6 Tips For Making The Most Of Your Budget

Maximizing any business budget can be difficult, but in the entertainment industry it can be exceptionally challenging. One of the most important things to remember when building a budget for your business – and making changes to that budget – is that the industry is constantly changing. Whether you’re working in film, music, gaming or otherwise, you’re going to have to adjust your budget to fit the times. However, what will remain the same are these six ways to maximize your small budget and ensure that your business strategies are evolving right alongside the industry itself. If you’re looking to increase your revenue with a more effective budget, these tips will help you get started.

Realistic Goals
 

1. Set Realistic Budget Goals

How do you know when a budget goal is realistic? If you’re just starting out, it might be difficult to determine what a “realistic” goal might be for spending in any one area of your business budget. If you’re already in business, it might seem much easier, as you can look back at past budgets and spending and see where you’ve gone over or under budget and what you typically spend for any given purpose. However, there’s a bit more to creating realistic budget goals than simply looking at your past performance. In the entertainment business, things change every year – and sometimes even more frequently. What’s successful one day may be phased out within a few months, which means that your budget should be – and will be – just as changeable as the industry itself.
To set realistic budget goals, look to your current client base as well as industry trends to determine whether you’re likely to survive with your current business demographic. You should also be preparing for any increases or decreases in business and adjust your marketing strategies (and marketing budget) accordingly.

Learn more about what it means to set realistic budget goals here: How to Set Realistic Sales Goals & Achieve Them

Budget
 

2. Include Action Items in Your Budget

It’s not enough to simply set goals for your budget – even if they are realistic. You’ll need to also include actionable items in your budget that are informed by – and inform – your budgeting goals. Action items can include the specific strategies you’re going to use to create the changes you want to see in your business, including specific marketing tactics to be implemented, performance indicators to be measured at specific intervals, detailed outlines for tasks to be completed using specific portions of your budget, and more. What’s important to remember about action items is that they should be specific enough to actually be actionable.

Want tips on implementing action items in your budget? Check out this implementation guide: How Do We Create An Action Plan and Budget?

Key Performance Indicators
 

3. Monitor Key Performance Indicators Frequently

Key performance indicators will always be a critical element in evaluating the success of – and maximizing – any budget. Your key performance indicators will help you understand where you’re reaching your goals and where you’re falling short so that you can maximize your budget more effectively.

Learn more about what makes KPIs so important here: Effectively Monitoring KPIs

Performance Targets
 

4. Capitalize on Areas with Strong Financial Performance – And Evaluate Low-Performing Strategies

Once you’ve begun to monitor your key performance indicators, you can start making changes to your budget based on your analysis. If you’re finding you’re successful in one area and not in another, use this information to your advantage, and take action. Areas with strong financial performance can often be bolstered, and low-performing strategies may be able to be cut back, allowing you to allocate resources to more successful strategies and objectives. Take social media; whatever budget you have for social media management and online content creation, look at the various forms of social media and where you’re seeing the most traction. If you’re coming up short with emails but seem to be getting a large response via blog posts, you know which medium to optimize and bolster and which to cut back on.

Check out this article for more info on optimizing your use of KPI measurements: The Right Way to Monitor & Measure Performance Targets

Home Studio
 

5. Don’t Be Afraid to DIY

If you’re just starting out in the entertainment industry, especially with a small budget, chances are good that you can’t afford all of the best equipment and the best space imaginable. You’ll likely start out with whatever your budget can afford you – and that’s okay, even if that involves a bit of DIY work. Take it from some of the greatest entertainment industry professionals – it doesn’t matter much where you begin; you can end up somewhere far greater in the not-so-distant future. Countless recording artists have started out in makeshift home studios before eventually creating larger, more “professional” studios. Low-budget films have been known to draw critical acclaim, launching filmmakers into successful careers, and even small-budget film techniques like hand-held camerawork have become popularized and common in even high-budget films. You never know where the winds will blow in the entertainment industry, but it’s true that you can create a successful business, even when starting out with the cheapest, do-it-yourself resources.

Marketing Strategies
 

6. Utilize Smart, Cost-Effective Marketing Techniques

For any business, large or small, marketing is everything. Without an effective (and cost-effective) marketing strategy to boost your company’s visibility, you’re going to be virtually invisible. Now more than ever, it’s imperative to have a strong online presence, but it’s up to you to decide what that means for your business. If you’re operating with a small budget and want to maximize your marketing efforts, start by implementing smart marketing strategies that are low-cost and that deliver high volumes of online traffic and actual business opportunities. To ensure you’re making the most of your marketing budget, make sure that you have optimized your website, social media presence, overall brand, press, and any online content you create or sell. This includes creating a cohesive brand that can be translated across any media, and utilizing crucial SEO content strategies to help make your marketing tactics visible online.

Check out these resources to learn more about maximizing your marketing budget:
7 Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies for Growing a New Brand
7 Highly-Effective Ways to Maximize Your Online Brand Presence
7 Ways to Maximize Impact on a Small Budget
How to Stretch a Small Advertising Budget for Big Impact
Where The Money Goes: Budget Allocation Tips

At The Los Angeles Film School, we’ve designed an Entertainment Business Bachelor of Science degree program that’s built to enhance students’ success in the gaming, music production and film industries. If you’re looking to start your own business in the entertainment industry, this is the place to start!

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