To be a successful entrepreneur, it’s crucial to pay special attention to your finances. After all, a large percentage of small businesses end up failing in their first few years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You want to do everything in your power to avoid that same fate. That’s why we’ve outlined three strategies to help millennial business owners become savvier about finances. These tips will help your company beat the odds and thrive for years to come.
1. Compile a list of expenses.
Putting together a list of your expenses is an important first step you can take to ensure financial success as a business owner. By gathering all the information, you’ll gain a much greater understanding of not only your own finances, but also those of your new company.
“Right away, I recommend they make a list of everything they spend money on each month. Enlist their parents in this endeavor if possible,” says Amir Eyal, a financial literacy professional, in an interview with Forbes. “After the amounts are added up, they should ask themselves this question: How do I pay for all of this? This is the first step to improving financial literacy.”
Not sure of what should be included in this sort of list? Well, it’s crucial to be as exhaustive as possible. For your own finances, include expenses like rent, insurance, food, utilities and transportation. For your business, factor in costs associated with the product or service you’re providing, any employee costs, insurance and other miscellaneous expenses.
2. Speak with a financial mentor or accountant.
Compiling an extensive list of your own finances as well as your company’s costs to gain a better understanding of how much it will take to run your company effectively is crucial. But it’s also important to have a strong team of people around you for advice.
After all, you can’t make every financial decision on your own, especially if you’re a millennial business owner who’s launching your very first company. Therefore, try reaching out to contacts and people who you trust for advice to serve as a mentor to you. These people will believe in your company and vision and will be willing to answer any questions you may have about finances, discuss concerns and even brainstorm ideas for the future.
“As a founder, there’s a tendency to assume that your grit and hard work are sufficient to drive the success of your startup,” according to Inc. Magazine. “While these things can take you far, they’re not a substitute for the experiential knowledge that comes from heading up an established company.”
That’s why it’s so important to have mentors and other advisors to help answer your tough questions and make recommendations that can boost your business’ bottom line. “Surrounding yourself with the right people — at the right time — can be instrumental as you grow and begin to move toward long-term sustainability,” according to the publication.
3. Never assume you’ll get investments to start your company.
A final piece of advice that can help you succeed as a new business owner is to act like you’ll be bootstrapping your company on your own dime. That means you shouldn’t assume that you’ll get people interested in investing right away. If you do, you could be in for some financial trouble down the line, according to Scott Gerber, a contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine.
“If you need large sums of capital to launch your venture, go back to the drawing board,” Gerber writes. “Find a starting point instead of an endpoint. Scale down pricey plans and grandiose expenditures.”
By doing this, you’ll be able to grow your business with your own control as a leader intact and you can prove your company’s value without asking others for help. “If your concept is successful,” Gerber writes, “your chances of raising capital from investors will dramatically improve.”