Client Question: Is My Business Ready for a Bank Account?
“Should I open a business bank account if I only make a $200-300 per month?”
This is my version of “Ask Me Anything” where I compile common questions I get from my coaching clients to help those in a similar stage in their business.
Client Question: Should I open a business bank account even if I only make $200-$300 per month?
I actually get this question from almost every one of my clients so the actual dollar amount doesn’t really matter — the idea is that people at (whatever they feel is) the “beginning stages” of their business don’t know the tipping point of when to separate finances from their personal checking account.
The reality is that once you start spending & collecting money on behalf of a business, that FIRST TRANSACTION should be separate.
And here’s why:
You need to know how your business is actually doing.
When you have it all in a separate account, your accounting is pretty much done for you. Your bank account becomes your balance sheet.
You’ll be able to see all the revenue that came in, against all the expenses. After a few months, you’ll hopefully catch some trends in your expenses & start learning how much it actually costs to run this beast.
Not to mention, you’ll be able to make more intentional decisions about your offerings based on their profitability.
I know, that sentence sounds like a bunch of mumble, but let me explain:
Before I had my finances totally separated out, I didn’t have a clue how much shipping costs affected my profits. I offered Free Shipping simply because I wanted to. I thought it sounded like a good deal. But now, I clearly see in my bank account every single flipping shipping charge: $2.61; $5.45; $3.99…. that freaking adds up!
And I used to say, “Oh that’s just the cost of doing business!”
Ummm, no. I needed to make up for that cost elsewhere, so getting personalized stickers & add-ons are now no longer part of the equation and NOT “just the cost of doing business.”
Maybe a couple hundred dollars a month doesn’t seem like much to you, but if you can get your expenses under control, that’s a fabulous start. And you can’t do that until all the things you spend money on are in one place.
It’ll make tax season a helluva lot easier.
Taxes are probably one of the things that scare people THE MOST about running a business. I’m in the same boat, honestly. I hate them and that will never change.
But it’s inevitable that those numbers-y questions will pop up every year and THIS YEAR you will have your sh*t together because your business account kept it all separate.
Mentally You’ll Feel like a Bad Ass
I brought this point up in a post a few months back explaining how to run your books. Quoting that post,
“Once you separate your personal account from your business account, the level of seriousness in your biz will drastically increase.”
If you don’t feel like your business is important enough for its own bank account, you’re right. So just on that manifestation alone, separate that sh*t and it will automatically make you feel like a proud business owner.
Where to get a business account.
If you’re starting small OR accepting most payments online, I would highly recommend a simple PayPal account. You can easily accept online payments for free & you’ll rarely run into any online vendors that won’t accept it. You can get a PayPal debit card if you need to do more in-person transactions.
But if you’ve outgrown PayPal, I would find a smaller, local bank to stash my cash. They’re much more business-friendly and won’t charge all the fees that Bank of America & Chase will. For example, BOA charges $14.99 every month if you do not spend $250/month on your debit card. If you’re not at this stage yet, I would choose somewhere else to bank (I would actually still avoid them even if you are at that stage, but that’s another discussion…)
How to Get Organized
If you need help getting started with organizing your finances, I’ve shared my Free Swipe File that outlines exactly how I set up my financial spreadsheets.
It’s not really about getting to a certain level of monthly sales or a certain special number in your bank account before “being ready” to get a business bank account — businesses of ALL size should have one, Day 1.