The Inside Scoop: How to Reduce Your Budget (Part 1)
Posted by Katie Tabler on May 02, 2017
Disclaimer: For the sake of moving forward with my intended thesis, let us assume that you do not have an inexhaustible budget, nor have you a need for a technology agency like BlueModus to take the reins on managing your web projects from a research and discovery phase all the way through to project launch.
That said, if you are looking for a vendor to lead or play an integral part in the ideation, concept and/or business requirements process, providing guidance and insight each step of the way throughout the entirety of the project, thus negating the overall point of this article, the BlueModus team is more than happy to provide that service. Contact us today!
Okay, with the disclaimers out of the way, on to the real reason you are here: Reducing budget. Let us start with the obvious, and scale down from there, shall we?
A successful business, or in our particular case, an agency, cannot exist without clients. They make our world go round, literally and figuratively. If you are lucky, a lot of them truly inspire creativity, spark imagination, and make the collaboration [work] fun.
This is you. Look how fun you are.
Now, I'm willing to bet that if you are one of our current clients, and reading this, you are wondering if that is your account? Yes. Of course your account is our favorite. You are the reason we get up excited to come to work each day. Are there challenges, like in any working relationship? No. Never. You are Mary Poppinsing [practically perfect in every way] the heck out of this partnership. But. You came here looking for the dirt, so I’ll dish: You are [sometimes] the reason projects require more time and money. Your ability to clearly define your need or request before reaching out to us will, in most cases, reduce your budget by reducing spin.
The devil is in the details, as they say. Think of it this way: When you go to the hardware store, and an associate asks what they can help you find, you don’t say, “Hi. I’m here to buy something.” You are at a hardware store. You know what they offer, and you went with a purpose. So you answer specifically and accordingly, unless you are genuinely just browsing in a hardware store, which is weird, but hey, do you.
"Excuse me...In what aisle would I find 'something'?"
My point is that ambiguity in a request requires follow up; rounds of emails, conference calls, questions - spin, which equals money. The more detail and direction you are able to provide up front, the more efficient and cost-effective our team can be in assisting you. In essence, help us help you.
As a project manager, it is my job to help clients achieve business goals and objectives, within budget and on time. Sounds easy, right? Well, the hardest part is often getting a clear definition of those goals and objectives up front. To make the most efficient use of my time, and yours, requires planning. We can do a lot here at BlueModus. We have a pretty impressive team of professionals, who have but one desire, to make clients happy. (Well, I suppose that is not 100% true. They probably have other desires on personal and professional levels, but you know what I mean…)
How happy do we want to make our clients? This happy.
The point is, we all care. A lot. And as hard as our team may try, we are not mind readers. The easiest way to help us more effectively log a request or set up a new project is by answering the important questions before bringing in our team.
Asking the Right Questions
Now, what exactly are the important questions, you ask? Essentially, the 5 W’s we learned in grade school. You need to be able to provide the Who, What, When, Where, and Why, for our team to more effectively shape the How. If you can nail down the 5 W's before our team is looped in, we have a better chance of more accurately estimating the level of effort up front, and without rounds of clarifying questions or discussions, which burn hours, increasing budget.
Will there be circumstances in which you will not be able to provide all of the project details up front? Likely, yes, in which case, especially for new projects, the most important question that you need to be able to answer in our planning stages is Why? Why are you making this request? What is the outcome you are looking to achieve?
Really Defining the Why
Our team is equipped to spec out the level of effort for almost any What you throw our way, but the Why is super important, because if you are able to clearly articulate why you need it, we can help determine whether or not there is a different, better, more cost effective approach for the box(es) you are trying to check.
One of the most effective ways to reduce your budget is to simply not get in your own way. If you come prepared, and can clearly define the reason behind why you are doing what you are doing, our team will have the advantage of a better baseline from which to assist. The Why is not the only answer we need, but it is perhaps the most important in our effort to keep costs down.
We often have clients that ask us to resolve an issue quickly and inexpensively, but these “band-aids” and “hacks” may only compound the issue further down the road. This is never the ideal tactic. But clients that approach us having asked the right questions up front, and are able to provide cohesive answers from the beginning, often assist themselves further in their endeavor to reduce the overall budget than we could by providing temporary and short term solutions that go against best practices.
Remember, don't spend the briefcase of money you saved all at once.
Looking for a more comprehensive list of questions and answers your technology partner will need to get started on your project? Check out Part 2 of this series.
Katie Tabler is a lover of technology, and the written word. This is her first (and hopefully not unsuccessful) attempt at bringing the two together for the sake of sanity and betterment of client/vendor relationships everywhere. Originally from Columbus, a far superior city in terms of college football, Katie now lives in Denver, enjoying the ColoRADo experience; brunching, beveraging, and boarding...She’s actually a skier, but the alliteration was more impactful that way.