You cannot get what you need within your budgetunless you set a realistic budget. And you cannot set a budget until you know what you need. When setting a budget, here are 10 questions to answer:
- How many print jobs do I project over the year?
- Who will my audience be?
- How many pieces will I need for each?
- What’s the most effective vehicle/medium to fulfill purpose of each printing?
- What’s the quantity and total cost for each printing?
- How will I measure success? milestones?
- How can I amortize the costs?
- Have I consulted with my company colleagues?
- Have I reviewed and evaluated our past print efforts?
- Whom can I delegate to be responsible for the print projects?
Once these questions have been answered, you can project a budget. Here are some of the ways to be sure you get what you need:
- Identify a printer who is also a partner. You should be able to rely on the expertise, advice and availability of the printer or his representative.
- Set expectations as you project costs and dates over the year. A careful schedule will prevent incurring costs for last minute rushes or changes.
- Prepare a clearly articulated contract including materials, numbers,
delivery, payment due dates, etc.
- Evaluate effectiveness and be flexible. For example, if you sent out coupons or offered special deals, what was the response? Or should you offer coupons or special deals? Make changes within the parameters of you budget—Rule of Thumb: if you add something, eliminate something.
- Keep a careful record of your ongoing expenses. By maintaining up-to-date billing, you can be certain that you are being charged what you committed to in the original contract.
- Meet regularly with your in-house team and your printer to review. Are you getting what you need? Are there any changes or adjustments to make?Staying within budget means keeping the budget in mind. It doesn’t make sense to keep on adding printing costs and thinking that the budget will miraculously expand. It does make sense that if your needs expand, so should your budget.