What it Means When I Ask About Your Budget


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The scenario is nearly always the same.

We’re moving along, having a great conversation about your marketing project, hitting it off and it feels like we’re a good fit to work together.

Then I ask the inevitable question, “So, what’s your budget?”


I’ve actually only had one client ever come back and give me an exact breakdown of what they’ve budgeted for the work they need done and how they intend to apply that budget over a specific time frame.

Granted, this is a client who has launched many successful businesses and understands the value and cost of marketing services.

Most people don’t sit down in my office with that level of experience. Most clients really have no clue what they can or should spend.

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budget cat

I’m Asking For Your Sake

I know we just met – and really who am I to say, “Just trust me?” – but honestly I ask this question for your sake. I need to know what you have to work with so that I can create the best plan for you.

And you need to spend some time with your numbers (or your accountant) to determine what makes sense for your case.

There are many different ways we can approach a project, and when necessary we can take a step back from what would be ideal and come up with a solution that works within your budget.

I also don’t want to scare you.

And I certainly don’t want to show you the moon and the stars only to realize all you can afford (right now) is a flashlight.

I Won’t Negotiate With You Anyway

We’re not in the business of jacking up our prices to gobble up all your budget.

If the work we propose doesn’t fit in your budget, we’ll suggest a prioritized approach where we implement solutions spread out over time. We won’t negotiate with you to give you more services for less money.

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This is Serious Stuff. You Should Do Your Homework

You wouldn’t wake up one morning, decide you want to buy a new house, and go out and put in an offer without first considering your needs, your budget, the time it takes for you to actually go through the purchasing process, and how your needs and budget may change over the next few years, right?

A home is a major purchase. It’s where your family will live, grow, and evolve. Your house will become a part of who you are because of the amount of time you spend inside its walls.

Marketing for your business is really no different. Branding, marketing, and communications tell the world who you are and what you’re about. Your marketing and business development activities will determine the future success (or failure) of your business.

And simple truth: working with a good, strategic marketing firm is not going to be cheap. You will get what you pay for. You can’t wake up one morning and decide you want a new website or to throw together a new CRM system — it takes time, planning, and money.

Before you start shopping for a marketing firm, before you take a meeting with a web developer, before we sit down together to discuss your business, take some time to really analyze your budget, your cash-flow, and what you can spend on marketing. And then be honest with me.

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Heather Steele

After almost a decade of marketing in a corporate setting, she tired of being a corporate cog and decided to go it alone, bootstrapping a business based on one simple principle:   Partnership.   Follow her on Twitter @heathersteele03, LinkedIn, or our blog to learn how to turn your business into a beast.

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