Small Boutique Business Budgeting 101

Budgeting is the Buzzword for Small Boutique Business Owners…

Budgeting is the buzzword at the moment for small boutique business owners. But not a lot of the boutique community know how to make use of a budget.

Just like its brother bookkeeping, budgeting can seem like a daunting prospect. Some boutique owners just don’t know where or how to begin. Others think they have to be some sort of number wizard. Or produce tons of financial reports and documents.

Small boutique business friends, budgeting doesn’t have to be super complex. We know you have families and a lot going on. You need a system that works for you. One that allows you to quickly see how you’re doing and check that you’re moving towards your goals. You need a fresh perspective on budgeting for your boutique. And you’re about to get one…

How do we Define Budgeting?

So, what is budgeting?

Budgeting, for you, is essentially a plan for how your small boutique business will spend its money. This is commonly done over the period of a year. However, if you’re getting started late, don’t worry. A budget can be created for shorter periods like 9, 6 or 3 months.

Generally, the best place to start with budgeting is to look at last year’s books. This is going to give you an insight into your boutiques sales and expenses. It’ll also enable you to spot trends like busy and quiet seasons. From here, you can use this information to plan your budget. If your boutique is brand new and you don’t have that info to inform your budget, that’s fine! You can estimate your income and expenses. Then, tweak using any data you have.

Why do Small Boutique Business Owners Need Budgeting?

It almost seems like a question that doesn’t need to be asked. But, it’s good to be reminded afresh of the importance of the budget. So, why is budgeting important for small boutique business owners like yourself?

You can “see the future” of your boutique’s finances

In the game, “Exploding Kittens”, there’s a card called “see the future”. This allows you to see the next 3 cards at the top of the deck. So, before you pick up your next card, you can make your next move wisely, knowing what’s ahead.

Budgeting is a lot like that – it allows you to see what your small business will look like in the future. You’ll have an insight into what your boutique’s financial position will be like for the next 3, 6 or 12 months.

And even more so using information from the previous year. It reflects your business operations so you can adjust accordingly.

Helps you answer the big questions

When it comes to finances, you’ll have some big questions niggling away in the back of your mind.

Questions like: How much money will I have left come the end of this year? Am I spending too much money on inventory or promotion? And am I able to fund my boutique’s operations going forward?

You’ll be able to confidently answer these questions with diligent budgeting. Meaning, they won’t be swimming around in the back of your mind. Budgeting doesn’t just offer financial freedom for your small boutique business – it also gives you peace of mind.

The budget assists you in decision making and goal setting

As a boutique seller, you’ll have sales goals in mind. That’s not in doubt.

Your budget can be used as a measuring stick for your sales performance. By outlining a number for sales in your budget, you have an objective to aim at right there. It’s also an excellent tool for keeping your business expenses down for your small boutique.

You can compare with your books and correct course

When you’ve got a budget in place, you can start to compare it against your books. You’ll be comparing what you thought would happen against what actually happened.

This allows you to see whether you’re achieving your budgeting goals. It also lets you know whether there are any issues on the horizon and if you need to correct course. And it alerts you to changes you may need to make in your spending.

Cash Budgeting tips for Small Boutique Business Owners

Now, are you ready for a fresh perspective on budgeting? Have you ever tried… (drum-roll please) … cash budgeting? This isn’t a new idea. In fact, it’s quite old. So, what is it?

Way back when, people would have different envelopes (say for rent, groceries, or bills) and divide their cash into each one accordingly. That way, whatever needed to be covered, was. Then, they could decide what to do with the rest. Of course, in 2022, people will split money into different accounts rather than envelopes. But the principle is the same: it takes out all the money that’s not yours first and lets you know what you have left.

Cash budgeting is a great solution for small business owners like yourself. It may be old, but it’s gold! How do you implement it? Here are 6 tips to get you started…

1. Set aside for sales tax and payroll

This is important for your budgeting. Remember, that money is not yours.

Like we said, you don’t have to use envelopes. Just open a savings account for payroll tax and a separate one for sales tax.

Once a week, log into your point of sale. Have a look at the sales tax you’ve collected and transfer it into your new savings account. Then do the same for your payroll!

2. Budget for peak seasons

As a small boutique business owner, you’ll need to budget for peak seasons!

If you have the data, use last year’s books to predict when busy seasons will be. But, for example, a common busy time for every boutique owner is Black Friday season. This is that time from November right through till New Year. You know you’re going to have to buy more inventory for this time. So, set aside buying money for that busy period.

3. Have a “new technology budget”

There’s a lot of technology out there that makes life easier for small businesses. And it’s good to use. But with awesome software comes a cost.

Set aside money for upgrades that are around the corner or technology that’s going to help your boutiques operations. This may not happen for every couple of years. However, you want to have that money ready when the opportunity presents itself.

4. Set aside enough money to cover a payroll (or two)

We never want anything bad to happen to our beloved boutique owners who read our Ship blogs. But, sometimes, life happens. In the event of illness or something going wrong, you want to have contingency money.

Have a month’s expenses in a savings account or pot, ready. This way you’re prepared for a worst-case scenario and the pressures off. The last thing you want to be worried about if you get sick is being able to pay your expenses.

5. Use your past numbers to plan for the future

How do you know the amount of income tax you should set apart for this year? Have a look at last year’s books! What did you pay? Now budget for that amount. If your small boutique business is growing, up your budget for income tax each month.

And if you save too much, you’ll have contingency money for next year. Better to over save and have cash left over than to under save and not have enough!

6. Pick a day that works for you to transfer funds

Lastly, set a day to “cash budget” your funds into their separate accounts or pots. Then, stick to it.

As a small business owner, you may be busy – but weekly cash budgeting takes 5 minutes. And it’s a super important area of your business. So, maybe it’s a Friday afternoon. Or, when your bills come out. But whenever it is, choose a time to cash budget and make it a regular rhythm.


Budgeting helps you see the future of your small boutique business. Implementing a budget alongside regular bookkeeping offers vital insight into your business’s financial health. These basics are also the foundation for making informed decisions about the direction of your business. And, having a budget to compare with your books helps you monitor whether you’re achieving your budgeting and financial goals.

How ShipLive can help you towards achieving your small business budgeting goals…

Want to take a step closer to achieving your budgeting goals? Well, we’d like to offer you a 14 DAY FREE TRIAL of our ShipLive live selling platform. Our all-in-one platform includes simple shipping, easy invoicing and quick customer communications tools. All of this makes live selling super easy. So, you can Increase your sales by 10x with streamlined Facebook live selling and achieve those sales budgeting goals! Plus, with discounted shipping rates, you’ll also be able to meet your targets for your expenses.

Get that budget set-up. Let’s hit those goals.

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