Here’s a concept that business owners often struggle to really understand: Every penny you spend is an investment.
We’re used to seeing investments show up on our Balance Sheet. We buy a new computer and we see it added there.
When we spend money on advertising or office supplies, it shows up on our Income Statement rather than our Balance Sheet.
But we’re still spending money. It’s an investment for the purpose of increasing our sales.
The financial statement on which it shows up on is based on accounting rules. We have to understand that we are spending the money with the purpose of increasing sales.
Interdependence of business and personal finances
While we say business owners, this concept applies to our personal finances as well.
As a business owner, particularly a business owner who owns 100% of your firm, your business finances and personal finances are completely linked.
Not in a legal sense – you’ll want to talk with your attorney to select the right entity for your company – but in a philosophical sense.
Your business has to do well or it will affect your personal finances. We all get that.
What a lot of people forget is that their standard of living may affect their business. If you spend too much personally, you put more of a burden on your business to produce more income for you to take out of the business. It can really add to the pressure, particularly for a start-up business.
In our personal lives, every penny we spend should add to our happiness. If it doesn’t, it’s not a worthwhile expenditure.
Start from scratch
There’s a technique that helps you decide if the returns you’re getting are sufficient. It’s called zero-based budgeting.
For every line item on your Income Statement, you assume you don’t need to spend any money. Then you add to it for the outlays you determine will give you the return you desire.
I do this in my businesses every three years. Costs can creep in. You commit to this service or that program. It all adds up. Instead of doing it all every three years, you may pick a few line items every year for review. Just make sure you cycle through all of them every few years or so.
Let’s take an example that applies to our businesses and our personal lives – our cell phone. I might ask myself: Do I need the package I currently have or could I cut back? Do I need unlimited texting?
You’ll also consider alternatives. If you weren’t spending this amount of money on your cell phone, what might you spend it on? You might find you could increase sales faster or be a lot happier if you spent this money on another thing.
You might decide to increase your long-term happiness and invest this newfound money. That may make you happier now and then.
By justifying the expense all over again, away from the emotional point of purchase, you’ll spend your money on what you really want. You’ll get the returns you seek. That’s bigg success.
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