Why Your Start-Up Needs a Business Budget Template

By Jessica Larkin

Some say that money is the root of all evil. Others say that it cannot buy happiness. Regardless of how you view it, if you’re planning to start a new business, money is an absolute must. You will need it to get your company off the ground, and in turn, you will also need to know how to budget your money as part of your business plan.

We understand that figuring out where to begin when it comes to constructing a budget for your start-up or new small business can be daunting, but why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to? There are a variety of templates available to help guide you through creating a budget as you get your business started.

Today, we will focus on why a startup business budget template is a necessity, review different types of start-up costs for various business types, and check out a few templates that are available for you to leverage.

Why You Need a Start Up Business Budget Template

Many startup business owners don’t truly understand the value of creating a business budget. They view it as a difficult, time-consuming task with no tangible value. This mindset is the fastest route to failure.

If success is your goal, your business budget will be a frequently-referenced source of truth. By utilizing the right template and creating a monthly budget that serves as a guide for your finances, referencing it regularly will seem like second-nature instead of an unwelcome task. You need to find a tool that is intuitive, easy-to-use, and flexible enough to provide room for customization for your particular business case.

Your business budget template will help you create an overall scorecard for the financial well-being of your company. It should help you track business expenses and funding sources or revenue, plan for slower months based on industry trends, proportionally allocate your budget to the areas where you will require the most capital, have funds available for larger purchases, and help forecast the costs associated with launching and operating your business.

Types of Start Up Costs for Different Businesses

Unless you are launching a category-creating company, there is likely a budget template available for you to leverage as a new business owner. Since different industries have different requirements, do some market research and identify a budget framework that fits your needs based on the type of business you are starting. Here are a few examples:

Web-based Business

Internet-based businesses have relatively inexpensive operating costs from a start-up perspective. We suggest utilizing a basic budget template and customizing it to include categories for areas relevant to your company. Examples might include web hosting services, web page design, developer work, and coding. If your web-based business falls under retail, be sure to include fees associated with selling through online stores like Etsy and Ebay.

Restaurant

Restaurants can be extremely costly to get started as specialized equipment and space set-up for dining are required. In addition to the physical space and equipment, you will also need to plan for purchasing from food suppliers, your staff, cleaning fees, furniture and dinnerware for your patrons, menu and website development, and more. A start-up template created especially for restaurants is key to ensure you have the funds you need and properly plan for major startup expenses as you get your business off the ground and work toward profitability.

Retail

Depending on the type of retail store you are launching, costs to get your business started can vary immensely. In addition to the typical budget line items for rent, business licenses, office supplies, signage, advertising, and marketing, you will also need to factor in store fixtures, display cases, and racks, as well as your initial inventory. Keep in mind that you will need to spend money to get your store stocked in order to make money.

Franchise

Whether retail or restaurant, starting a franchise presents a unique set of costs, such as marketing fees and monthly franchise dues that you will need to work into your budget. If you are going the franchise route for your start-up, take a moment to check with corporate to find out what templates and tools are available to help you get a better understanding of the costs to get your business off the ground as well as anticipated operating expenses.

Home-based Business

If you offer professional services such as accounting or graphic design work and are starting a business that is based in your home, you can likely reduce your start-up fees considerably. Odds are you already have a work space, internet service, and a phone line or mobile. Some items that you will likely need to include in your start-up budget are web domain and email fees, licensing, business cards, and marketing.

Regardless of the type of business you are starting, the template you utilize should take into account common categories for start-ups, allow you to bucket essential and non-essential expenses, and also work in a cushion for emergencies and the repayment of business loans. In addition, it should make it easy to document and track approved IRS start-up deductions.

Start Up Budget Template Examples in Excel and Google Sheets

Believe it or not, you don’t need to have a line-item in your budget for the template itself. There are a plethora of free startup budget templates available in Excel and Google Sheets that will likely be able to serve as a baseline for your business budget template before you have to commit to additional accounting software.

Google Sheets

Life before Google–everything was so much harder to track down–including frameworks for your start-up business budget. Google Sheets has a ton of budget templates available that are easy to navigate and user friendly. For instance, check out this template designed by Quickbooks and available free-of-charge. It kicks things off with a set-up section then tabs out to cover income, expenses, and even a summary.

Gusto offers this fantastic Google Sheet business budget start-up template that checks all the boxes for a home- or web-based business. It even includes a column that highlights if an expense is essential or non-essential.

Microsoft Excel

Not to be left behind, Microsoft Excel also has a variety of business budget templates that would be great for a Start-up to leverage. For instance, this template allows you to record planned expenses, actual expenses, and has formulas built-in to calculate the differences between the two.

Further, this template really knocks it out of the park when it comes to a budget framework for your start-up. Even better, it’s available in both Excel and Google Sheets. We like it because it helps you estimate business start up costs and the amount of funds you will need. It also has a number of common expense categories that many small businesses will find useful. Once your business is off the ground, it offers a great worksheet to track budget vs. actual expenditures to keep your finances healthy and cash flow in check.

Not finding what you need in Excel or Google Sheets? We love this post by TemplateLab of the 50 Best Start-up Budget Templates, and they are all free to download!

Work Smarter with a Good Business Budget Template

Establishing the budget for your business is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success for your start-up. At TravelBank, we’re firm believers in working smarter not harder. By leveraging a template to help you get your start-up business budget in order, you will rest easier knowing that your money is being allocated wisely and your are not overspending.

If you’re not finding a business budget template that is a good fit for your start-up, let us know! We’d love to help you track down the perfect framework.

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