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Preparing a Business Budget for the New Year
Every business owner has goals, and achieving them requires a bit of planning. Because goals are linked to money, a proper plan includes devoting a little time to budgeting.

Fortunately, you don't need an elaborately detailed budget like that of a multinational corporate behemoth. Simply having an outline connecting spending and revenue is sufficient. Setting aside a planned amount of cash for spending later assures you have sufficient funds for future plans to succeed. A budget tells you what is and is not a financially sound decision.

Making the Business Budget

You can create a budget using the old-fashioned tools of pencil and paper, but this is only a good starting point. After sketching out a general income and spending pattern for next year, placing the numbers in electronic format will help when filling in the remaining details.

Spreadsheet applications on your computer will work nicely. Perhaps your bookkeeping software gives you an option to place budget figures into it. This will benefit you later when comparing your budget to actual results.

Start the budget process by estimating an amount of monthly revenue based on available resources. Your income is limited by how much time you work, the equipment you possess, and the prices you charge.

Moreover, you may need to adjust income based on your cash resources. That's because higher income may lead to paying more expenses prior to collecting from your customers. The money you have for expenses puts a cap on how many customers you can serve.

Using the Business Budget

The budget shows a timeline for building cash over time. A controlled growth rate and a tight rein on spending allow your cash to gradually increase. This capital reserve is then available to fund further growth with new customers.

The timing for a rising cash flow depends greatly on when customers pay you. A lot of businesses are paid a month or more after work is completed.

That means your budget will show you deploying your available resources and paying your bills one month, but collecting the revenue over the next month or two.

Over those next couple of months, you will spend more time and money on additional work. Your budget should indicate, however, that you have a little more cash than when you started. That's because the revenue received exceeds your costs. This is the profit you aim to accumulate and then spend for tackling more customers.

To ensure that you achieve profit accumulation, monitoring your actual business performance is crucial. The budget predicts increasing business cash flow, but turning that expectation into reality necessitates comparing actual to budget.

Obtain your statement of revenue and expenses after the first few months projected in your budget. You want the report that has revenue you already collected and expenses you already paid. Put these numbers in the same spreadsheet as your budgeted revenue and expense categories for the same months.

Is your revenue coming in as you expected? Is your spending on track with the budget?

Most likely, you will uncover areas where you have excelled and others where you're falling short. Making the necessary adjustments will propel you to meet your annual goals.

3D Printing Adds New Dimension to Business
3D printing has become a common resource for small and midsize businesses. The technology offers the benefits of simplicity, efficiency, and affordability, and allows a manufacturer to quickly iterate designs and create new products.

3D printing supports a build-on-demand business model that enables instant on-site creation of prototype designs and customized merchandise as well as effective inventory management. The technology can be used to create practically any design or shape, and SMEs are leveraging 3D printing technology for various purposes. Common applications include making sample items for trade shows and promotional events, creating unique promotional materials such as 3D business cards, and test marketing new designs, features, and concepts.

Additionally, with the wide variety of materials used in 3D printing, including metals such as gold and silver as well as composite filaments, bio-inks that contain living cells, and pureed food paste, businesses can create innovative and aesthetically pleasing products that push the boundaries of craft, culture, art, technology, and even gastronomy.

3D printing is a quick and easy way to build prototypes, customized products, and marketing materials, and it can also be an additional revenue stream for a business. Many small businesses have found value in offering 3D printing services to other local businesses. Coworking facilities, print shops, and small fabrication shops are now adding 3D printing to their menu of services offered on-demand.

Professional 3D printers such as Sculpteo, Shapeways, and Voodoo are emerging to meet the demands of this fast-growing industry, which appears to be shaping the future of business models worldwide.

5 Ways to Combat Workplace Burnout
Burnout is a symptom of chronic stress, and most people assume it's a result of overwork. But burnout has a heavy emotional component and is usually a combination of physical and psychological fatigue. If you're feeling burned out, here are some ways to deal with it.

Find a physical release. Trips to the gym, laps at the pool, power walks around the block, or evening romps with the dog can help release stress, frustration, and anxiety.

Join a recreational group or take up a hobby. A hobby or activity can help refocus your mind on something other than your stress. Plus, it's an opportunity to make new friends and possibly gain a fresh perspective on what matters in your life.

Make sleep a priority. As Shakespeare put it so eloquently, "Sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care." A good night's sleep is rest for mind and body, and often things really do look different in the morning.

Don't over-indulge. When we get stressed, we may resort to binging on comfort foods or alcohol. Self-medicating in this way can, in fact, add to the stress you're already experiencing.

Practice meditation or mindfulness techniques. Meditation is said to be a vitamin for your brain. It has been proven to lessen anxiety, worry, and depression and enhance self-esteem and self-acceptance. Meditation can actually increase cognitive skills and creativity so you don't just feel better, but you may actually perform better at your job and other tasks you undertake.

Attention Cash Basis Bookkeepers: Watch for Accrual Entries
Most small businesses maintain their bookkeeping on a cash basis of accounting, recording revenue and expenses only when money flows in or out. By contrast, accrual accounting records revenue when earned and expenses when incurred. Cash basis is easier and provides a satisfactory financial picture if your business is generally paid promptly by customers and pays its bills immediately upon receipt. Nevertheless, some transactions are necessarily accounted for as accruals even by cash basis operations. These are most often amounts that will be remitted in the future for taxes.

For example, payroll taxes are expensed by a business on payroll dates, but remitted on future days. Payroll taxes that are deducted from employee pay are part of the company's expense for wages, although the withheld amounts are not paid simultaneously with net paychecks. The employer part of payroll taxes is another expense category that's also recorded on payday.

Because payroll taxes are remitted at a later date, recording the expense on payday is offset by an accrued liability on the balance sheet. If the taxes accrued for remittance in the future are not recorded on the balance sheet, the expense will not appear on the income statement. Profit is therefore overstated due to the missing expense.

When an accrued amount of payroll taxes is eventually remitted, it has no impact on the income statement because the expense has already been recorded. The remittance applies to the accrual on the balance sheet.

To assure accuracy of expenses, it is essential to constantly examine the accrued tax liabilities on your balance sheet. This close watch will help you avoid financial surprises.
Michele Ball
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This Month - Market Research
Are you meeting your customers' needs? Are there new products and services available that would help you improve your business? Answering these questions requires market research. Use the following links to learn how to use market research to improve profits and enhance your success.

Not sure how to get started with market research? Here are the basics:
How to Do Market Research-The Basics

Need more details? Use this step-by-step guide to market research:
How to Do Market Research: A 6-Step Guide

Solid market research asks good questions that will effectively guide next steps. Use these steps to create better marketing research questions:
Four Steps To Creating Better Marketing Research Questions

How can market research benefit small businesses? Learn some specific techniques and how they can improve your business:
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Trying to decide which types of market research are best for your company? Here are some methods that any brand can implement:
What Your Brand is Missing by Skipping Digital Market Research
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.
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