In part 1 of this blog post, I discussed tools, timing, and details. In part two, you’ll get ideas on past lessons, new efficiencies, and more. Read part one to refresh your memory.

Part 2

5.) Not taking lessons learned from past years.

Before you even begin planning, review the prior year’s budget and highlight what worked successfully and what was not a good investment. Then step back and evaluate the decisions made. Are there any trends? Were there outside variables playing into the success or lack thereof? What would replace this strategy or tactic? Were you reaching the right audience? Was the communication effective?    Remember, if you are unsure of the success of a new tactic, replacing one that was not effective is something you can always test.  Take a small sample of your audience and a small portion of your budget and see if you can move the needle.

6.) Not planning out your budget to zero.

Not planning your entire budget tells your committee that you don’t need all the dollars allocated.  Try to leave room to grow and take advantage of new technologies and innovations.  Set-aside budget for testing new concepts.  Remember to hold dollars for team building, research and support materials, and services.  If you don’t, they will likely be reallocated to someone else’s budget to fund an exploratory concept that could have been happening in your department.

7.) Not exploring new efficiencies.

If there is equipment, services or research that benefits more than one department, consider splitting cost across the two budgets.  Are there services you currently invest in that could be replaced by technology or free services supported by advertisers?  Can you keep electronic files instead of hard copy?  Can you replace traditional mail with email, cutting back on printing costs? There are numerous ways to save and it just takes a focused consideration to save pennies on the dollar.

8.) Not considering partnerships to share cost and resources.

Look outside of the company to find partners and sponsors interested in investing in your programs and are willing to cover marketing cost at events, co-op advertising and production costs. From a resource standpoint, they may be able to send out sponsored emails to their  database, saving you on list rental. They can send out press releases on your behalf, multiplying your impressions. They can even host large meetings and partner forums at their facilities, saving you from renting meeting space.

In the end, it’s all about being flexible enough in your budget to take advantage of opportunities that may come your way while also making sure that you’re being as fiscally responsible as possible to foster a healthy, successful plan.