IT Expenditure: What Should a Realistic IT Budget Look Like in 2020?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | IT Budget | Entrepreneurship | IT Expenditure: What Should a Realistic IT Budget Look Like in 2020?Every business needs to have an IT department of some sort, whether on-site or remotely, in order to keep their company afloat. So much relies on computers that if they suddenly stop working, your business stops moving.

That being the case, it’s not uncommon to see much of a business’s finances go directly into making sure their IT services continue to run smoothly. But how much do you really need to be spending on an IT budget – and how much are you already spending?

There are limits to how much you should be putting out for the services you receive. This article goes in-depth with how your 2020 budget should look like for your IT software and troubleshooting needs, so you won’t spend any more than necessary. Read on to find out more!

Your IT Budget Will Increase Most at the Beginning of the Year

New year, new you – and new business. Your company is bound to shape up and adopt the “out with the old, in with the new” rhetoric. That most likely also means you’ll be getting rid of old hardware and software and investing in new tech.

Of course, this is bound to bring up the IT bill initially, as the purchasing and the installation of new equipment will be added to the tab. In most cases, however, it will pay for itself in the long run, so the initial purchase shouldn’t be seen as something scary.

Streamlined Operations Will Save You Money

As technology gets better, it becomes easier to use the software to our advantage. These streamline operations will allow you to not only better serve your customers, but will save you money as well.

There will be minimal confusion on what you need to conduct B2B and B2C interactions as well as in-house operations, and the lack of complexity will free up the IT department from working on the small stuff and allow them to focus on what really matters.

Internet Is Faster at Relatively the Same Price

Businesses need internet, and it’s good to know that each year companies are able to make their services faster. It’s even better to know that, due to competition, the internet is still being sold at the same price – or in some cases, even less.

This is good news for you as that means you get better services without the higher price, allowing you to place the money you’ve saved onto other important aspects of your business.

To make sure you stay up to date on how much you’re spending on IT needs, you’ll want to use an organizational tool such as a NetSuite price cheatsheet to make sure you know where every penny goes!

Stay Driven. Be Successful

You know what you should be spending on your IT budget for your computer needs, so now you’ll be able to watch your money flow and still get things done. But that’s only the beginning of what you need to know to help your business succeed.

At StrategyDriven, we help focused and goal-oriented business owners like yourself take on the competition and succeed in their field. We offer help from all angles, including formatting and executing business strategies, management and organizational programs, and more.

Ready to get started? Click on any of the tabs on our site to learn more about what we have to offer you. We’re sure that we can help your company to win!

StrategyDriven Enterprises

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

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At StrategyDriven, our seasoned business leaders deliver real-world strategic business planning and tactical execution best practice advice – a blending of workplace experience with sound research and academic principles – to business leaders who may not otherwise have access to these resources.

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Don’t Leave These Things Out Of Your Business Budget!

People just starting out in the business world will often make mistakes when it comes to creating their budgets. That is a significant problem because it means the entrepreneurs can run out of money before they make a profit. With that in mind, there are some budget essentials listed below that you won’t want to overlook.

Marketing and promotion

Marketing is the single most critical aspect of your operation, and you need to spend a lot of money if you want the best results. These days, it’s possible to lower your promotional spend using digital tools like social media. However, you still need to allocate a substantial amount of funds.

Employment costs

You need to make sure there is always enough money in the bank to pay your employees. At the same time, you also need to think about whether or not you might employ more people in the next twelve months. Be sure you include all those costs in your budget.

Travel and accommodation fees

As the infographic below shows, most business owners have to spend a lot of cash when it comes to travel and accommodation. You never know when you might need to meet a client on the other side of the country, and so it’s vital that you keep enough funds in your accounts.

If you remember to include all those things in your business budget this year; you should find your company on the right track. Still, there is always more to learn, and so you should continue your research after clicking away from this page.

Infographic designed by Jettly

Invest To Improve: Where To Spend Your Money In Business

If you run a business, continual improvement is probably top of the list of your goals. If you can continue to grow, make more money and improve the service you offer your customers, you’re on to a good thing. When you’re a company director, you have a lot of decisions to make, and it’s important to spend money wisely. Often, it’s essential to make the right decisions when it comes to investing your capital. If you want to invest to improve, here are some suggestions you may find useful.

StrategyDriven Budget Development Article

Investing in your staff

Most successful entrepreneurs have a team of people around them. Not even a superhero disguised as a business mogul could run every single aspect of a growing company, and as the boss, you may be reliant on tens, hundreds or even thousands of people. Your staff should mean a lot to you. Investing in them is a means of showing how grateful you are for their hard work and demonstrating that you have trust in them. Training is incredibly valuable for both the business and your employees. Training programs, courses and workshops enable your team to gain new skills and develop existing skills, and the outcome could be incredibly beneficial for your company. Consider how important confidence and the ability to speak with clarity and passion are for a sales team or how beneficial skills related to brand new technology or software could be to a cutting-edge e-commerce store. Training existing members of staff often enables you to offer more as a business without outsourcing or hiring additional employees, and it can also give your team more confidence and encourage them to want to develop their skill set further.

