If you spent last Summer struggling to justify your budget for this year and now find you’ve not spent it all, watch out – you may find your budget next year will be slashed, regardless of what may have already been approved for ’22. No one wants to allocate funds, taking them off the table for other departments, only to find they gathered dust instead of opportunity. If your fiscal cycle corresponds to the calendar year, you have a short time remaining to wisely spend the remaining funds, and I don’t mean on a lavish holiday party. Here are suggestions to spend (I mean ‘invest’) the remaining budgeted amount in ways that will garner praise and continued budgetary approvals:
Planning ahead while studying the market, emerging technologies, changing audience behaviors, expected competitive action, price/wage increases, regulatory impacts, vendor changes, etc. are all wise investments. This conveys your desire to be proactive and more than prepared to meet any coming challenges. You might even present your findings to other departments in your business or among colleagues (unless, of course, this would spoil your own competitive advantage).
- Marketing Actions
Marketing is an ongoing responsibility and presents a never-ending selection of ways to burnish your company’s reputation or product’s superior value. Year end charitable efforts are very effective as is spending on traditional advertising as costs often decline and impressions go up. You may wish to refresh your branding in preparation for a new year. Logos, slogans, jingles, memberships, strategic alliances, customer rewards – these can all be effective ways to expand your visibility in your desired marketplace.
- New Technology
This can be a new, robust CRM tool to better track results and build customer relationships, a streamlined approach to record-keeping, measurement tools to better assess results of other initiatives, or an easier way to schedule and distribute social media posts. There are many possibilities and each needs to be assessed: 1) has it been researched and vetted to be effective? 2) How to measure its success?
- Employee Recognition and Advanced Training
When you look at your team members, do you see a capable package of skills and experience or do you see a whole human being with baggage and issues? Number 2 is the correct answer and if you want to minimize the ‘baggage’ and maximize how they apply their skills, here’s the #1 way to achieve that: recognize their value to your business, the time they put in, the ideas they contribute, their willingness to forgo personal time to get the project done on time. Providing training to enhance their skills is a double win, making them a more valuable employee to your business and increasing their sense of worth. Provide public opportunities to showcase how employees have ‘shown up’. It could be a perfect attendance record, a suggestion that was implemented, a milestone in their personal lives, overcoming a difficult situation or improving team morale. Publicly acknowledging your team members and offering training to increase their skills is a huge way to keep your team happy and, frankly, just keep them! One of the key reasons employees leave a job (and this has been true for decades) is not having their work recognized as contributing to the business’ success.
So, have some leftover funds in your budget? Don’t want to lose employees? Try any of these business investment suggestions to win, with continued available funds in 2022, improved productivity and marketing punch.