Strategy and creativity are my passions. So when it comes to budgeting, I’d prefer a poke in the eye. All those numbers! And there’s never enough.

And yet, there it is, right by my side every working moment. My marketing budget is a constant companion. It’s there to provide guidance, honest answers, and sometimes that tough love only a trusted friend can provide. And one more thing: My budget will tell it like it is to anyone who wants to know what I’m up to.

We have a good relationship, my budget and I. We spend quality time around Christmas making plans for the coming year. Sure, we have to make tough decisions about what we can and can’t do. But then, there it all is, in black and white. My budget is my guide, and when it’s settled I can get on with my job, doing the things that energize me and make the company grow.

I confess, I get frustrated at times. I complain that my budget is holding me back, not allowing me to explore, to spread my wings, to do more. But this often leads to creative ways we can to do more marketing with less. Ways to make an impact without having to ask for more.

What I like most about my budget is what a good communicator it is. When we meet with colleagues, they want to know what’s going on. They have questions. We have answers. Decision makers can debate all day about serif versus sans serif headlines. They love being involved. They call it giving input. But when talk turns to the budget, everyone can plainly see the choices that have been made. Do more of this, you have to do less of that. When someone has a great idea, I ask, “Do you have a budget?” Give me a budget and I can bring your idea to life.

Even though it’s a bit of a control freak, my budget isn’t inflexible. In fact, it’s all about give and take. If the world changes half way through the year, we can usually work something out. In a way, you could say my budget is an enabler. It enables me to be creative and to get done what needs to get done. And every year, when the holiday season rolls around, we look back and appreciate what we’ve accomplished. Then plan how we can be even more creative next year.

Copyright Liz Behlke 2016