Budgets promote vision with numbers. They just do. A lackluster budget process represents a lackluster vision. An engaged budget process with visits to key stakeholders and excitement for new or enhanced offerings brings engagement. A comprehensive budget plan that considers and promotes the vision of your key stakeholders/customers brings good support.
Organizations work through new budgets at different times of year. However, as the New Year approaches you ponder end of year purchases, vendor deals, moratorium weeks, supply arrangements, staff, rent, and a myriad of miniscule items specific to your shop. Do it with vision.
Visibility: Get visible. Make sure the right decision makers understand you are watching out for their needs. Visit, call, listen, and integrate their ideas. Help them see how what you do accomplishes their goals. Put out a simple brag sheet on some special accomplishments.
Integrity: This is not the time to fudge numbers and hesitate. Admit defeats and mistakes. Project confidence you have plans to go forward and be there. A newer stake holder in a shop walked up to me one day, faced me squarely, and asked, “Are you going to be here for me?” Be there.
Sensitivity: Some of your best stakeholder/customers may be going through a rough budget. Learn from them. Find ways to creatively assist them through your services. Another may be planning to explode and need more. Find the balance. Make sure you are not steamrolling past another’s need or vision that catches you in a surprise battle.
Influence: You are who you are. You are the expert in your services. Go ahead and be a little bold. Communicate confidence and concern and competency to your customers. Update them with new ways you can serve them and changes that might affect their future. Take care of your normal alerts concerning mail, paper costs, etc.. Then consider something not as evident and show some proactive interest in their world.
Opinion: This is a good time to be assertive. Don’t be aggressive. Do be assertive. If there is a conversation ongoing that might affect you and your team, put in your two cents. Show you care and show your personal ownership of serving the needs of the organization.
Necessity: Make sure all the necessities of the organization are handled in your budget. It can be easy to look to the exciting items and expansion. That is good. Daily operations must continue performed with excellence. A good in-plant can invisibly handle necessities and become overlooked. Communicate you are printing those 200,000 or 2,000,000 pieces of necessity a month alongside all the extras and expansions.
Summary: Tying dollars in clear ways with visibility, sensitivity, influence, opinion, and necessity can give a total VISION to your budget for decision making stakeholders. They are buried in their own budgets of which you are a line item. Make it easy and supportive for them. When you need the extra push for added software, online systems improvement, facility build out, equipment, training, or people, they will remember you well.
Your budget covers every area on the THRIVE pyramid. Consider them all.