What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “budget”? I would not be at all surprised if you answered “controlled” or “squeezed” or “straight jacket.” A glimpse at the evening news informs us that just the sound of this word – budget – strikes terror in the hearts of our elected officials. The same goes for business leaders.
Whether you are running a lean-and-mean startup or a large national corporation, budgets are met with fear and anguish. But let’s look at it objectively. A business budget can be viewed as either
A positive: Creating something, a plan, a future, a roadmap to a goal
A negative: Needing something, a constraint, a limitation, a control
The truth of the matter is that a solid budget is both. What sets the successful business organization apart from the competition, especially in these challenging economic times, is its determination to do both with its budget process. Change your expectations and free your mind. Start to think about your budgeting process as a way to:
- Set and prioritize your corporate financial goals
- Temper those goals with consistent and reliable measurement, to provide meaningful feedback
- Build on your successes, with adaptive thinking and new ideas as your business evolves
Here are some helpful links (most useful for businesses with yearly sales under $10 million) to get your mind wrapped around a better way to approach your budgets.