Big success from small budgets

Spike reminds us that big success don’t necessarily require huge budgets.

We’ve watched, first-hand, a program that went from over a half-million dollars in spending shrink to $50,000. And what happened in the tiny budget years? The activity and numbers actually GREW. Why? Because the people owned it. They had the tools and methods (and invented the tools) to keep on going. But more importantly, they had the desire and the sense of ownership to keep on going.

There was a reason that I tried hard at LEGO not to have my budgets increase as our team gained success – it made us work harder, smarter than we would have with a fat checkbook. When I spent 60%+ of my budget each year on travel, I had no choice but to put the “concept” of the community building work into the hands of the people, as Spike says.

Of course, the key here is that the leg work in the beginning is crucial, and that part can often be expensive. I can’t tell you how many clients, contacts, and marketing journals I’ve heard say that they want to “hand the reins to the community” simply as a way to cut costs. Hell, if anything getting these pieces in place often cost more money in the form of employees and time. But as Spike puts it, it’s absolutely worth the effort:

So I would venture to say that creating a fascinating, inspiring, rewarding and engaging movement that’s transparent, honest and invites your customers into the fold is, in fact, recession proof. And if those reports, politicians and doom-and-gloom forecasters are right, would you rather bank on a wing-and-a-prayer method, or integrate something into those efforts that can stand the test of time (and budgets)?