On this page
- Plan for your business
- Profit and loss budget
- Cash flow forecast
- Complete staff reviews
Prepare a budget plan for your business
Setting financial goals keeps everyone in the business focussed on the important areas for success.
How to do it
- review the operations and financial results from the last year and prepare an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a SWOT analysis)
- make a list of where you would like to see your business in one year's time
- prepare action plans for each item on your list and allocate responsibility and timing for completion of each action. Use our One page action plan template to help
- create your business budget.
- research your industry, looking for trends and opportunities to grow your business
- involve your staff as they may have suggestions for improvements. They will be more likely to support the new plans if they are involved in the development
- critically look at your financial results and identify areas where improvements in income and expenses can be made. Use financial ratios to measure your financial performance.
Prepare a profit and loss budget
A profit and loss budget is the future financial plan of the business. By doing a budget you can see if your plans for your business operations will be financially viable.
How to do it
- review the approved business operating plan and note all required activities for the budget period
- review previous year's profit and loss statements by regular periods (monthly, quarterly etc)
- download our financial statements template (or use your own) and prepare the profit and loss budget for the selected period using all the steps listed above.
When preparing your budget:
- identify and document all assumptions that have been made for the budget period so when you compare actual to budget expectations you know what assumptions you made to support the financial budget numbers you used
- set your budget results to match your financial reporting. It is recommended you prepare financial statements monthly so your budget should detail monthly financial expectations
- regularly monitor your budget to actual results - that way you'll be able to see if there are any problems and take quick action to ensure your yearly business plans will be achieved.
Prepare a cash flow forecast
A business can be profitable but still encounter cash flow issues. It is important to focus on managing cash flow at all times. Preparing a cash flow forecast when preparing new business plans will make sure you have enough cash to support the new plans.
How to do it
- using your business plan and profit and loss plan, prepare a sales forecast. Include information about when receipts from customers will actually be received
- prepare detail on any other estimated cash inflows such as sales of assets, GST rebates, loan funds etc
- prepare estimated cash flow out flows, including the timing of when these will actually be paid for
- using all this information prepare a cash flow forecast.
When preparing and monitoring your cash flow forecast:
- be as accurate as possible on the timing of the cash flows
- regularly compare your cash flow forecast to actual results including bank balances. That way you will be able to spot problems and quickly act to ensure your yearly business plans are achieved
- once the forecast is completed run some 'what if' scenarios to measure how reactive your business cash flow will be to certain changes of events e.g. decrease in sales, increase in fuel costs.
Complete staff reviews
Performance reviews and appraisals help employees know how they have been doing in relation to the goals and requirements of their roles. Reviews also provide an insight into what further development or training staff might need.
How to do it
- set dates and times with each staff member to discuss the review
- use a standard template such as our Performance and Development template to make notes to discuss each staff member
- ensure each staff member agrees to goals set and provide them with a copy of the discussions.
- set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each staff member that align with overall business objectives
- remove the prospect of a discussion about pay. The employee should be thinking about the work itself
- remember to recognise the good work that staff do. Any weaknesses or problems should be discussed and solutions identified together.
Want a financial reminder in August?
Sign up for the Small Business Victoria update to receive fortnightly tips, trends and tasks. It will include our handy financial improvement tasks for August.