Budgets! There I've said it. For some the most hated and feared word in business. But it doesn't have to be that way. As a matter of fact, a well thought out and constructed budget can be the small business owners best friend. After all, a budget is just a laid out plan to produce profits and profits is what we are all after.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by looking at a 13 column budget spreadsheet with rows and rows of expenses, just break it down into it's simplest terms:

Revenue - Expenses = Profits

Looking at it this way, we see there are only two things to control, work on or even worry about, revenue and expenses. The only way to increase profits is to increase revenue or reduce expenses. Our jobs, as business owners of course, is to do both thus accelerating our profits. I know this is business 101, the very basics and sounds so simple but you'd be surprised how many businesses today don't operate on a budget. Please take the time, or call me for help on this, and write down a simple budget of all of your revenue streams and every single expense you have on a monthly basis. If you still don't grasp the concept then have your accountant or tax preparer show you how.

Once you have everything written down you use this as a guide to manage your profits. How can we reduce communications costs (phone bill)? Is our graphics printer the best we can do or is it time to get competitive bids (printing expenses)? Can we refinance a business loan to reduce monthly interest expenses? Line by line you look at your expenses and see if there is any thing you can do to reduce them. Don't forget your revenue streams too. Is there something or some service you sell that could handle a price increase? Is there a new product or service you can introduce to bring in more revenue. Focus on growing revenue and look at each of those expenses line by line and you may be surprised at how much profit you can squeeze out of your existing operation.

Mike Shannon is the owner of Shamrock Business Coaching, a coaching practice that helps business owners increase profits. You can visit Shamrock Business Coaching on the web at: http://www.ShamrockCoaching.com.

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