Common Financial Mistakes that Every Small Business Owner Should Avoid


Here’s a topic too important to fit into my 6 Essential Tips For Small Business post that warranted its own…

Financial management is essential for the success of any business, and for small business owners, it’s even more critical. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs make common financial mistakes that can have long-term consequences. While larger businesses may recover from financial missteps, small companies may not have that luxury. Read on to learn about the financial pitfalls that you should avoid.



Making Excessive or Unnecessary Purchases Early On

While it may be tempting to splurge on the latest equipment or office upgrade, it can seriously affect your business’s finances. You may think that expensive office space, high-salary employees, football tables, and other things are essential in your growth journey. Still, they may either be helpful after you’ve grown your business or unnecessary.

How to avoid this mistake: Have a budget and stick to it. Before making large purchases, review your budget and determine whether you can afford it. If the purchase is not essential to the operation of your business, consider whether it’s worth the expense.

Additionally, consider alternatives to purchasing new equipment or upgrades. You may be able to rent or lease equipment or purchase used equipment at a lower cost. By being mindful of your spending and exploring alternative options, you can avoid making unnecessary purchases that can strain your business’s finances. Avoid living lavishly like Jordan Belfort from The Wolf of Wall Street (on fuboTV), only to regret it later.

Saving MoneySaving Money on Accounting Services

A lot of small business owners think that they can manage their small business accounting on their own. After all, the turnover will not be huge in the initial year. However, inaccurate financial records, unaccounted expenses, and other oversights can haunt you later. It could be when you file for taxes or realize that you do not have enough finances to meet your expenses.

How to avoid this mistake: Seek out the services of a professional accountant or accounting firm. A qualified accountant can help you keep accurate financial records, develop a budget and financial plan, and provide advice on tax planning and filing. Further, they can provide valuable perspectives on the economic well-being of your enterprise and advise on improving your finances.

When selecting an accountant, research and choose someone with experience working with small businesses. Accountants familiar with your industry can offer customized solutions that align with your business goals. Avoid attempting to save money by hiring accountants who provide the lowest quote. They may not necessarily be up to the mark.

Tax PlanningNeglecting Income Tax Planning

Failure to plan for income taxes can result in unexpected tax bills, penalties, and fines – putting a strain on your business’s finances.

While managing the challenges of running a small business, owners may overlook the importance of setting aside funds for taxes. Some small business owners mistakenly believe they can allocate all their profits toward business and personal expenses. Nevertheless, it is essential to remember that taxes are to be paid on any profits earned.

How to avoid this mistake: A good accountant should be able to help you with creating a budget at the start of the financial year. This budget would also include room for income taxes. The accountant can also ensure you keep accurate financial records and file taxes promptly.

Personal & BusinessMixing Personal and Business Finances

Combining personal and business finances can make it challenging to know your business’s financial status and determine your tax liability.

How to avoid this mistake: Open a separate bank account and get a linked credit card for your business. Use them for business expenses only, and avoid using personal money for business purposes.

Cash FlowNot Keeping Track of Cash Flow

Cash flow is the heart of your business. Without positive cash flow, your business will not be able to survive. Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t keep track of their cash flow, leading to financial problems at later stages.

How to avoid this mistake: Make sure you know how much money is coming in and going out of your business. Use accounting software to create cash flow statements and projections to understand your business’s financial health clearly.

Emergency FundForgetting to Have an Emergency Fund

Business owners may rely on credit or loans to cover unexpected expenses without an emergency fund. This can result in high-interest rates and long-term debt, which can strain your business’s finances.

How to avoid this mistake: This one is simple – establish an emergency fund. The fund can deal with unexpected expenses and disruptions, such as equipment malfunctions or natural disasters. A good rule of thumb is to set aside at least three to six months’ expenses in an emergency fund.

When creating your yearly budget, plan for unexpected expenses, too. This will help you avoid using your emergency fund for non-emergency costs.

Monitoring GoalsNot Monitoring Goals and Progress Through Data

If you don’t use data to monitor your progress, you might make wrong decisions based on guesses or incomplete information. This can cause problems with keeping track of goals and managing resources, which can have disastrous effects in the future.

A similar mistake is not regularly tracking and analyzing financial data. Small business owners may collect data, but without analyzing and using it to inform decision-making, the data becomes meaningless.

How to avoid this mistake: Establish data-driven goal management practices. Start by identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your business goals, such as revenue or customer acquisition cost. Collect and track data on these KPIs regularly.

Use the insights gained from data analysis to refine your goals and strategies accordingly. Also, consider investing in analytics software or customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help you streamline your goal management practices and make more informed decisions.

Cost-CuttingCost-Cutting in the Short Term as a Quick Fix

Short-term cost-cutting measures may seem like a quick fix to improve cash flow, but they can have adverse long-term effects. For example, reducing employee salaries or benefits may save money in the short term. Still, it can lead to decreased employee morale, increased turnover, and difficulty in attracting and retaining talent in the long term.

You may cut costs on essential services or equipment as a part of cost-cutting. While delaying or skipping necessary maintenance or upgrades may seem like a cost-saving measure, it can lead to more significant costs. Equipment breakdowns or system failures can result in downtime, lost productivity, and expensive repairs or replacements.

How to avoid this mistake: When looking at cost-cutting measures, think long-term. Assess the potential long-term consequences of any cost-cutting measures and weigh them against the short-term benefits. Looking for opportunities to cut costs without sacrificing quality or essential services would be best.

One way to cut costs without sacrificing quality is to negotiate better deals with suppliers or vendors. Review your expenses regularly and identify areas where you can negotiate better rates or terms.

Another way to save money long-term is to invest in technology or automation that can streamline processes and increase efficiency. While there may be an upfront cost, the long-term savings in time and resources can be significant.


As humans, we are prone to committing mistakes. However, by being aware of these typical financial mistakes, you can evade problems and enhance your business’s chances of flourishing.

Remember that businesses rarely collapse due to a single blunder. Instead, it’s the culmination of numerous errors made over time. Don’t fear failure; use it as a learning opportunity and modify your financial plans accordingly.


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