Setting Your Best Budget
In strategic planning, a comprehensive budget is key for a fiscally-solid year. But where to begin?
Budget-setting is a difficult task for any business due to the problems inherent to making decisions based on imperfect and incomplete information. Projections often end up being based on past results, which may be accurate enough during periods of stability, but the future tends to hold surprises. Still, there are a few smart directives that’ll help illuminate even the broadest scope of budgeting.
Know your Objectives
Stay focused on your strategic objectives and do a thorough scan of the options that can deliver on those objectives. Be sure those objectives have a returns case (investments should be contributing toward institution growth) and absolutely build out those cases. This linear planning will help provide a clearer, vision for fulfilling business needs.
For recurring or repeating business objectives, it is imperative to audit spending for services that may no longer be needed, or whose costs outweigh the benefits. As new products or initiatives are undertaken, there is no need to keep spending on old fat. The community financial institution landscape is rapidly changing — there are no sacred cows.
Be on the Same Page
Department leaders will generally know where to focus resources within their departments or projects, but budget-setting is an organization-wide endeavor! An organized, cohesive effort will help ensure each team can maximize impact spending on the vision for the whole institution.
First, get as much input as possible, and create a uniform set of expectations for how that data is to be submitted. By standardizing up front, countless hours will be saved when drafting the final product. Start the data collection process early enough to get feedback and give time for tradeoffs.
Get the Most for your Money
Don’t hesitate to be a demanding negotiator when dealing with vendors and partners When considering a new product or service, demand the best deal — don’t entertain vendors who aren’t up front with their pricing. Also, be sure to check current contracts, as there may be new price breaks, available discounts, or opportunities to renegotiate.
Smart vendor investments can simultaneously support multiple revenue streams, whether it’s through a bundled suite of products, or cross-sale capabilities. A partner with a shared commitment to achieving goals will help maximize your financial results while utilizing its product. Now that’s bang for your buck.
Working for you, with you
Buzz Points®’ holistic platform solution supports all revenue-enhancing objectives, from increased interchange lift and account acquisition, to loan adoption and account-balance rewards that decrease cost-of-funds. The Client Success team is comprised of veterans of community financial institutions, whose industry experience makes them expert partners in helping your institution succeed.
With Buzz Points’ industry-leading pricing, you know exactly what you’re paying up front, offering stackable discounts on volume and contract-length on top of an easy-to-understand cost per eligible account pricing model. The results are undeniable!
The Buzz Points platform solution uses incentives to attract, reward, and retain cardholders; the bottom-line results are undeniable. According to a Total Economic Impact™ study from Forrester Consulting, Buzz Points will pay for itself in just under 4 months, with a return of 217% over three years.
Unfortunately, there is no single correct playbook for budget setting. The “known knowns” from previous fiscal years are liable to shift one way or another, and the “known unknowns” that loom on the horizon can at best be estimated. However, starting with the advice provided in this article can simplify the process, ensuring you are aligning your spending with profitable business-building goals.