We’re weeks away from the start of the energy sapping forced marches called “Annual Budget Planning.” Countless hours will be spent gyrating on what direction our 2019 budgets will take. We’ll search through where we’ll get the money and how and where we will spend it. Invariably, most of us will take this year’s budget and shove some line items around and call it done. Because we’ve run out of time, the budget is due to Finance, and we need to get on with our ‘real jobs’ of getting things done.
Yet budgets fail us – many times they don’t answer the ‘why’ we plan to do things and how we’ll do them. They focus us more on internal accounting then on purpose: our customers. This year, what if we do things a bit different. What if we use the annual budget planning season to ask 2 critical questions about the coming year:
- How will we create better value for our customers?
- How will we do less?
Before you touch a budget template, challenge yourself and your team to:
- Start with a blank slate – if you were starting a new organization, understanding your target customer, what value can you create? And what is your WHY?
- Now translate HOW delivering that value to customers will create value for your company, shareholders and team members.
- Now the WHAT – Be sure to wait until you’ve at least answered the first two things before starting on tactical items: What are you looking to learn along the way to ensure value is actually being created, effectively and efficiently? What resources are required to create the value? How will minimally viable milestones enable the value to be delivered?
Once you have this value creation roadmap, you’ll be able to build a spending budget that can actually deliver more value for customers by doing less. And you’ll also be on the road to having a new asset: an agile marketing mindset.