One of the most frustrating things we encounter regularly is business owners that are unwilling or nervous to share their budgets. Sure, some may not know it, but others will guard it like the crown jewels – fearing if they reveal the budget that we’ll spend it all instantly.
Well, of course we’ll spend your budget….
It’s called a budget for a reason – you’ve budgeted it for spending. So if you tell us what your budget is – of course we’re going to use it. Maybe not every last penny but we’re going to try to maximize results by spending most of it. But what we’re NOT going to do is take all your money and give you nothing in return. What we’re going to do is match the services and expenses to suit your budget while we achieve your objectives.
You’re also not going to hand over all your money upfront – so you’ll be able to review the work and service you’re getting in return for your investment. If you’re unhappy – you can always stop. If some firm does ask you to hand over all your money upfront – you’re not hiring a marketing firm – you’re being held up – run away.
Yes, you can tell us your budget – you’ll get a better result.
Provided your budget is realistic – by sharing what it is – and discussing your objectives – your design or marketing firm (hopefully us) can tailor the projects and services to fit. We use to be more easy going about budget discussions with clients. We’d head back to the office after our meeting and brainstorm all sorts of things. Big ideas. Great ideas. Then we’d write up our proposal and arrange another meeting to review it. We’d go over all the great stuff we wanted to do and get buy-in and we’d all be excited – then they’d turn to the budget page…and say “we can’t afford that.” And then finally, they’d tell us what they could afford… but now they wanted everything we outlined – for far less. And we’d have to say, “we can’t afford that.”
So now we insist on a budget figure. It can be ballpark. It can be a range. But we have to leave our initial consultation meeting with a number – otherwise we can’t do a proposal. We want to offer the best services and best options that are affordable under your budget. Sure we can think up all sorts of things – but if they can’t be paid for what’s the point. Wouldn’t you rather us use our creativity and experience to develop solutions that will accomplish your goals and that you can afford?
So don’t be afraid to share your budget. Even if you hold a little bit back in the figure. It will make the whole experience and end result much, much better. If you’re hesitant because you’re getting an uneasy feeling about “them” then don’t hire those guys. You’re entering a relationship – so you’d better like and trust who you’re going to bed with – and if you’re not comfortable discussing money with them – that should be a big alarm bell.
By sharing your budget and your goals – your new marketing / creative partner will be able to design a strategy and plan that’s doable. And their “plan” should include how you will be measuring success too – so you can determine if you want to continue paying them. But that’s a different post.