It is no big surprise when I say that this is not the easiest era to be in business. Most people out there are not just earning, they are actually fighting for, every penny on their books. But this is not a bad thing. We are all being ‘highly encouraged’ to make a lot of decisions about the way we do business, who we work with and who we want to work with. We have to take measure of what is important, which in the long run will make our businesses stronger. We are trimming the fat.

The next dilemma that comes with this not so voluntary action is where do you cut and still not cripple what you have. Being in the marketing world, I hear a lot of “they cut my budget in half”, “they laid off my in-house marketing team” or “I am my only resource.” I can tell you that I did not skip any of my business classes in school so I know that this situation really wasn’t covered in the textbooks. We are on our own.

The real question is: What can I do? And I am here to tell you that there is more to be done than you can imagine. It might not be the best situation, but this is a very exciting time to be faced with this dilemma because there are options. And your best tool, and here is the nasty 6-letter word, is knowing and respecting your budget.

2009 is just around the corner; this is the perfect time to sit down and plan your strategy for the next year (hiding your head in the sand is not an option.) Let me tell you, a budget of nothing or next-to-nothing is not going to help. You need to be realistic with yourself and come up with a hard number. You can have a much better conversation, waste less of your time and really get your money’s worth if you can create a marketing budget for yourself.

You might be doing more of your own legwork this coming year, but that also gives you an opportunity to get first-hand experience in what is out there and what can you do to make your business better. This coming year might be harder than others, but you never know what opportunities may appear.

It does not matter if you have $1,000 or $100,000 for 2009, there is a lot you can do with it if you are honest with yourself and think outside the box. If your numbers are drastically lower this year and you need help creating a new plan of attack, you can always set up a Marketing Consultation Meeting with your favorite marketing firm (hint, hint, wink, wink) to brainstorm some new ideas for the coming year.

Categories: Marketing