Most Mondays find me paying last week's bills, invoicing the work I did the previous week and generally inputting financial data into Quickbooks Pro. A few weeks ago I added another step to my weekly finance session: filling in a spreadsheet with the money earned during the previous week. For this purpose, any work submitted during the week counts as a project for which the money was earned that week. The spreadsheet is divided by currency (US$, Euros, Swiss Francs), with formulas to create US$ totals (using approximate average conversion rates) for the week and month, and a running US$ total.
This spreadsheet, along with a daily planner divided by half hour increments where I try to track how long I spend on various projects (including administrative chores, marketing, etc.) is an attempt to get enough data for an actual business plan. I can (usually) estimate reasonably accurately how long a given project might take and I know what money I have (or don't have) in the bank. But since payments for projects arrive a long time after the work has been completed and since I regularly transfer money from my business account to the family account, I don't have a good sense of how much I actually earn for the time I spend.
Hopefully this system will eventually give me enough data to figure out what I'm actually making per hour, both on average and from specific clients. That should help me create a realistic business plan. Let's see how it goes ...
How do you approach business planning?