreneurs are stocked full of awesome ways to help their customers. Most of us, though, don’t really have a plan for how we are going to roll out all of those killer ideas.
Some of these offerings may take two weeks to put together, some may take two months. That is a boatload of irregularity.
What irregularity breeds is surprises. Whether we realize it or not, we humans are creatures that tend to find our grooves and work in them.
Our workflow finds a groove, our expenses find a groove. They start showing up like clockwork.
When you have a very launch based business, however, the cash coming in doesn’t find a groove. It shows up in big bundles. Then, it can be crickets after that.
This can destroy cash flow, if we are not careful. The bills keep showing up, but the income doesn’t. If you live day-to-day inside of the finances of your business, this is a recipe for disaster. Cash emergencies will be just around the corner.
When you exist in this sort of business, you desperately need to take a few steps back and look at the big picture. You need to know when that cash is coming in, and you need to know how to make it last.
What you need is a well thought out budget. Most importantly, you need it BEFORE you get to that point of emergency.
Get some help
What is your most precious resource as a solopreneur?
Actually, it is neither. Your most precious resource is your time. No matter how hard you grind, no matter how tight you boot strap, there are still only 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week.
Nothing you do can change that.
While you cannot magically create more hours in a day, you can definitely leverage someone else’s 24 hours. You can get help.
The knee jerk reaction to suggesting that is “I can’t afford any help”. My friend, that is exactly why you need a budget. Why you need to plan.
One of the beautiful things about the internet is it has leveled the playing field for solopreneurs and freelancers. Gone are the days where you need to hire an employee to get stuff done.
If you can squeeze a few dollars out of your budget plan (and you almost certainly will after the “spring cleaning” we talked about), you can turn that into a couple hours of help from a freelancer or virtual assistant.
That, my friends, is a gigantic turn for your business. Making even the smallest step towards leveraging someone else’s time for a task that is not your core ability.
Right there is the very definition of “epic win”.
Just Get Started
Budgets shouldn’t be pain. Instead, going through a budget process should be a step by step process where you learn more about your business and turn that knowledge into a killer plan.
While a killer plan isn’t necessarily a guarantee of success, it is certainly something that will put you in a better place to win than not having one. Seeing the new year is coming quick, now is the time to get cranking on that plan.
Need help getting started? Click the link below and get a free checklist to help make sure you don’t pass over the important points when putting together a budget that works for you, instead of punishing you.