Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio June
Back to Basics
By Louise M. Felsher, CMM, CMP
WHEN THE BUDGET COMES BACK
Prepare now to reallocate dollars wisely when departmental
Positive signs are evident, but it is perhaps still too early to
claim the economy has recovered. Many pundits insist we talked
ourselves into this recession and need to spend our way out of it.
Easier said than done, when your budget and staff have been cut to
In the meantime, planning for the day when the budgets are
resuscitated will give you an edge, not to mention the vision for
finding additional savings going forward.
LINE BY LINE
No doubt you have had a wish list for more than a year now for what
you are going to do as soon as the meetings department has the
Take a good look at all your expense categories and line items.
Where did you spend in the past? Is one category still dominant?
Have some categories been cut? Most events departments have been
spending from a jar of coins, simply covering operational costs
while education/training and other categories are left with
For the departments hit with the most drastic cutbacks, a 10
percent increase is going to feel like a big lotto win. However,
before you begin splitting funds among all your parched budget
categories, this is one scenario where it is often advantageous to
spend it all in one place for greater impact. For example, consider
holding off on travel to industry conferences to spend more on
quality equipment (such as a color printer) or desperately needed
software with long-term return-on-investment potential.
When still more money comes in, just spreading it evenly among all
areas of the department is an easy way to handle the influx, but
perhaps the dollars can be used more wisely.
Answer these questions:
• What will make your team more successful?
• Do you need additional staff or more training for the staff you
• Will new equipment and/or software make your department more
• Do you need more help off-site?
• Are there other areas where you feel the money will be better
• What change will make the most positive impact for the
• What change will allow the team to be a stronger cross-functional
partner within the organization?
IN THE INTERIM
While waiting for the dollars to flow again, here are some
strategic moves you can make immediately.
• Keep in close personal contact with your network; your
relationships with all of the vendors and agencies you have had to
shut out financially need to be nurtured.
• Realize that, while the economy remains tepid, sponsorships and
endorsements are to be had at an extraordinary savings. Those
dreams of having a mega-celebrity endorse your firm or sponsoring a
rock concert finally might be within reach.
• Renegotiate deposit amounts with suppliers.
• Develop new scenario-based contingency plans.
• Consider that you might have to endure reorganizations or shifts
in power in the coming months. With whom should you align
• Get friendly with all your accounting people. They are a
tremendous source of state-of-the-organization information. For
example, they can often give you a heads-up on format changes,
overall spending concerns and future budget cuts or increases. The
more you know, the more you can prepare.
CELEBRATE EASYLouise M. Felsher, CMM, CMP, is a free-lance
strategic marketing consultant in Northern California’s Silicon
When the budget expands, ceremonial events and parties will start
finding their way back onto the schedule. Go slowly and plan
something that screams ROI. Creativity and integrity are more
critical now than ever before.
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