If you operate in a competitive industry, it’s worth investing money in trying to keep your star players. If your best workers start looking at roles and positions offered by rival companies, and you can’t compete, there’s every chance that you’ll lose them, even if they love their job. Consider salaries and employee benefits packages carefully and be prepared to outdo competitors if you’re desperate to keep your team together.

StrategyDriven Budget Development Article

Investing in business premises

Whether you work from home and you’re self-employed, or you have an office or a chain of stores or warehouses, you may reach a stage when you think about investing in new premises. Buying property can be incredibly lucrative, especially in the long-term, but it’s essential to make the right decisions.

If you’re home-based and you’re looking to improve your business, you may consider looking at a new location or a larger house or making your current home more suitable for work purposes. Location is incredibly important in business, and if you intend to work from home, your current location may not be ideally suited to what you do. If you’re a therapist or you specialize in consulting, for example, this probably means that you’re going to come into contact with clients on a daily basis. If you’re out in the country, this could put clients off if they have to travel to you or increase your running costs if you’re constantly driving into the city. If this scenario sounds familiar, it may be worth considering a move and having a look at new condos for sale. If the location is right, and the property works on both a personal and professional level, this could be an ideal investment.

If you run a company and you’re looking to expand or buy premises rather than renting, there are lots of factors to consider. If you’re buying, you need to make sure that the move makes financial sense. Consider the importance of location as a priority. If you’re opening a new clothing store or a café, for example, location is everything, and you should look for areas where footfall is greatest. If you want to buy a warehouse, you don’t need to be in the city center, but being close to transport links will be hugely beneficial. If you’re on the lookout for an office, but you don’t need to be close to the action, searching in the suburbs is a good idea. Once you’ve identified potential locations, consider the size of the premises and the cost. Set a budget at the outset, and don’t go for the first option. It’s worth shopping around, getting an idea of what’s out there and comparing different properties. Weigh up the pros and cons, be prepared to negotiate and consider the long-term benefits of each option. Buying property can drive down costs, as mortgage repayments are often lower than rental fees. You’ll also be putting money into an asset that you own, rather than lining somebody else’s pocket.

StrategyDriven Budget Development Article

Investing in growth

Every business owner dreams of getting to a point where their business is expanding, and the demand for products or services is increasing. If you’re doing well, you’re in profit and consumers want more, it’s worth investing money into trying to make your growth plans a reality. Spend money on marketing methods that work, develop products based on trends and consumer demands, and look at ways you can expand without increasing your running costs. Negotiate with suppliers, manufacturers and distributors and promote efficiency and productivity. If your business is booming, don’t forget to share the rewards with your employees. If they feel valued, they will be more likely to show loyalty and put maximum effort into their job.

StrategyDriven Budget Development Article

In business, you often have to speculate to accumulate. If you’re keen to hit the big time, you may have some pretty tough decisions to make along the way. One of the most important things to do is spend your money wisely. Sometimes, there are opportunities to invest, which could improve your business and ultimately lead to increased profits and better customer service. If you run a team, don’t underestimate the value of investing in your employees and giving them a platform to fulfil their potential. If you’re expanding, or you’re keen to attract more clients or reduce running costs, it may also be worth looking into buying new business premises. If you are heading in the right direction, consider which areas to invest more money in and plan a strategy carefully.

The Big Picture of Business: Putting Budgeting Into Perspective, The Bigger Picture of Strategic Planning

Frame of reference is everything in business. Different people within the same organization have contrasting views as to the Business They’re Really In.

The term Budgeting gets tossed around in many ways. Budgets get blamed for gridlock. Budgets get politicized.

Budgets get more attention than the umbrellas under which they rightfully belong: Strategic Planning and Visioning.

Budgeting by itself is a minor piece of business strategy. By itself, Budgeting does not constitute full-scope planning and business strategy. Budgeting is a peg in the process.

Questions to follow in Budgeting as part of Strategic Planning and Visioning processes include:

  • Does this process increase your accountability to funding sources and to the public?
  • Are budgeting measures used to manage performance?
  • Is the performance management system focused upon outcomes?
  • Are the key measures the best representation of progress of the institution?
  • Can the benchmarking information be accessed regularly?
  • How well can management interpret and apply findings to the decision process?
  • Does your strategic plan adequately describe what you do?
  • Does the strategic plan provide necessary guidance to the activities you will measure?
  • How diverse is the planning committee?
  • Do performance measures provide an early warning system for problems?
  • How do you handle crisis management and preparedness?
  • Have you prioritized and fully defined key measures and non-key measures?
  • Have you done scenario planning of measures beyond your immediate control, i.e. external factors which profoundly impact your livelihood?
  • Do the measures address both internal management and external perceptions and accountabilities?
  • Performance measures should be included in contracts with all resources, such as adjuncts, vendors, suppliers. Supply chain management should be implemented. Quality management should be implemented.
  • Adjustments must be periodically made to target markets, definition of terms and modification of strategies.

