The moment we mention finance, our mind immediately starts picturing ourselves with lots of rectangular-shaped crisp minted pieces of paper, which is ultimately the gateway to our holy grail. You guessed it right! It’s making “good” money that we comprehend of finances but really, is it so? Is finance all about money-making? Business owners will agree to the fact that financial planning, investments and a disciplined financial habit is just as important. So, let us grab our holy torches and jump into the fiscal quest!
FINANCIAL HACKS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
PREPARE FOR TAX SEASON
This applies to both your corporate and personal income taxes because you still have some time to fix problems and limit your liabilities. Check to ensure that you put away the appropriate retirement funds for you and your employees, for instance. And, if you participated in any of the COVID government support programs, it’s important to think ahead so you can be ready to complete the loan forgiveness process. You don’t need to do so now, we recommend you don’t, but you do need to prepare the funds and records for which your lender or CRA will inevitably ask for.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
Talk to a financial adviser for more specific advice; this column does not constitute professional financial advice, but it helps to consider some of your options so you can make informed decisions about your finances. If you can improve your finances—with a solid emergency fund, strong personal credit, and a diversified portfolio of retirement savings aside from the equity that you own in your business—you will more likely be able to focus on running your company with a mindset of calmness and optimism. And for business owners, who are some of the busiest people in the world, having peace of mind about personal finances can be truly priceless.
SAVE FOR RETIREMENT
Small business owners often invest a lot of their profits back into their business, but there are also some great options for small business owners to save for retirement. Consider setting up a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan for your business, even if you don’t have any employees. Depending on your income and qualifying factors, you may find you can save more money for retirement as a self-employed person than you could as an employee. There are many options above and beyond the traditional RRSP – some with much more flexibility.
INVEST APPROPRIATELY FOR RISK TO TOLERANCE
Once you’re saving for retirement, make sure you are investing in a diversified portfolio of assets that are appropriate for your time horizon and risk tolerance. If you are still relatively young and have several decades until you reach retirement age, you should invest your portfolio mostly in stocks. For example, an old rule of thumb for asset allocation used to be that you should take 100 minus your age, and that would be the percentage of your portfolio that should be invested in stocks. So, if you were 40 years old, to calculate your portfolio, you would subtract 40 from 100, and the result would be investing 60% of your money in stocks; 40% in bonds and cash. Everything is a case-by-case basis but remember the age old adage “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.”
EMERGENCY FUND AND PERSONAL CREDIT
A general rule of thumb, according to financial planners, is to have three to six months’ worth of living expenses (after taxes) in an emergency savings fund. Are you prepared? And if you own a business, you might want to have an even larger emergency fund, in case your business takes a downturn or in case you have seasonal fluctuations in cash flow.
Credit is the lifeblood of a small business, and you need to make sure your credit is also solid. Pay your bills on time. Even if money is tight and you can only afford to make a minimum payment on a credit card, it’s better to do that than to miss a payment or pay late.
Also, pay attention to your credit utilization ratio—the percentage of your available credit limits that you’re borrowing at any given time during the month. If you can keep this ratio below 30%, this will help you to have a better credit score and an easier time getting approved for personal loans.
FINANCE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
The bottom line is that when one talks about finance, an immediate understanding is that it is directly connected to money-making. While to an extent that is the case, finances have many other nuances. Just as much important for a business is to generate revenue, maneuvering strategies for investments, savings and budgeting are equally and highly crucial. So, to surmise, you must remember two concepts.
RIGHT TIME-RIGHT PLACE
The concept of right place at the right time is very much real in terms of finances. Analyzing the market and the need of the hour, and implementing investments accordingly, definitely hits the jackpot!
Building healthy financial habits are cardinal. Maneuvering strategies for savings and spending, executing those plans at right intervals and evaluating the results carry weight in the longer run.
Will Rogers once said, “Do the best you can, and don’t take life too seriously.” Ergo we just have one question for you. Are you willing to romance 2021 finance?
The CEO’s Right Hand