At some point in your Product Management / Marketing career, you may be faced with managing a budget – whether it be for an event, a launch, or the entire marketing budget for the year.
My simple advice – and I grant you this is coming from the reality world of tight marketing budgets – spend the budget like it was your own money. Your own personal budget.
Always know what you GET for your money. Don’t WASTE money. Demand VALUE for your money. Set aside contingent funds for the unexpected And always set aside a little MAD MONEY to either try something different or have some fun with the staff.
This is not some trick just to endear yourself to your CFO or CEO. In an ideal world, the product sells itself and you don’t need marketing or sales people (just kidding).
Seriously though, I would say that the number one career-limiting move in any management job where you are dealing with a budget is a failure to set up the proper governance infrastructure and procedures for your department finances. This advice is usually ignored by any managers in “hot” or with “hot” products – of if some VC just dumped 8 figures into your lap. Heck, some people just don’t like math or don’t even bother to manage their OWN finances. But this will always catch up with you in the end.
So get your budget house in order and spend the company’s money like your own. And besides, there are other reasons for getting the CFO or comptroller to be your buddy. You can bet they’ll be the first to know about any good or bad news about the company, including M&A activity, or how close your little startup may be to going public. See one of my older posts also on this subject.