Very few businesses are taking their budget seriously enough, and you’re likely one of them. Of course, you’ve created a budget. You likely even have your written budget readily available to share with your business consultant, banker or top employees.

But how much impact does your budget have on the daily decisions of your business? As your operations transpire, how front-of-mind are those financial figures? If you’re like most, your budget gets attention once a month, maybe once a quarter, or worse, once a year. The budget becomes much like my family’s pet betta fish. Attention grabbing for the first week, but now it’s a grind to keep the little guy maintained, and his peak value has never come close to what it was.

Here’s the awesome part: if you have a successful business and you’ve never unhinged the power of letting your budget be a guiding light for the daily decisions, then the best is certainly yet to come. If you are able to have your budget clearly envisioned each moment, then you will uncover a confidence in your decision making you’ve never known.

In business, as well as personally, plans about money are truly plans about the use of our resources. And plans about the use of our resources are really plans about what is important to us and our business. It’s time to make decisions that most accurately reflect what is important to your business, and you can’t expect that to happen by simply trying to be more aware.

Your budget, approached in the right frame of mind, is about freedom and empowerment, not restriction, as many perceive it. And it’s not just the empowerment of the primary business decision makers, but can also serve to give your employees a clear sense of direction as they go about their daily operations.

To bring your budget to the prime mental real estate of your decision making, you have to engage it multiple times per week, if not daily. This may seem like an impossible task, and it is if you don’t currently use budgeting tools that you’re comfortable with.

You currently have access to hundreds of robust budgeting platforms, amongst other tools, but most that use these tools lack an understanding of their capabilities. The solution is to take the time to get to know your budgeting tool. The more you know about your particular budgeting tool, whether it is software or an alternative system, the more comfortable you’ll be with it; the more comfortable you are with it the more you’ll use it.

Another thing to remember, the budget will only give output as good as its input. If your budget input is done out of a sense of obligation instead of inspiration, it will rarely give you meaningful output.

The meaningful input stage will not come until you’re confident in the tools you are using. Thank God we live in an age where those tools are more accessible and robust than they’ve ever been in history. If you can’t find a budgeting tool that works for you, then you have to question how committed you are to your business. It’s that essential.

The task for you isn’t to immediately implement a new budget process for your company. That would be overwhelming and a surefire way to prevent you from taking immediate action. The task for you is to answer one question: are you confident and comfortable with your current budgeting tools?

If you can’t answer that question affirmatively, then you already know your next step. Seek education to gain confidence with your current tools or get new ones. If you are already comfortable with the tools you’re using, it’s time to ramp up engagement. Make the investment in your company to give your budget the quality, thoughtful input it deserves. And watch your decision making process, and that of your employees, be solidified and streamlined.

Wakefield Hare
Financial Planner

Wakefield Hare is a financial planner and a family man. He used those two passions to create Greater Than Financial, a fee-only financial planning firm specializing in couples who still have children in their home and who are seeking the confidence that they are using their resources in the best possible way for the enrichment of their own lives and the lives of their kids.