Organizations start out to be one thing, but they evolve into something else. In their mind, they’re one thing. Other people think they are something else. Priorities change. Dedicated providers of the service stated in the original company mission become frustrated when they don’t understand the reasons for shifting priorities.

Most often, what organizations say they do in external promotions to potential customers actually ranks low on the actual priority list. That occurs due to the agendas of individuals who guide the organization…departing from the core business for which founders were presumably educated and experienced. Add to that the harsh realities of doing business and staying competitive.

Here is an average priority ranking for companies-organizations:

  1. Revenue volume and its rewards (bonuses for key management).
  2. Growth, defined as increasing revenues each year (rather than improving the quality of company operations).
  3. Doing the things necessary to assure revenue (billings, sales, add-on’s, marketing). Keeping the cash register ringing… rather than focusing upon what is being sold, how it is made and the kind of company they need to be.
  4. Running a bureaucracy.
  5. Maintaining the status quo. Keeping things churning. Making adjustments, corrections or improvements only when crises warrant (band-aid surgery).
  6. Glory, gratification and recognition (for the company and for certain leaders).
  7. Furthering stated corporate agendas.
  8. Furthering unwritten corporate agendas.
  9. Courting favor with opinion leaders.
  10. Actually delivering the core business. Making the widget itself. Doing what you started in business to do…what you tell the customers that you do.
  11. Doing the things that a company should do to be a good company. Processes, policies and procedures to make better widgets and a better organization.
  12. Customer service, consideration or follow-up beyond the sale.
  13. Looking after the people, in terms of training, empowerment, resources and rewards.
  14. Giving back to those who support the company.
  15. Advancing conditions in which core business is delivered.
  16. Walking the Talk: ethics, values, quality, vision.
  17. Giving back to the community, industry, Body of Knowledge.

People in the organization who do things below the top nine priorities have vastly different perceptions of the organization, its mission, their role and the parts to be played by others:

  • Some jockey for position… to make their priority seem to advance higher.
  • Some keep people on the low rungs in check, assuring that their priorities remain low.
  • Some become frustrated because others’ priorities are not theirs.
  • Some build fiefdoms within the organization to solidify their ranking.
  • Some do their job as well as possible, hoping that others will recognize and reward their contributions.
  • Some don’t think that they’re noticed and simply occupy space within the organizational structure.
  • Some try to take advantage of the system.
  • Some are clueless as to the existence of a system, pecking order, corporate agendas, company vision or other realities.

7 Steps Toward Getting Budgets Accepted More Readily:

  1. Commitment toward strategic planning for your function-department-company.
  2. Know your values.
  3. Refine your values.
  4. Control your values.
  5. Add value via internal services.
  6. Take ownership of your values.
  7. Continue raising the bar on values.

7 Stages in Making a Case for Business Funding:

  1. Link to a strategic business objective.
  2. Diagnose a competitively disadvantaging problem or an unrealized opportunity for competitive advantage.
  3. Prescribe a more competitively advantaged outcome.
  4. Cost the benefits of the improved cash flows and diagram the improved work flows that contribute to them.
  5. Collaborate with others.
  6. Maintain accountability and communications toward top management.
  7. Contribute to the organization’s Big Picture.

Rules for Budgeting-Planning:

  1. Use indicators and indices wherever they can be used.
  2. Use common indicators where categories are similar, and use special indicators for special jobs.
  3. Let your people participate in devising the indicators.
  4. Make all indicators meaningful, and retest them periodically.
  5. Use past results as only one indicator for the future.
  6. Have a reason for setting all indicators in place.
  7. Indicators are not ends in themselves…only a means of getting where the organization needs to go. Indicators must promote action. Discard those that stifle action.

Base Budgets on Value, Not on Cost

  1. Readily measurable values:
    • Time and cost of product development-service delivery cycles.
    • Reject, rework and make-good rates.
    • Downtime rates and meantime between downtimes.
    • Meantime between billings and collections.
    • Product-service movement at business-to-business levels.
    • Product-service movement at retail levels.
    • Product-service movement in the aftermarket (re-sales, repeat business, referrals, follow-up engagements).
  2. Values in terms of savings:
    • Time and motion savings.
    • Inventory costs.
    • Speed of order entry.
  3. Values in terms of efficiencies:
    • Meantime between new product introductions.
    • Forecast accuracy, compared to actual results.
    • Speed, accuracy and efficiency of project fulfillment.
    • Productivity gained.
    • Continuous quality improvement within your own operation.
  4. Values which benefit other aspects of the company operation:
    • Quality improved on behalf of the overall organization.
    • Creative new ideas generated.
    • Empowerment of employees and colleagues to do better jobs.
    • Information learned.
    • Applications of your work toward other departments’ objectives.
    • Satisfaction in your service elevated.
    • Voiced-written confidence, recognition, referrals, endorsements, etc.
    • Capabilities enhanced to work within the total organization.
    • Reflections upon the organization’s Big Picture.
    • Contributions toward the organization’s Big Picture (corporate vision).

About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.