How to create your best budget plan yet

October 20, 2016

Silke Brittain, Commercial Director at Headlines, shares her tips for getting through budget season.

It’s that time of year again – strategic budget planning season’s here. And when it comes to making decisions on where to invest your business’s resources, the pressure is on to get it right.

When you’re so close to your business and communications, it can be difficult to step back and take a bird’s-eye view. But with a clever approach, you’ll be able to get it spot on every year.

Here are some tips for creating your best budget plan yet.

Consider limiting factors
Think about your business’s limiting factors and try to identify the single biggest one. List the ways in which you might be able to overcome your challenges – then evaluate them. Focus on one solution which, if it works, gives you a BIG payback, as well as a handful of others that are easy to implement and most likely to give a decent return. These will become your business critical solutions; you should invest the most and best resources in them.

Think about your three- to five-year plan
What direction is your business going in? What’s your business proposition? Consider your reputation, the markets you operate in, your team, your customers and how the organisation is performing. With the knowledge of where the business wants to be in five years, work backwards to set yearly targets and to consider the steps required to achieve each target along the way.

Identify quarterly goals
Try setting three goals for each quarter. Be SMART when you do so – and think about what you and your team can realistically do in a three-month period. Even the best-planned strategies can fall flat if the goals are overwhelming. Putting too much on everyone’s plates can lead to inaction and lack of focus.

Involve your team
You don’t need to do this alone. In fact, your team is likely to be a fountain of great ideas that will help you reach your milestones. Using your list of limiting factors and solutions as a framework, hold a brainstorm. Not only will your team’s ideas and buy-in help you achieve your goals, but it will also do wonders for engagement, especially when the suggestions are listened to and acted on.

Revisit your plan every quarter and don’t be afraid to adjust it if you need to. You can’t afford to lose focus!

Good luck with your budget planning. We’d love to hear about your experiences! Just head to our contact page and drop us a line about how you’re getting on or, if you would like a query answered, don’t hesitate to ask.