5 Financial Myths Every Business Owner Hears

It seems like there’s always someone trying to give us advice on everything from dieting to how to clean up wine stains. One thing everyone always has an opinion about is how you should manage your money. Start a small business, and there’s suddenly twice as much unsolicited financial advice flying your way.

With so many voices telling you what you should do, it can be hard to sort out the good advice from the bad. Unfortunately, that’s exactly how financial myths spread, and even more unfortunately, there are some myths that are so prevalent that you’ll sometimes hear them from professionals who should know better.

Here are five financial myths you’ve probably heard about small businesses, and the truth behind them.

You Must Spend More to Be More Successful

“You’ve got to spend money to make money,” right? Who hasn’t heard some variant of this? While this may sometimes be true, spending more isn’t always going to be the key to a positive return on investment. For example, many businesses lose a lot of money to overhead costs because they think they need pricey office space or other facilities that just aren’t justified by their cash flow.

Nor is cutting costs always the best way to get ahead. Knowing when and where to spend your money, and when to do without, is a key factor in whether or not your business will grow. Whenever possible, measure the return on your investment so you are not just spending blindly. For example, track where new business leads are coming from, so you know which marketing dollars are producing the best results.

As a Business Owner, I Can Get a Loan with No Money Down!

There are all kinds of sources out there trying to sell you the “secret” to accessing free money for your business—whether it is low-interest loans with no money down or government grants. The fact of the matter is, while there are grants and loans available to small business owners, most lenders are going to require that you have some money of your own “in the game,” or some serious equity you can put down to help cover the loan.

Small Businesses Fly Under the Radar of the IRS

Variations of the “I’m not a big enough fish” myth persist all over the business world, and are even propagated by some accounting professionals. The fact is, nobody can guarantee who’s going to be audited and who isn’t, so your best financial bet is to always act as if an audit may be coming.

Keeping your books in order is good for more than just keeping you safe from the tax man—it also helps ensure that your business is running properly all the time, and keeps you from missing cash flow opportunities that might otherwise have passed you by.

I’m Good with Money, So I Don’t Need a Budget

Being good with money is one thing, but a budget for your business—like keeping your books in order—does a lot more than just keep you out of trouble. A budget usually represents a detailed analysis of how a company expects to spend money now and in the future. It helps you ensure that capital is not wasted on nonessential items and prevents overpayment for resources used in the business. A budget can also be used in planning for future business growth and expansion.

I’m Good with Numbers, So I Can Do My Own Bookkeeping

This is one of the most common financial myths business owners face. While it may be true that you can do your own bookkeeping, that doesn’t mean you should. Go back up to Myth No. 1; it’s all about knowing how to use your resources. Even if you were a perfectly good bookkeeper, as the business owner, your time and energy would be better spent ensuring the business is growing and operating at an optimal level, rather than poring over the books.