5 mantras to fix every businesswoman's personal finance
When you don't find a way, make one; this may very well be a go-to rule for entrepreneurs. Whether it is the pride of building something from scratch or making the best of resources available, women entrepreneurs are a growing tribe in India.
In India, women constitute around 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurs, according to the Sixth Economic Census. Among the various challenges that businesswomen face, one area that can get neglected is their personal finance.
Nandita Saha (name changed on request) shares her story and learnings of running her party planning business in the last three years. Nandita started out with limited savings and no prior business experience or knowledge. However, she had rock-solid determination.
While building the business, she burnt her fingers initially with wrong financial decisions. Sometimes they were vendor-related, sometimes customer-related and sometimes logistics related. But she worked intently on taking control of her finances as an entrepreneur. She says her journey hasn't been easy, but it’s been extremely rewarding.
"Money matters can get confusing and overwhelming at times, but I have learnt to keep my finances under check", says Nandita.
Here are her top 5 mantras to get a grip of your finances when running your own business:
1) Separate your personal and business accounts
"Initially, it felt like everything was mixed up. I used my personal finances for the business, and sometimes used my payments for personal expenses." One of her first lessons, Nandita admits, was opening a separate business account for all things "business". She believes it was the first step in structuring her finances. Having a separate account made it easier to track all her transactions in one place.
2) Tracking monthly inflow and outflow
Tight budgets require close monitoring. Nandita recalls making a note of her every business expenditure and income in a simple Excel sheet in her early months. This way she could "keep a check on each of the expense heads". She also decided what capital investments she needed for the business, depending on her inflows and customer demand.
3) Planning cashflows
"If there was one thing which I could have done better earlier, it was to plan my cashflows. Many times I would make payments to vendors in advance, but received delayed payments from customers, leaving me short on cash to service the next booking." Nandita calls cashflows the “bloodlines” of her business.
Any blockage could lead to disastrous consequences. Nandita plans her payments and customer advances well in time to keep her business running smoothly. She also parks any excess savings into liquid investments, to help tide over emergencies.
4) Pay yourself - not too much, not too less
As an entrepreneur, one has to master the skill of paying oneself adequately. Nandita confesses to not paying herself in the first three months of being in business. This decision prompted her to dig into the business account, at times, for her personal expenses. So she quickly made a rule to start taking 20 per cent of her company’s monthly earnings as a salary for herself. This way, she had some money for her personal indulgences, and also savings for her long term financial goals.
5) Get a professional for taxes
"As a small business owner, one is often juggling with multiple things at one time. Having a professional take care of at least one part can be relaxing", says Nandita. While she learnt the basics of tax planning, she still suggests having a professional onboard to take care of the details. She schedules quarterly meetings with her accountant to sort all the paperwork and keep her business financially fit. She also uses these meetings to learn, and keep herself abreast of all the latest financial matters.
Nandita feels it has been a slow process, but taking control of her personal and business finances has made her more confident in achieving her dreams.
The Basis community has robust conversations for businesswomen, especially on the Circle Entrepreneurs. Sign-up on the Basis app to reach out to more like-minded financially independent women.