Ah, the budget. It’s interesting to see how different people handle the discussion of money when it comes to designing their marketing collateral or a new Web site, for example. Some remain tight-lipped and protect that secret budget at all costs, while others are an open book on all kinds of numbers and the type of solutions they’re looking for. I’m here to suggest that being secretive with your creative partner is not a successful approach -- and here’s why:
1. As you look for the right creative agency to partner with, honest and open communication is a must. After all, trust is what you want in a partnership, isn’t it? When was the last time you were in the market for a car and you told the salesman, I don’t want to tell you what my budget is but I’d like a good deal? How’d that work out for you? Sometimes you might not know what your budget should be, and if that’s the situation you’re in, make sure you make that clear. However, if you find yourself hiding the true budget numbers because you can’t trust the agency, then perhaps you haven’t found the right fit in a partner. A word to the wise: find a different partner.
2. Being secretive about your project budget means the creative partner will have to make assumptions when putting together a proposal for you. If you’re not forthcoming about what you’re able to spend, you might be disappointed when you review the proposal. If you’re open about your budget, you won’t have to waste time having the proposal reworked if it’s not exactly what you were thinking. Time is money -- so respect your own time and the time of those you work with by being open about the budget from the beginning.
3. A great creative partner will work with the budget you have and will look for appropriate solutions based on what’s financially possible. There are endless solutions to building a Web site, for example. From a simple text site to a large uniquely functioning site that is responsive, each type of Web site and the capability it has, comes with a different price tag. This is the main reason an agency will ask for your budget numbers -- so they can put together a custom plan that works for you.
Remember, trust is built and expectations are met only after there is transparency. So be transparent when starting a project. Set expectations, identify potential issues, and always be willing to discuss the budget. Planning for a successful project does take time and you should expect to have a conversation around all of the specifics.
At the end of the day, if you’ve found a trustworthy company that treats you right and can do what you’re asking for but their proposal is still a bit high, ask yourself -- what’s the cost of doing business with a partner that’s not a good fit for you? I think you’ll agree that the best results surface when you collaborate with people you trust and admire.