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What is in your budget this year?

The Australian government released last night the budget for the upcoming financial year. As usual there is good and bad for everyone depending on your personal situation and thinking. We can talk forever about it, but there is one constant regardless of who is in power: We can’t do anything about it! The only time we may have a say is at Election Day, but even then, promises are only made to be broken.

The second quarter of each year is also when businesses plan their budget for the next financial year. I just submitted mine, and overall it is 80% business as usual and 20% new initiatives. So how do you do your budget? Here are a few unusual pointers that you may consider.

Plan something that will bring passion in your team or business

I can already see comments like “how do you quantify passion?” or “it will add nothing to the bottom line!” I disagree; passion is the main driver to exceed expectation. The key is to find out what your team is passionate about and try to align some budget lines to fuel these passions. This could be a new initiative, project, investment, team restructure, etc.

These new initiatives are likely to bring unexpected benefits and results for your business. In the worst case scenario, it all fails, the learning will be priceless. We all know that the fear of failing is the main obstacle to innovation.

So plan a new setup for your warehouse, a new manufacturing process, a new way to interact with your customers, something out of the ordinary that will bring some passion in your team.

Where would you put your money if you had to build your business from scratch?

Sounds like nonsense? Not at all, spending a few hours to answer this question is probably the best thing you can do for your business. If you are a retailer, would you open new stores, build a franchise or be an pure online player? As a manufacturer, how would do differentiate from the competition? Would you manufacture, assemble, outsource? We often miss lucrative endeavours because we are afraid of change, because of the inertia of the current business processes. I am not saying that we should throw away what we have, but foster innovative thinking (costs nothing) and allocate a small part of your budget to it.

How can technology change your business?

Think 20 years ago, we didn’t have emails, fax machines were a revolution and the web didn’t exist. 10 years ago we didn’t have google, online maps, smartphones or social media. I cannot think of a single business today that hasn’t been impacted by technology.

Project yourself in 10 years’ time when people will walk with camera and other devices always turned on, providing them with relevant augmented reality. Imagine a world where computers have the artificial intelligence to do most repetitive tasks for you. Imagine a business where information and analytics will be open, global and accurate, letting you focus on human interaction and decision making.

Would your current business model still work with in this changed world? Would new players leverage technology in your industry to have a competitive edge? To conclude this blog, a last question: Is it worth investing a small part of your budget in passion, innovation and future technology? My answer is yes. What is yours?

Paul Goepfert

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