Alright, entrepreneurs. It’s that time of the year that most event business owners agree isn’t their favorite time of the year. If you’ve been following me over on Instagram, then you’ll know what I’m about to say: it’s budget season.
OK, wait! Before you scream in terror, click the X on this browser, and run far away, I want to show you that setting budgets doesn’t have to be complicated by teaching you how we set our business budgets not just here at Brandee Gaar but also our event planning companies, Blush and Eleven Events. I have to admit it: I’m not exactly a numbers person BUT I do like to have a plan (hello type A!). So when our budget-setting season comes around in August, I get pretty excited. The good news is, if you’re the complete opposite, I’ve already done all the hard work for you (gleefully)!
And I know you don’t need me to tell you twice that as a business owner, building a sustainable business means being fully aware of how much money you’re making, how much you’re spending, and how much you have available to allocate growth. Maybe a part of you gets excited to prepare for next year because you can see how much you’ve grown from the previous year and how much potential your business has for the following year. But I also understand how the numbers can feel overwhelming, but today, my goal is to change that for you. After this post, I hope you feel like you are in control of your finances instead of the other way around. Grab your notebook and let’s dive in.
(P.S. Stay until the end for an announcement for an opportunity that will help you even more with budget-setting as an event planner!)
Step 1: Physically list out every business expense you currently have.
When it comes to budgeting, the number one thing I hear from event professionals is they believe they don’t have much overhead. However, once they write out their expenses — and I’m talking about physically writing them down or recording them digitally — they’re always surprised because the number is larger than they previously thought. An entire year of business expenses is a lot to keep track of after all, so it’s almost guaranteed you’ll underestimate that amount if you don’t physically write your expenses out.
When you are completing this step, don’t skip any expense. Even if it’s just $1, it’s in your business’s best interest to list it out because you want to be as accurate as possible. (This preciseness will be especially important for the other two steps.) You’ll also want to categorize all your expenses. Not sure where to start? Grab my free budget planner template to help you get all of your expenses in one place. Not only will categorizing every business expense help you see exactly how much money your business is spending, but you can also see where most of your money is going and if you have any forgotten recurring expenses.
Step 2: Add all business expenses you project to have next year.
After you’ve got your year’s worth of expenses in order, the next step is to include any business expenses you expect to have in 2022. This includes education events (such as the Wedding MBA), online courses you and your team may take part in, coaching or membership programs, networking events, system upgrades, new hires, etc.
And a crucial part of this step is to include a salary for yourself! This is a topic I am incredibly passionate about because I see too many extraordinary and gifted entrepreneurs not paying themselves a fair salary. It’s also something I struggled with at the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, and I understand all too well how difficult it is to overcome this obstacle. However, remember that if you’re not paying yourself, you aren’t creating a business — you’re just creating a very expensive hobby. If you want to learn more about how to pay yourself fairly for your time and services, click here to listen to my conversation with Ashley from the Purpose Gathering podcast all about this topic.
Step 3: Set your business’s financial goals.
Now comes the fun part because this is where you get to set a game plan for how you’re going to grow your event planning business! By now, you should have your total expenses for the year plus your projected business expenses for 2022. The next step is to take all the data you have and set your event business’s income goals for next year. This is how you do that:
Say your forecasted expenses are $70k. You can take that number and decide how much you want to make in profits. You can then take that total number and break down what your goal is every month. For example, if you want to make $30k in profit, your total goal for the year is $100k. This means your monthly goal is about $8,300 worth of sales. With this number in mind, you can now figure out how many of each of your services you’ll need to sell each month to hit this goal. If your average package is $2k, this means you’ll need to sell 4-5 packages each month to hit your stretch goal of $100k.
Bonus tip: Make your goals SMART.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. When it comes to setting your budget for your event planning business, I want you to focus most of the A part of this acronym because attainable equals sustainable. Perhaps one day, you’d like to make $100k, but it might not be feasible if this is your first, second, or even third year in your business. Be realistic with yourself and set goals that are reasonable for your situation, especially if your goal is to grow your event planning business. Remember, growing a business isn’t a sprint — it’s a slow-and-steady marathon.
Feeling more prepared to set a budget for your event planning business?
Hopefully, this blog post helps you get started on how to set your business’s budget! My mission is to help business owners like you create the business and life you love, without too much overwhelm, so let me know if you found this helpful in the blog comments or by tagging me on Instagram!
And as promised, the announcement! On August 12th, I’m hosting a 3-hour workshop called Create Your 6-Figure Plan dedicated to helping creative and wedding entrepreneurs like yourself set a customized and sustainable budget plan so you can create the business you’ve always dreamed about having. I’m only allowing a limited number of people to sign up, so seats are limited! Grab your ticket by clicking here, and I’ll see you there!