What ever time of year you read this you need to think of budgeting. It could be end of year or mid-year, either way you'll need to at some stage accept you need to spend money on and in your business.
Setting up a business will obviously have it's own costs and for some businesses you can get support from either Micro Finance Ireland or Enterprise Ireland or if you're into Tech check out Scale Ireland.
However you may need to embark on this journey initially on your own. If that is the case then you will definitely want to approach the Local Enterprise Office who will have courses and mentors who can help you manage various elements of setting and scaling up your business. They can also work alongside the other companys as well.
So now I have shared the more authoritative companies, let me explain how this works. Even as a StartUp you need a budget. If you don't, your business becomes very quickly - untenable. You need to picture what you have, hope to get and intend to achieve but also some how have a magic ball and understand what's coming up as well. Yep, that's why its so tough!
Once you have created your concept, when and where would be the best time to reach your audience? A website would likely be the first place but where else? Don't just think of online, think of offline as well like flyers, business cards, events and more.
When will you need these? Most likely not immediately, so set aside time to create, ponder, look for a graphic designer, printer, etc but each of these steps may have a cost either in time or money or worse, both.
Each of these touchpoints are your Sales Funnel so think how to create yours and work from the top downwards
Bracing isn't it. To think of all of these things!
Now time to think of operational costs like equipment, rent, petrol, staffing, parking and cost of memberships and things like tools for project management, CRM's etc.
If you're serviced based you'll have one set of costs and product based of course will have those and more. So be realistic in putting down ALL of your costs and work out what if anything you have left in order to break even.
Think about your goals, realistic goals that you can actually make happen with the budget you have brought in. With these goals you'll have to break them down into tiny steps like who will do them, do they need extra training or resources made available etc. You then have to decide what amount of money you need to set aside to make short and long term projects happen.
Always have the Big Picture in mind and create smaller goals that make it happen. Until you understand your cashflow fully it might be worth only creating quarterly budgets.
Marketing is normally the first thing to go in hard times. Business owners frequently think not doing ads, attending events and stopping newsletters saves them money. However, this is simply not true. Each of these and more are investments in your business, it's not just money being spent. Think of all the time it took for you to get your first few clients. How many weeks and months of posting, meeting people and getting yourself out there that it took to make that happen, If you don't remain consistent and keep on plugging away, you'll very much disappear from peoples feeds and frankly - minds.
Look at your strategy and monitor your analytics more closely, allow enough time to see any up or down ticks and adjust. That way you save time and money, rather than planning for months in advance and then seeing either low or no return. There are strategies I train people in so they can learn to do this for themselves and can apply to any type or size of business.
Finally appreciate the journey. If you're in the first couple of years of your business - then don't expect too much of yourself. Especially if you're a first time business owner. Accept guidance and support from other business owners, mentors and associations and also accept you're going to make some almighty mistakes as well. Treat each one as a lesson, indeed write them down as your terms and conditions. Update your contracts and really, really learn from them.
If however you're a scaleup then this is the time to be brave-r. Appreciate that you may have to cut your losses - again. The only businesses that work, fail an awful lot first. Trust me, I know this personally.
Lots of things can affect both types of business but naturally the current market, your health (or staff), share or stockholders, or even government restrictions. One thing we have learned since 2020 is that there are ways to circumvent, manipulate and innovate to make anything possible, if only you make it. So think outside the box, ask others, look for overseas (cheaper) support and make your business withstand the market in these turbulent times.
If you need any guidance, support or would like to tap my network, please contact me.