What's Your Budget?

Yes, you do need one.

Setting a budget and sticking to it is hard, but doing so is crucial when you're just starting out-and for every day thereafter. When you're just beginning, you need to create two budgets: a start-up and an operating budget. Private funders always appreciate it when you demonstrate your commitment to the bottom line. The start-up budget outlines all the costs necessary to open your business, and it includes such one-time-only costs as major equipment, utility deposits, down payments and so on. An operating budget is just that-the description of the financial engine that keeps you operating after you open for business. It contains all your ongoing expenses and the income that pays for those expenses. If you're just starting out, your operating budget should include enough money to cover the first three to six months of operation.