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the 8 money moves every business owner needs for financial zen

This one’s for the badass women running the show.

If you just started a freelance gig – or if you’re already a full-fledged entrepreneur – you know that when it comes to financial planning for business owners, there’s a lot of…“chatter.” 

Everyone has a strategy, an opinion, or a thought on how you should do things. Especially when it comes to money! (And hey, maybe we’re biased. But feels especially true for women-owned businesses?)

In this post, we help you cut through the noise with these 8 money moves every savvy business owner should follow to plant the seeds for a life of financial zen. 

👀: 8min read

financial planning for business owners

📸: Chanel Mckinsie

Money Move #1: Clean financial house + boundaries

In other words: Separate your personal and business finances.

  1. Open a business checking account. 
  2. Get separate debit and credit cards. 
  3. Use them solely for business.

It’ll be SO much easier on your “accounting” brain (and entrepreneurial sanity). 

If you’re still under 1 year in business, you might read this and think, “I donno Penny, I’m not ready for a business account yet”. 

But when it comes to financial planning for business owners, this step is essential. It’s the foundation for good financial housekeeping. 

Ask yourself: Are you really not ready? 


Are you hesitant to add yet another bank account and cards, because you believe you’re not good with money? Maybe you think you won’t be able to manage things well? 

If that’s the case and you’re in need of a supportive hand – join Penny. We've created educational modules for life *and for business,* so you can learn how to tackle money decisions with confidence.

Money Move #2: Know your (taxable) expenses

Business related expenses are considered tax deductible – i.e., they help reduce your taxable income (or liability, same thing). Yay, less taxes!

There are rules of course – you can’t expense anything and everything. 

For example: Did you know you can include a car rental for business travel? 

But! If you travel to Hawaii for both work + fun, only a percentage of that cost could be claimed as a business expense. 

And yes, you can get into tax trouble if you claim non-business expenses. But there’s a lot you can safely add, too. So it’s important to get familiar with what expenses you can and cannot include.

PS. Remember that Penny module designed for biz owners? In it, we coded the most common business expenses into a Penny calculator. You can estimate your tax savings, learn what things are typically expensable, and calculate your quarterly tax bill within a couple of clicks. Awesome, right?! Get it here.

Money Move #3: Speaking of expenses… Keep them slim

Cut any unnecessary costs. (c’mon, you saw this one coming!)

How to do that in practice? 

Evaluate your spending on a quarterly or annual basis. The key here is that everything has a purpose.

For example: 

  • Paying for a Google drive subscription that you don't even use? – Goodbye!
  • Spent thousands on marketing that yielded little return? – Shapeshift. 
  • Bought business cards and still have the whole stack in your drawer? – What’s the point?!

When you’re running a business, you’ll likely spend money on a looot of things that may or may not work out. That’s okay. It’s part of the process. 

However…Once you realize it’s not working for you, stop paying for it. Nobody wants to light their money on fire, right? 

Money Move #4: Streamline! Streamline! Streamline!

Head’s up: this is where most business owners fail. 

When you start, you assume you’ll have time to comb through your finances, sort each transaction, color-code them into categories…you won’t

Yes, organization is your best friend. So is automation

Whether you choose to work with a bookkeeper or not, create an accounting process for tracking expenses, revenue, cost of goods, payroll – money in, money out. 

Use tools like Quickbooks (accounting), Stripe/Shopify (payment processing) and Gusto (payroll) to streamline your biz. See how much of it you can connect. Make it easy on yourself. 

The less manual processing and places to look, the more time for the important things. Like business growth. And impromptu lunches by the beach. Mimosas included.

Money Move #5: Create a designated space

Create space in your calendar for your money moves. It can be weekly, biweekly, or monthly.  

Think of it as a regular date with your business. Use this time to tackle anything and everything you consider “money-related” like:

  • Plan your future money moves, and where you see the potential for business growth.
  • Streamline your process, send invoices, organize your receipts. 
  • Keep up with your accounting, so you’re prepared come tax time. (Don’t wait until year-end to do it all. Doing the work in advance makes it SO much easier and less overwhelming.)
  • Read or listen to books about financial planning for business owners
  • Calculate your net worth with the Penny money quiz

You get the picture! When you create space for it, it’s easier to stay on top of your financial health.

