Quick, what pops into your mind when I say, Budget? Oh… I hear a lot of groans, but nothing specific. When I hear Budget, I feel the same way. Now, I know as the president of a planning software company, I shouldn’t have that reaction, but I am human. Even with the best tools, the fact remains that all businesses struggle with the same issue: balance. How do you maintain balance between growth and earnings given the costs associated with obtaining new business?
First, I take inventory. Where am I now? Where do I want to be? What actions do I have to take to make that a reality? As with all of us, forecasts can be somewhat bittersweet. We know what we’d like to do, we know what is most likely to happen, and we know what will happen if we don’t succeed.
For me, the key element to a successful budget (or plan) is one most of us can relate to, that is, if you’ve ever been on a diet program. It’s not the shakes, the meals, or the hype that make it successful, it’s two very specific things: commitment and accountability.
What makes a diet successful, even through turbulent times – such as the holidays – is focusing on the goal and consistently tracking your actions, calories/points, or what have you. Daily or meal-to-meal check-ins reinforce the goal, while at the same time allowing modifications in behavior if you go off course.
In business, we need use the same principles if we are to be successful. The terms commitment and accountability can be terrifying to some, the same way the word diet is to others. Why though? Because a plan’s success is haunted by its evil twin: failure.
However, if we tie commitment and accountability together with consistency, we get success. Success is an art. It’s not a quick fix or gimmick. It needs to be practiced and refined.
Your Budget is your financial commitment. The tools you use should then provide the tracking, measurement, and accountability of the actions that will make your budget a success. Consistency is key here. The plan will only work if we consistently adhere to these activities.
So, as with the diet I recently adopted (dropped 15 lbs. by the way!), a plan can only remain successful if we continue with the best practices we’ve learned. As for our own budget for 2021, the same processes apply. We must set our goals, and identify and track specific actions throughout the year that we believe will contribute to the success of these goals. We will be accountable for these actions, modify them as needed to stay on course, and succeed by staying focused on our goal and our mission: the continued growth and success of our company in service of our clients and our employees for years to come.
Happy New Year,