We don’t tend to talk about it much, but our personal habits have a tendency to bleed over into our professional lives. That goes double for anything financial related. The same kinds of problems that plague our personal pocketbooks also blight our business budgets. So whether you’ve been known to be careless with your cash or frugal with your funding, you’re likely to do the same with your business spending.
Below are five types of spenders, whose habits create as many difficulties on the company credit card as they do on their own bank account.
The Impulse Buyer
If you have to psych yourself up before a shopping trip, telling yourself “I’m just here to get milk,” this might be you. In both personal and business finance, little purchases can quickly add up, growing out of control rapidly. The cliched advice applies here: don’t make rash decisions with your money—especially on the company dime.
Budget out purchases (or at least plan for a little flex room) before you go throwing money around, and your finance department will be a little less frustrated with you.
The Shortsighted One
If you buy your Valentine’s Day cards in bulk to save a few bucks, this might be you. It’s not acknowledged as often, but sometimes being a spendthrift can be as dangerous as being too free with your money. That’s why we have the phrase “penny wise, pound foolish” (you know, like the British pound).
Unless you want your business to stall and stagnate, don’t forget to invest in your company by:
- Paying your employees a fair wage
- Offering competitive benefits
- Buying and maintaining the equipment your team needs to be productive
- Expanding the team, your offerings, the office, or whatever is necessary as the company grows
- Investing in promising marketing strategies to help increase conversions
- Outsourcing what can’t (or shouldn’t) be done in-house
If you wage a weekly battle between your grocery bill and your phone bill because of that new iPhone that you “absolutely had to have,” this might be you. Sometimes, the thing you need (or want, more likely) is just out of reach. It may even be something that’s good, or necessary, but the timing is wrong.
For businesses, it could be:
- New team members
- New equipment
- A new office
- A new product line
- The list goes on
If it won’t fit in your budget, don’t just try to cram it in. Be willing to wait until the purchase is more feasible and doesn’t jeopardize the company’s financial viability.
If you refuse to fly coach because “that’s where the peasants sit,” this might be you. There are those among us who prefer the high life, even when their pocketbook disagrees. This can be seriously problematic, especially as it frequently turns into the previous problem.
Remember, discount or bargain isn’t always a bad thing. Often, a more economic solution is comparable in quality. Be willing to settle for what’s functional while you work up to what you really want. In other words, don’t waste your money on first class when it’s more productively spent elsewhere.
Some people love the thrill of rolling the dice. A “Craps Shooter” buys things they can’t afford, similar to “Overreachers,” “VIPs,” and “Impulse Buyers.” Where these gamblers differ is in their financial self-awareness.
Unlike their fellow over-spenders, they know they can’t afford that $700,000 mansion, but they spring for it anyway. They don’t try to convince themselves that “everything will be fine” because they thrive on the danger. They place their bet with a smile on their face, excited to see whether or not they’ll reap the rewards.
In business, this may look like a serial entrepreneur opening a new startup under unstable circumstances. It may be a CEO that takes a colossal loan to open a new location or begin a new product when the outcome is uncertain. They take the risks not because they know they can win, but because they like how it feels.
Taking a calculated risk now and then may be good and appropriate, but like other over-spenders, be aware that you need to know how to rein it in most of the time. Otherwise, the odds will eventually turn against you, and you’ll watch the house reclaim all of your chips.
The Flightless Bird
In the Philippines, they have a saying: “one scratch, one peck.” It’s a reference to how chickens dig in the dirt for their food, and it’s equivalent to the English phrase “hand to mouth.” Either idiom would be an apt description for those who have too much month at the end of their money.
In personal finances, this manifests itself as questions of whether you should fill your gas tank or your fridge. In business, it sounds an awful lot like “That’ll have to wait till next month.” Sometimes it’s a matter of insufficient funds for your needs. Sometimes it’s a symptom of having an overabundance of “needs” even if funds are plentiful. Sometimes it’s even evidence that there’s a leak in the pipes somewhere that you may not be aware of.
The key to fixing this one is taking a close look at your finances (more on this below). In order to survive (personally or professionally), you need to fit your expenses inside your profits, and if that’s not happening consistently, you need to take a long, hard look at your cash flow. Find where you can trim the fat a bit or, if that’s not possible, look for ways to increase available funds, such as by requesting a larger budget from the higher-ups.
The “Laissez-Faire” Attitude
MC Hammer had a laissez-faire attitude about his finances. And you can see where that got him. If you believe that your budget magically balances itself each month, then you might be sporting a laissez-faire attitude yourself. This personality type spends without considering their account balance or budget, and they seem disinterested in living within their means—sure, it probably does work out okay sometimes, but it’s a losing financial strategy if you want to build wealth and save for emergencies.
Bank accounts don’t operate on the power of belief—they don’t have “enough” money in them just because you assume they do. In other words, you can’t just ignore your budget and your balance and expect things will turn out alright as you continue spending. You need to be aware of how your money is being spent, and you need to be aware of the habits (whatever they are) that drive that spending.
Your business’ finances need to be monitored and managed if you want to keep from slipping into the red. The good news is, with Divvy’s business expense tracker, managing your finances is easy. It gives you real-time visibility into what you’ve spent and how that tracks against your goals.
Speaking of goals, you should have them, and Divvy also makes that part easy and flexible. Divvy allows you to see where you stand rather than being shocked to find out how much you’ve spent at the end of the month.
No matter what type of person you are with your finances, Divvy will help you get a real picture of where you stand at all times. With the power of that information, maybe you’ll be able to change some of those bad habits. Try out our tool for free today to find out how easy budgeting (and sticking to it) can be.