Of course, physical space counts too. Set up your office space, desk, or *corner of the living room* with designated folders for “offline” expenses: receipts, biz docs, etc. 

You can even set up a cute glass panel next to your desktop to keep yourself accountable with your top 3 money moves. 

(And if you don’t have a designated business space yet, start there. Shops like Staples often have good sales. And HP has sleek tools for creatives).

Money Move #6: Price your product or service RIGHT

Picture us screaming from the rooftops with signs and matching t-shirts:

This is where SO many business owners go wrong!!!

Inflation is real. Your costs will go up. We know your heart is big. We want you to keep it that way. 

That’s why you’ve got to keep your bottom line. 

Quick crash course on financial planning for business owners: 

  1. Do your Research. Who are your competitors? What are they charging for a similar product? What’s the average profit margin in your industry?

Your research can help determine whether your pricing is “off” or not. But more than that: it can expand you on what’s possible and inspire you with new ideas. 

  1. Know your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Your COGS includes all the materials you bought to create the product or service you’re selling. Simply put, how much did it directly cost you to make your product? 

You need to know this number so you know how much to charge. We don’t want to break even or even worse, be at a deficit. Ideally, we want you to base your pricing off your desired profit margin and stick to that (see below).

  1. Consider your Return on Investment (ROI). If you invest time, energy, or money into this, what will you get in return? 

Questions like “Will you get more press/visibility?” are equally important as:

  1. Did this marketing promo really bring new business? (money)
  2. How many hours does it take to complete a product/service? (time) 
  3. Does a particular task or responsibility exhaust you? (energy) 

Put these 3 together, and they will help you determine your desired profit margin – aka how much money do you want or need to make to drive a profit for yourself and your business? 

The goal is to create a comfortable profit margin for your business, at a reasonable price point for your clients and customers, so your business can bloom into a venture that will last for many years to come. 

Money Move #7: Leverage your funding

Did you know? Almost 50% of new entrepreneurs are women. (And 50% of those are women of color – one thing we can truly celebrate!!!)

Unfortunately, not all of us succeed. 20% of women-owned small businesses fail in the first year; 50% within the first five

Let’s face it. Sometimes your business simply won’t yield enough in revenue to keep your head above water. 

Especially in the beginning. Or if you’re a woman. (And yes, the bias hits harder in the BIPOC community.)

Know that there are options out there. 

Our founder, Crissi, broke down the 411 on creative ways to fund your business based on her personal experience with Penny. You can read more about that here.

Her advice, in 8 words? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Money Move #8: Don’t forget about YOU

Ya YOU! The badass woman who took the leap and started a business.

You know how much we value self-care at Penny. Running your business is no joke. So take good care of yourself, girl! Get blue-light blocking glasses to protect your eyes from long screen times. Invest in comfy business clothes. Feed your green soul with cute plants for your office or desk. 

But this goes beyond your health and wellness. 

When it comes to financial planning for business owners, your PERSONAL success matters just as much as your business. 

And yes, these are in fact 2 separate things – veryyy easy to blur the lines here!

Penny can help you learn how to: 

  • pay yourself as a business owner (yep, CEO salary isn’t just for CEOs. understand your numbers so you can make sure you're covered), 
  • build an emergency fund (for when life happens), and 
  • grow your nest egg (AKA retirement!). 

We hate unnecessary financial lingo (and anxiety) as much as you do. That’s why we broke it down in straightforward, actionable steps to set yourself up for success – in life and in business. 

Sign up here to access Penny’s business owner module. (it includes all the biz tips & tailored money calcs to make tax season a breeze).

Not a Penny member yet, but curious about which smart money moves may be right for your wallet? Take the free money maker quiz

Want more money #inspo? Follow us on Insta @startwithapenny


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