“Budgeting isn’t about controlling the resources; it’s about ensuring adequate funds for your processes to function smoothly." - Unknown
Recently, Govt of India presented its budget. The Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman said "This Budget is for continuity; for sustaining the stimulus that has been given."
One of the most prominent business leaders of India has said that this budget is consistent with our Prime Minister's vision of making India self-reliant, a digital superpower, a sustainability leader and a healthy nation.
Similarly, to make themselves resilient and respond to the ever evolving threats and risks, organizations need to plan for a budget that can help secure its future and that of its stakeholders - both internal and external. Even though this is well understood by everyone in the organization, we still hear from our fellow professionals that they find it really challenging to get the budget.
So, how to get 'enough' budget for your needs?
In my past stint with a major multinational, I had requested the top management to allow me take control of managing multi-million dollars of Capex and Opex budgets for various businesses. I was then given the responsibility to manage these budgets, which thankfully I was able to do effectively and efficiently. I write the following from my experiences and learnings.
The first step is to ensure that you have created a well-thought, well-researched case study, qualified with numbers, dollar values, aspects related to legal and compliance. If you can showcase how the budget would help achieve or strengthen some of the organization's strategic objectives of next 3 to 5 years, that would be a great combination for success.
However, just the case study would not be sufficient enough. One of the most effective strategy for getting the budget is to chalk out a detailed plan with timelines about your initiatives you are seeking the budget for. Ensure you have a clear roadmap with end results or end state. Unfortunately, most of the times we think about getting into those details only once the budget is approved. This thought process needs to be changed as it doesn't work with the leadership team.
The leaders who control the budget need to know how you are going to spend the budget once it is given. They need to get convinced about your conviction of being able to drive what you said and achieve the end results. They need to get sold on your confidence level for being able to do so. For them, it is about ROI (return on investment), which need not always be 'money to money' but also 'money to value'. If you have not prepared yourself to demonstrate the later part of these equations, you weaken your chances of getting the funds you deserve. Remember and understand the proverb we have been hearing since our childhood - ‘God helps those who help themselves’.
It would be a great exercise to run through your case study and plans with your colleagues and supervisor to take their inputs for improvements. If you can practice as a role play, it would boost up your confidence. You would be better prepared. The first win you need to score is with your supervisor to ensure he understands, supports the idea and request for the budget.
Next important factor is your track record. How has been your record on such initiatives you have taken in past, when funded? Did you achieve what you committed? While allocating funds, the leaders will definitely see who is asking for the funds and hence, you need to keep your track record clean and reliable. You need to be 'Mr. Dependable'.
Will you always get the budget amount you have asked for? Most probably not. I have seen people jacking up the dollar ask significantly so that they can still get what they actually wanted, post the cut. I would recommend you not to do so. It is a wrong strategy. It might work for an instance, but will seriously hamper your reputation and integrity with the top management. Go with just the right ask to them. You might receive a fraction of what you had asked, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the management doesn't trust you or wants you to do an incomplete or shabby work. They rather want to see how you have made use of the funds you were given, before they can allocate more in your bucket. If you can show them the value you have created out of that fraction, I am sure it won't take much time for you to get the rest required.
It is important to highlight the measures and controls you would have while utilizing the budget. Keeping your sponsors proactively informed on the progress and achieved milestones is key to building trust with them.
Take accountability of your actions! Such people are rare and believe me, you won't have much competition there.
Feel free to contact us and share your experiences, queries and suggestions.
At Gorisco, our motto is 'Embedding Resilience' and we are committed to make the organizations and their workforce resilient.