How to Set Financial Goals for Your Bus Business

person's hand holding a ballpen while using a calculator

For anyone starting and running their own business, there are some basic concepts they need to remember in order to make money. Not spending more than you make, trying to increase profit margins, and trying to keep overhead low — these are all things that any business owner should know. The thing is, these statements as well as other similar ones aren’t so much financial goals as they are guidelines. 

To better illustrate, imagine you asked a friend for ideas for a coach bus business, and they gave you a vague answer, such as “just drive people around,” instead of giving you concrete ideas. Given all that, how do you go about setting financial goals for a bus business? Here are the steps you need to remember.


Figure out what matters most

When you set a goal, you need to examine the ones you currently have and see which ones matter the most to you. From being able to pay off your mortgage to going on a family vacation, it’s crucial that you weigh just how important each one is, and which one should take priority. 

You don’t have to completely cross a goal off your list, but you can and should move them around so you go from the most crucial and pressing matters (e.g. monthly bills) to ones that are more self-indulgent (e.g. a cross-country trip with your family). When you’re able to get your priorities straight, it’ll be easier to tell how much you should aim to set aside for each one. 

For example, if your most immediate concern is to pay for utility bills and groceries while also being able to pay for some minor repairs, then you’ll know to aim to make more than enough to cover those. Then take a look at whatever’s left and decide how much of it to invest back into the business, or into a household emergency fund, and so on. 

Make sure your goals are SMART

It doesn’t matter how many goals you have, as long as you take the time to ensure they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. For example, simply saying you want to try and keep your overhead low for at least six months is only achievable, relevant, and timely. However, it is neither very specific nor measurable. A better way to frame this goal would be to say you want to keep your overhead at X amount or less for at least six months. 

When you have SMART goals, you have a clearer picture of what you’re trying to achieve with each one, so that you’ll know what you need to work on and how you’re going to reach them. 

Separate short-term goals from long-term ones

Once you have your SMART goals and even a rough idea of when you want or are aiming to achieve them, you can then sift out the long-term goals and the short-term so you can focus on the latter instead of spreading yourself too thin trying to achieve all of them. 

Don’t forget to pinpoint which goals are part of a long-term strategy, too, rather than being standalone goals. For example, if one of your long-term goals is to double or even triple your profits, you should be realistic enough to realize that expanding your fleet is essential to achieving that goal. And in order to expand your fleet, you need to aim to buy one or two more buses in the near future.

If you have any goals that seem daunting or overwhelming, take a step back and see if you can’t break them down into smaller goals that are more manageable.

Make sure your budget is realistic

Make no mistake: putting together a list of both short-term and long-term goals sorted by importance is a considerable achievement. However, you need a clear picture of your business’s financial capabilities so you can adjust your goals as needed. Otherwise, your goals won’t be as realistic and you may find it more difficult to work on reaching them.

For instance, if you’re aiming to buy a used shuttle bus to add to your fleet within six months to a year, you may want to give yourself more time to make that purchase if you’re already having trouble paying a driver and paying for a rented office space.

Once you make sure you have a good idea of how much is coming in and how much is going out, not only will you be better able to make decisions, but you’ll be able to see which goals need tweaking and which ones need more time to achieve.

Set benchmarks

Once you have a clearer picture of your business’s budget and you’ve made any adjustments to your short-term and long-term financial goals, you’ll want to set benchmarks for said goals. That way, you’ll be able to see your progress, and if you need to work harder in one area or another. If you can’t seem to hit those benchmarks, you‘ll be able to tell what went wrong and where.

When you run your own business, it can be tempting to just focus on certain things and leave everything else to chance. But that’s the last thing you should do unless you want your business to fail. So keep the above tips in mind when setting financial goals for your bus business, and you won’t be floundering about trying to make it all work.


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