If you have transitioned into working at home, or are thinking of starting an at home business, cash flow management is an important element to that decision. Without some plan for a budget (and some money management basics), your business may not survive.
The first thing that needs to occur is a written business plan (even if the business is something you weren't intending). If it's growing, a business plan needs to be written and implemented right away.
The basics of a business plan include:
- a budget
- short term goals
- long term goals
- an outline of operations
This will give you the big picture and help you manage how you want your business to operate (including the financial piece).
Business Bank Account
Another action that needs to be taken right away is to open a business bank account. It is vital for you to keep your personal and business monies separate for tax and record-keeping purposes.
Before you go the bank to open a business account, be aware that they may require a business license and DBA (doing business as) license to be in place first. This is not a difficult process, but may take some time so be prepared.
It may be necessary, or simply more convenient, to open a Paypal account online. This is particularly needed if your business entails selling items or accepting payments on the internet. Taking this step will offer you some protection and will make it easier for potential consumers or clients.
Keep in mind that opening a Paypal account does eliminate the need for a business bank account. When applying for a Paypal account, you will be expected to link it to your bank account.
Being a work at home mom has probably already given you some valuable lessons on the importance of budgeting. Transferring this skill into your small business management is absolutely vital. You will be expected to keep stringent records for tax purposes, and you will want to keep your business and personal money separate.
You may start by utilizing one of the many computer budgeting programs. This will enable you to track your input versus your output and will give you an idea of what areas are costing more than you expected. For instance, if you are shipping items to customers, you may have forgotten about certain shipping costs (or you may have to learn when it's more cost effective to ship at a flat rate).
The first thing you should do is learn to keep all receipts. Even the quick stop for coffee and a bran muffin counts if you doing something related to your business. Create an organized filing system to easily keep track of every receipt.
You will also want to start tracking the time you spend on your business to analyze whether the business is cost effective.