It’s hard to believe Q4 is just weeks away. That means it’s already time to begin planning and budgeting for marketing in 2018. While it can be overwhelming, planning today paves the way for success next year. Before you get started, check out these 8 tips to budget like a pro for 2018.
Take an honest look at this year’s budget. Did you stay on track? If you didn’t, take the time to examine areas that were off. Did you significantly under-budget certain departments? Did unexpected growth also increase you budgeting expenses? It’s okay if your budget wasn’t perfect this year, but it’s important to understand what caused any misalignment so you can plan for next year with better accuracy.
Before you budget for 2018, ensure you have SMART goals in place. Maybe you have a goal for an updated website that converts better. Perhaps you’d like to double your retention. Once you have your goals, determine the resources needed to achieve these. Is it more advertising? Hiring a web development company? Make sure these expenses are included in your budget.
By nature, initiatives inherently take more money and more time estimated. Just like in previous year’s, there will be unexpected expenses and some projects will go overbudget. Ensure preparedness by adding additional padding to your planning. When things don’t go according to plan in 2018, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief for your foresight.
Companies tend to use best-case scenarios for budgeting. But, when budgeting, we need to curtail our optimism. What will actual expenses be? Look at your big ticket items (which are likely top of mind) and then go beyond. Small expenses can add up quickly as well. Do you need to update computers or software? Will there be additional employee expenses? Will insurance go up? Consider these areas and include them in your planning.
Dividing your budgeting by must-haves and nice-to-have will help with prioritization. It also allows for mid-year adjustment based on how goals are tracking. Must-haves are non-negotiable and include payroll, rent and product/equipment necessary to operate. Nice-to-have may include upgrades, new technology, or cultural expenses like snacks and team outings.
Make sure you enlist your team’s support as you complete budgeting. Once set, ensure your employees are on board and dedicated to keeping the budget. Financials impact everyone and nearly everyone impacts financials. Therefore, the more buy in across the board, the more likely you’ll stay on track with your budget.
Be sure to touch-base with 3rd party vendors, partners and suppliers before finalizing your budget. Let them know you’re budget allocations and ask if they have any recommendations or upcoming price increases. Now is also a good time to review any contracts and negotiate rates for the next year.
If at all possible while building your budget, plan to set some money aside. If you spend your profits as soon as you make them, you may have difficulty achieving future growth. We get that some years this may be more difficult to do, but setting aside savings now is investing in your future.
What about you? What are your budgeting tips? Want to join the conversation with other marketing professionals? Join us Thursday, September 21 for a Happy Hour from 4 PM to 6 PM and discuss 2018 budgeting and planning with other professionals.
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