Budget Season. The words alone instill panic in the hearts and minds of many. Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys this process? To help you not only survive the budget season, but perhaps even prosper, we’d like to offer a few tips that will hopefully make this year a little more stress free.
1. Be organized. Set a time aside each day to work on the budget, and don’t allow yourself to get side-tracked. If you’re a list user, make one. Crossing items off will make you feel like you’re accomplishing something. Take a look at last year’s budget and identify those areas that will be automatically renewed this year. Sure, some of the numbers may have changed, but it’s a great place to start.
2. Delegate. Ask your co-workers and support staff for help! Task them with researching their areas of responsibility. After all, who knows better what their needs will be for the coming year?
3. Eliminate distractions. The rest of your work doesn’t stop just because you’re in budget mode, but for a little while, you might have to put some things on hold. Forward your phone; only check your email at certain times during the day. Politely decline requests for assistance or ask for meetings to be rescheduled. Sometimes when we try to multi-task, we’re just asking for trouble.
4. Break it up. Feel like you’re getting frustrated? You may need a change of scenery! Go for a walk, get a cup of coffee, borrow some change for the vending machine. A short break from your desk may do the trick.
If your company is like most, you’ll be looking at ways to minimize cost while maximizing value. Who wouldn’t? The pressures of the difficult economy have hit everyone hard and cutting back just makes sense. Try to identify those areas that could be trimmed back–like trade shows. Perhaps there’s one that’s not as essential, or maybe local personnel can be utilized instead of flying in staff from other locations. This not only saves on airfare but hotel fees as well.
How about presentation items? Instead of printing out your sales materials, why not bring your laptop and make a powerpoint presentation instead? Electronic copies of your media kit are also an excellent way to promote your company without incurring additional costs. Plus, both you and your potential client will be glad for less paper to store or transport. And as an added bonus, Mother Earth will be pleased too!
Certainly none of these suggestions is a revelation, but we can get overwhelmed during this process and forget the basics. Take care of yourself-make sure you eat lunch-get enough sleep. Anything we can do to avoid the impending sense of dread brought on by budget season has got to be good. And hopefully by the very end, you’ll have a finished budget to show for it!