One of my favorite financial counselors is radio talk show host Dave Ramsey (listen to his weekday radio show in Indianapolis on Freedom 95.9 FM, or on just about any market in the U.S.) Dave gives great advice for getting people out of debt and on their way to financial freedom. One of his favorite tips is to have a written household budget, so you’ll spend everything “on paper and on purpose.”
I got to thinking about this piece of advice, and how it can also apply to our business marketing budgets. How many of us have a written marketing budget for the month which outlines exactly what we will spend, and on which activities? This is smart advice, because it allows us to prioritize our expenditures and gets us thinking of how we can allocate our resources across various channels for maximum return.
If you spent all of your household income on a car or house, you’d have nothing left for food, clothing or utilities. Similarly, if you spent too much on one marketing activity, you’d be neglecting the other sources of leads through other methods. If you need a new website, don’t spend money that you don’t have. Instead, save up and put all of your efforts toward achieving that goal, but do so with common sense, and within your means.
Dave also talks a lot about following “baby steps” to get where you want to go, and the sacrifices that you have to make (living frugally, within your means) along the road to success. Unless you get lucky and win the lottery or receive an inheritance or large settlement, you’ll need to manage your money wisely in order to “live like no one else.”Well, the same holds true for our businesses. You do need to invest in activities like marketing and advertising if you expect to see a good return over time. But if we make smart, cost-effective marketing decisions, we can slowly grow our businesses to the successful enterprises that we’ve always dreamed of running.