Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Top Home Businesses: Stick to a Budget

Top Home Businesses: Stick to a Budget
Get Free Copy of Derek Gehl's Six Steps You Need To Follow To Guarantee The Success Of Your Online Business!

An extremely important aspect of running any business, whether it's a huge multinational or a little one-person operation run from home, is that of tracking and containing costs. There absolutely no point in running a business which costs more than it earns, other than during a period of establishment. It goes with out saying that most new businesses require some investment to get started, but controlling costs during this phase must be carefully monitored.

This need not become a major chore, but the process of keeping simple records, once set up takes only a moment to update regularly. The simplest is probably to open a little spreadsheet in Excel, with headings for a few columns, but first decide a limit for your monthly business expenses.

In an earlier article we discussed the importance of carefully considering your personal finances before commencing the business start-up steps. Given all other expenses versus income it should not be too difficult to arrive at an affordable monthly amount. It is also important to gain the commitment of your spouse or partner, so that there is agreement up-front regarding a monthly spending limit, and also for the period that you wish/are able to carry these costs, before you reach a break-even point.

If you have Office or similar on your computer, there are numerous ready-made templates available for your use, and if not, a quick search on the internet will find many options freely available. The essence is to keep it as simple as possible. You basically need one side of the spreadsheet for income, and the other for expenses.

A date for each entry with enough space for brief details - the amount carried forward to a column for each type of expenditure and a total at the end. Excel will do the arithmetic for you, as you simply add up each column at month-end, and carry totals to the monthly figures at bottom-right for income and expenditure. If you were fortunate enough to do a little book-keeping at school, this exercise will be a breeze, and if so I apologize for boring you with silly details! In the interim, a little time spent each month will enable you to keep track of how well you're doing, and enable you to have a little celebration when you start to make a profit!

What we're doing in this exercise, is laying the foundations for later on, when your business really gets going. It's also important to keep copies of invoices safely stored somewhere. You may not need them now, but you will need to show income for your version of Internal Revenue, one day.

Remember - you're not doing this for fun! You're starting your business with your own goals in mind, and your plan is to work from home. If that income is sufficient for you to live on, then someone will come looking to tax you one day... One of the few things certain about life is that you will pay tax! If you have kept your records carefully, you will be able to show that you have incurred legitimate expenses in generating your income. (Won't this be a nice problem to have, anyway?)

Tax laws vary around the world, and you may need to take professional advice one day to keep on the right side of the law. Your little spreadsheet, combined with the copies of invoices will make that task much easier.

Now that you've signed up for your affiliate programmes, and you've hopefully worked your way through the "getting started" training provided by each, we'll discuss some more steps to take to make things start to happen.

About the Author: Mike Muir has personally been through these experiences and has invested both time and money in selecting those options which are most effective at each stage of getting a new online business on track. He is happy to share these with you. Please visit his site at:

http://www.mikeshomebiz.com/ and visit his blog at: http://www.mikeshomebiz.com/blog for more articles in this series.

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