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Why You Should Start Your Budget with Expense Limits

As a small business owner, you have to figure out many things, including how to create a business budget. That can be intimidating, but creating a business budget isn't difficult if you take the right approach. It can all be broken down into several key steps, one of which is expenses.

First, add up all your fixed costs. These are any expenses that are necessary for the ongoing operation of your business and tend to recur. Fixed costs might occur daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly. Examples include rent, supplies, debt repayment, payroll, depreciation of assets, taxes and insurance.

Next, determine your variable expenses. These are costs that change. Many are necessary for your business to stay in operation. Some examples of variable expenses are your salary, equipment, office supplies, professional development, marketing and utilities.

Next, set aside a contingency fund for unexpected expenses. These are expenses that arise when you're least expecting them. Ensuring you have some extra cash on hand for contingencies can help you keep a budget.

With that information in hand, you can create your profit and loss statement. Just add up all of your income for the month and subtract the expenses. You want a positive number at the end, which means you've made a profit. If not, you've had a loss.

A business budget can help you ensure that you're spending money in the right places and at the right time to stay out of debt. And that can help to ensure the long-term success of your business.

How to Win Big in Today's Economy

The altered economic landscape presents innovative and nimble businesses with opportunities to thrive.

Find out how by requesting my free report "How to Win Big in Today's Economy."

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Did You Know Resting More Increases Productivity?

Being able to take a rest usually has nothing to do with being "lazy." On the contrary: research compiled by Stanford University visiting scholar Alex Soojung-Kim Pang has shown that greater innovation and more effective productivity comes from ensuring a decent amount of rest is part of your routine.

In its resting state, the brain is still very much switched on, working away in the background to solve problems and seek solutions for tasks that it might not have been able to complete in its more "active" state.

Knowing when to stop working is therefore an important starting point. Working for too long can cause stress and exhaustion, which are clearly counterproductive to working to the best of your ability. Making sure you save some energy for when you next start working can ensure more creativity and the ability to complete tasks.

Taking afternoon naps has been shown to boost mental abilities enormously, not only being physically restorative but also increasing alertness for longer throughout the day. Even a 20-minute snooze has been proven to be hugely beneficial to increasing productivity and reducing burnout.

The simple act of taking a walk is another activity that has been studied by researchers at Stanford for its effects on the mind. Not only does the light exercise itself send more blood to the brain, but the way our minds wander while stimulated by our surroundings on a stroll was seen to boost creativity later on. Stanford's study asked participants to come up with novel ways of using inanimate objects while either walking outside or sitting down inside. It found that those who had been out walking came up with more innovative ideas than those who hadn't.

Worth Reading
How to Choose a Color for Your Website
By Duncan Lambden
Website Builder Expert
Color is a significant part of creating a compelling brand. Certain colors can trigger certain feelings and, in turn, influence the reader's desire to click. Learn about considerations when choosing a good website color scheme, including a primary color that suits the energy of your product or service, secondary colors that make your primary color pop, a background and a typeface color (solid black is not recommended). You may be surprised.
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The 21 Best Apps for Small Businesses, Freelancers, and Entrepreneurs
By Ashley Carty
SkillShare Blog
If you're thinking about launching your own business, you can get help via numerous apps that assist you in doing everything from finding work to managing accounting. Highlights: financial apps that let you send invoices, collect payments and run payroll; project management apps that help you manage your projects, tasks and deadlines; and collaboration apps that help you work together and transfer files.
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Conquering the Uncomfortable to Achieve Bigger Goals

We're surrounded by things intended to make us comfortable: time-saving appliances, activewear that looks like professional wear and phones at our fingertips. But it's discomfort that can lead to growth. And while no one is comfortable being uncomfortable, there are ways to make it easier.

Do what you resist. Don't know where to get started? Try the thing you want to avoid, the thing that sends your heart racing (and not in a good way), the fear.

Don't wait for the perfect time. The perfect time is never, meaning the perfect time is now. Find your why, write it down, and then start.

Break it up. Try breaking the task, whatever it is, into bite-sized pieces. If you want to exercise more, on day one, all you must do is find a gym.

Pick the path of least resistance. Just because it's hard doesn't mean it has to be harder. When given the choice, take the easiest path.

Push past hard. You will hit walls, even if you take the path of least resistance. When you do, don't give up.

Take some time off. When you hit a wall, take some time away from the task. It may provide a new perspective.

Super-size your goals. Set at least one goal that is a little outside your comfort zone. (For example, if you're comfy with the one-year goal, what may a five-year plan look like?) Break down this super-sized goal into doable to-dos to get you there, and you'll grow into it.

Success is hard. But it gets easier when you accept that it can be hard. Those of us who risk discomfort get incrementally better until we master whatever we want to do.

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Links You Can Use - Time management
Time management is essential for people who want to succeed; here are resources for keeping yourself on a schedule.
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5 Steps to Separate Business and Personal Finances

Keeping your personal finances distinct from your business finances is a sometimes involved process with which many business owners are unfamiliar, especially in the earlier stages of their operations. But it is important, even critical. Not separating personal and business finances can create numerous legal implications, including the possibility of personal asset seizure if you are sued and lose. To help you get started, here are five steps.

1. Establish your business entity. You can set up your business as one of several entity types: an LLC, a corporation or a sole proprietorship. Using one of the first two entities establishes your business as a separate legal entity (called incorporation) and is highly recommended. Incorporation also lets you file dedicated business tax returns, and it gives your business a measure of legal protection.

2. Apply for an employer identification number (EIN). An EIN is a nine-digit number assigned to your company by the IRS, much like a Social Security number but for businesses. You use it when establishing your business entity type, filing your business's taxes, opening a business bank account and more. An EIN also helps create a divide between your personal and business finances.

3. Open a business bank account and get a business credit card. With a business checking account, you can pay bills and deposit cash without having to use your personal bank account. If you're also making business purchases with a personal credit card, you should also get a business credit card. In addition to separating personal and business spending, it also helps you build a business credit score. This is important if you see your business growing.

4. Pay yourself a salary. Paying yourself a salary creates a boundary between your personal and business finances. And it's easy: just transfer money from your business bank account to your personal checking account on a regular schedule (weekly or monthly, for example), the same as if you were working for another business and getting paid.

5. Identify when you're using personal items for business purposes. If you have a home office, use your personal vehicle to attend meetings or speak with clients on your personal phone, track when you use personal items for business purposes. This will allow you to deduct at least part of those expenses come tax season.

Why should you do this? Well, keeping distinct business and personal finances is required for LLCs and corporations. It is not required for sole proprietorships, but that means it is even more important for sole proprietorships to separate personal and business finances. They will have to prove separation if audited.

If all of this sounds overwhelming, take heart. It's simple once you start doing it, and the benefit is huge. If you're a serious entrepreneur or established business owner, there is absolutely no reason to put your personal assets and credit score at risk. So, regardless of the kind of business you operate, you should consider taking these five steps to ensure your business and personal finances stay separate.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.

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