If you run a company that sees dramatic swings in revenue throughout the year, you have unique financial challenges that other, steadier businesses may not have. If your business brings in the majority of income during the summer, like many contractors, landscapers, and outdoor-related businesses, you’ll have to work a little harder to budget appropriately.
Thankfully, there are great CPAs in Fort Collins that specialize in working with the skilled trades, and can help you create a financial plan that meets your needs all year round. But in the meantime, here are some budgeting tips for your seasonal business:
1. Know your baseline expenses
It’s key to know the hard numbers for your fixed costs, like rent and insurance, as a foundation for your minimum expenses. It’s also smart to average your variable expenses like utilities and inventory, to give you an idea of your baseline operating costs all year long.
2. Track everything you can
Every business should track expenses, but for seasonal companies it’s even more important. Use financial software, and/or work with a qualified accountant, to keep a close eye on everything coming in and going out.
3. Plan a year at a time
It does take some foresight, but for many seasonally-affected businesses, planning out a full year is crucial to staying afloat. It is hard to judge performance over a month or two, but the entire year’s performance is much more useful. This also helps you anticipate expenses, and save and spend appropriately.
4. Create multiple budgets
One trick for companies is to create not just one, but three separate budgets. The baseline budget, for usual operating costs, and two others for the best and worst-case scenarios. It’s helpful to have these already outlined- how you would spend your money when you have excess, and how you’ll spend (and save) when you’re having trouble meeting your marks.
5. Take advantage of your off season
For businesses that encounter slow weeks or months, don’t simply sit idle during this time! Use your down time to get ahead. Clean up your filing and bookkeeping. Update records. Organize your inventory and physical space. Identify areas for improvement and investment. Stay connected with customers. Work with a business consultant to get even more laser-focused on your future growth.
Hundreds of companies in Northern Colorado experience seasonal ups and downs, and there is no reason why you can’t be lucrative even with highly-seasonal revenue. With these tips, and the help of an experienced financial pro, you’ll be set, no matter what month it is. Reach out to us at S.J. Wick & Associates to learn more!