PrioritiesNovember 15, 2022


Among the many things I don’t miss about working in corporate is budgeting season. Most public companies are in that painful grind right now.

Budgets are not forecasts. A budget represents spending priorities. That’s true for any organization, whether it’s a business, a non-profit, government, or a faith community.

Therefore, as an outside services provider, when you are told that there is no budget for your proposal, what you’re really being told is that the outcomes your proposal will generate are not a priority.

Why? It could be that you haven’t done an effective enough job at establishing the value to that organization of what you offer.

And if you’re working with a small business and you’re told there’s no budget, it’s likely to be straight out balderdash:  the surveys I’ve seen of small businesses over the years indicate that about 40% to 60% operate without a budget.

If you’re told there’s no budget, then that business owner doesn’t see enough value in what you offer to prioritize an investment with you.

Instead of dropping your chin to your chest or shaking your head at how wrong they are, examine whether you’ve had an effective value conversation, one which firmly establishes the high perceived value of the outcomes you deliver.

Here’s another instance where language about priorities gets confusing:  time.

Let’s say you’re a speaker and you’re trying to get on the agenda for a particular trade show or speaker series. You’re told “we don’t have enough time” or “we don’t have enough speaker slots to fit you in.”

What you’re really being told is that the perceived value of your message to the audience in question isn’t great enough to give it precedence over other speakers and their topics.

Budgets of money and time are an allocation of resources. Resources are allocated by buyers based on the perceived value they’ll receive in return for investing that money and time.

It’s our job, as services providers, to help establish and define that perceived value.



Image created using Craiyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

(This blog post was also posted on LinkedIn.)

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me: I help solo or small professional services firm owners with the confidence and positioning necessary to improve their pricing and change the trajectory of not only their business but their life.

I have a podcast called The Price and Value Journey, which features interviews with industry leaders and audio versions of my blog posts. You can find the podcast on your favorite podcast app.

I also have a book coming out in 2023:  The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset.

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