As the backbone of any business, the Workplace Team needs tools to not just do their jobs, but do them well. Getting access to the right support and resources often requires additional funds, and requesting budget isn’t always easy.
Do you have your eye on a particular product or service that’s not yet covered in your budget, but aren’t sure how to ask for more? Follow these steps when submitting your next budget request, and you’ll be more likely to walk away with what you need.
Define your goals and set a meeting
Request a one-on-one meeting with whoever is in charge of your budget (your manager, finance rep, or executive). Come prepared with a formal written proposal for them, which demonstrates that you have thoroughly researched the product or service. Your proposal should answer the following questions:
- What is it? Explain what the product or service is and what it can do for you.
- Why do you need it? Demonstrate the need for this product or service and show how the current alternatives are failing you and/or your team.
- How much does it cost? State how much the product or service will cost the business. In other words, the budget you are requesting.
- What are the benefits? Clearly outline any and all benefits for you/your team, your manager, and the company. Forecast potential savings in both time and money, or profits (if applicable).
Start your meeting by defining the goals that are the driving force of your budget request. Are you seeking to improve productivity and organization? Ease collaboration between teams? Make better spending decisions? Improve the employee experience?
Being able to articulate the why is a crucial step towards having this request approved. Keep in mind how these goals affect the individual who manages your budget. If you can connect your goals to theirs, they’ll be able to more quickly understand your need.
Show your value and how you will amplify it
As a member of the Workplace Team, your work has immense value. Think about how you can express this using examples. Has your work directly contributed to better employee engagement numbers, or improved retention rates? Do you have documented feedback—perhaps from surveys or shout-outs—that captures your impact? If so, show them!
Once you’ve demonstrated your own value and why you deserve this budget, you can introduce the product or service you are interested in and speak to how it will help you achieve the goals you’ve set. How will it amplify your strengths, or turn past failures into wins? How will it improve your day-to-day work, or contribute to the company’s long-term success?
If you have a record of any employee complaints, project errors, or lapses in productivity, use them to further emphasize your need and get them thinking about how this product or service can turn things around.
In your initial research on the product or service, find examples of similar (or renowned) companies that have used it to their advantage. Use these customer testimonials to back up any points you’ve made, and better illustrate the value in paying for the product or service. There’s power in numbers!
Provide context when talking numbers
Now that you’ve framed the positive impact this tool would have on your workplace, it’s time to pitch the number. Be honest about what this will cost you. If it sounds like a large number, you can contextualize your spend based on other common office expenses. How does this pricing compare to what you’re currently spending on team meals, tissue boxes, or other services?
Companies spend the greatest percentage of their budget on rent and utilities, so leadership is incentivized to get the most out of their physical office. (In the US alone, businesses spend $50 billion on facilities related expenses in a year!) Use real numbers, like the ones below, to put the cost of the new product or service into perspective.
In 2017, employers spent an average of $1,296 per employee on training. (The Association for Talent Development).
Companies spend an average of $50 to $125 per employee annually on coffee services. (Cost Owl)
Startups with 1-4 employees spend up to $1,844 per employee annually on office products. Similarly, medium-sized companies of about 40 employees spend around $1,069 per employee, and larger companies of over 200 people spend $639 per employee. (OPI.net)
On the average business trip, companies spend $949 per person for domestic travel, and $2,600 per person for international travel.
Food service company ZeroCater estimated that an office of 100 people can spend between $78,000 and $208,000 a year on snacks alone.
Having numbers that standardize, or minimize, the cost of what you’re requesting will further highlight the value it provides within the larger context of your workplace spending. For example, Managed by Q’s software costs $1,788 for an annual subscription for one office location, which is $149/month. The annual cost is the equivalent of one catered lunch for 100 employees.
Be willing to compromise
You’ve made a solid case, but budget approval is never a guarantee. If your listener has reservations or seems more inclined to decline your request, negotiate a temporary solution that you can both work with. For example, Managed by Q offers a free trial option, so you can test out our software for 30 days at no cost to you.
A free trial—or even a trial run of a service—will allow you to see how the product works in that timeframe, and also measure your success and compile valuable evidence of how it benefits your team (and the company) to ensure that the next budget request is a successful one.