Small businesses have limited resources. As a small business owner, you know this. You also know that you have to be smart when it comes how you use those resources in your day-to-day business. Every day you make tough decisions on how to spend your time, money, and energy. 

This is why so many small business owners work long hours every day. If there is a shortage of a resource, the small business owner is the one to pick up the slack.

To manage your business’ resources it is important to set a budget. Since marketing is a necessary function of any successful business, it is important to make sure that you have a budget for your marketing efforts. 

Most budgets focus solely on money. However, we believe that marketing your business takes a combination of time, money, and effort. 

So we are going to look at how you can create a budget that will allow you to spend these resources wisely. 

Determine Your Goals

Your first step should be to set your marketing goals. We speak about goals a lot because we believe it is hard to know where you should go if you do not know where you would like to be. 

By setting goals you are setting a mile marker for a time in the future for where you want yourself and your business to be. With regards to your budget, knowing your goals will help you prioritize your time, money, and energy more effectively. 

As you make decisions on where you wish to allocate your resources you can review which mile markers you are working towards and what would be the best way to get there. 

Audience and Marketing Channels

Knowing who your audience is and where they get their information is another key component of creating your marketing budget. 

If you determine that your audience gets their information from email, then you should devote more time and energy to collecting email addresses. You may also purchase a Google ad during a campaign to increase your mailing list. 

On the other hand, maybe you decide your audience is more likely to be on Instagram. So you devote time and effort to engaging and building a following on that platform. 

In House VS Outsource

It is impossible for any small business owner to do ALL the marketing work themselves. We all need help from time to time. 

As you create your budget you need to decide what you can do yourself, what you can delegate to a member of your team, and what should be done by somebody outside of your organization. 

This requires you to be honest with yourself regarding your time management and your capabilities. You do not want to take on too much work when it comes to marketing, because you have other responsibilities. You also need to know what members of your team can do and be clear with them what you expect from them. 

It can be scary to hire outside help. You worry about the cost and the loss of control. However when you factor in the opportunity cost and the fact that the work is being done by an expert, you will see that you actually save in the long run. 

List All Potential Monetary Costs

Here is where your marketing budget begins to take shape. You have set your goals, considered your audience and where they get their information, and finally looked at what can be done by you and your team versus what should be outsourced. 

Take a moment to list all of the potential monetary costs. We specify monetary costs because as a small business money is usually the most scarce resource. Especially when you are just getting started. You want to get a good idea of where you might be spending your money. That said it is a good idea to note how much time you and your staff realistically have each week to devote to marketing. This will help prevent you from becoming over extended. 

Put It All Together

Now we put everything together. Make decisions on where you want to allocate your money. Determine what tasks you will handle specifically and how much time you will spend on them. Do the same for individual members of your team. 

We recommend creating a marketing calendar that details what everyone is doing each month and when it should be done. 

Once you are done with your budget, take a moment to compare it to your goals. Make sure that you can see a path from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. Make any adjustments to your goals or budget if needed. 

A marketing budget allows you to step back to see where you are allocating your resources. This allows you to become a more effective and efficient marketer. You can use the above steps to create a budget that is right for you and your business. 

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