With a new year come new goals, hopes, and aspirations. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we want to accomplish in 2022 and where we want to be come December—but for most of us, those goals only exist in our minds. How many of us actually bring those plans and goals to light and put them to paper? (Although I’ll say a spreadsheet usually works better in my world!)
People who write down their goals are 20% more successful in accomplishing them than those who did not. A study conducted by psychologist and professor Gail Matthews, of Dominican University of California, revealed that those who commit their goal-setting to paper actually achieved more than those who were simply asked to think about what they wanted to accomplish.
This study cements the popular quotation from Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Putting goals on paper makes them tangible and realistic.
Whether you have created a budget in the past or not, this is one of the best tools to help you achieve your goal(s) for the year. Your budget is a financial roadmap that will define priorities, establish transparency, control spending, and help you stay on plan. Tracking performance against a budget can also offer insight that enables you to to seize new opportunities or solve problems.
A budget doesn’t have to be a long complicated exercise that leads to analysis paralysis. Start with your P&L trend for 2021, (found within the December month-end report package). Looking at each line item, build your budget based on your assumptions for how you will do in 2022.
Let’s suppose you think revenue will increase 5% in the coming year if you add two more staff members. List out what you’re basing that assumption on in a column to the far right to memorialize it, and show a clear connection to at least one strategic goal (in this case, increasing revenue).
Because revenue and costs are closely linked, add in the extra costs in payroll for those new hires. Continue this exercise with each expense based on your assumptions and plans for 2022. You may also need to cut expenses in some areas to make it work.
Fine-tune your budget/plan by asking yourself (and others who are involved in planning) these questions:
- Will your prices remain the same, or increase?
- Do you plan to pursue new markets, target new customers, or introduce new products or services?
- How much more would you have to spend on sales, marketing, headcount, consultants, etc. to achieve this increase?
- Will your cost of goods and/or expenses change? Consider price increases beyond your control, automating or outsourcing part of your business, and/or replacing temp help with full-time employees.
- Once you have populated revenue cost of goods and expenses, take a step back: Does this budget meet your goals and align with your strategy?
- Is your budget realistic and defensible? Compare your margins and net income to 2021. You should be able to draw conclusions on what is driving a change in the margin or net income in any given month with the assumptions or plans built into 2022’s budget.
Ultimately, your budget tells you if your business can perform according to your plan to achieve your goal(s). Comparing actuals to budget and reviewing the variance each month can keep you on target, help make more informed decisions, and keep your goal in sight.
If one of your goals in 2022 is to establish a budget, or review for relevancy, speak to your CSM. We can help you make sure your goals for this year aren’t just wishes and get you on track to achieve them.