By the look I received you would think that I had just requested something lewd or obscene! In reality, I had just asked if there was (perchance) a BUDGET for the event for which I had just received a request a proposal.
Budgets are very strange animals and are very similar to the “900 pound gorilla in the room”. Both are always present but neither are supposed to be discussed or recognized; at least not in polite society.
When I ask the question, “Do you have a budget?” I am usually given one of two answers. Either a) “we don’t have one” (which usually should be interpreted to mean that they are going to nickel and dime you to death!) or b) “budget isn’t an issue” (reference back to item “a”)!
In my many years in this industry I would much rather work within the constraints of a known budgetary figure than to waste valuable time putting together a proposal that will not in any way, shape or form meet your needs, budgetary or otherwise.
I know of very few companies or organizations that begin planning an event or meeting without having an idea of how much they have or want to spend and, more importantly, what they have spent in the past. So do us all a favor and let us in on the secret! Budgets are the driving force behind any meeting or event (especially in recent times) and you will be much better served if you give us the amount you have in mind! Think of the budget as the “final destination”. It’s much easier and usually less expensive to arrive at the “final destination” when you have that goal at the beginning of the trip. By providing that point of focus there will be less twists and turns, obstacles to overcome, back-tracking and wasted effort all of which, ultimately, will end up costing you in the long run.
By having a budget at the beginning of the process, I won’t propose items or services that I know you can’t afford and I won’t “over-promise and under-deliver”. I won’t propose “champagne and caviar” when you can only afford “beer and bean dip”. However, because you were honest about what you could afford I’ll make sure it is the best dang “beer and bean dip” you’ve every had! 🙂