No budget? No problem. Talk to a communicator.

No budget? No problem. Talk to a communicator.
May 29, 2024 Beth Nyland

Everyone in business seems to be grasping for budget these days.

Okay, maybe not everyone.

But enough of my clients, colleagues, and collaborators have mentioned funding frustrations that it feels like an epidemic of penny pinching.

Funny thing, though.

As budgets shrink, expectations seem to grow.

You’ve got to stop spending, but keep going. Hit those targets we set for the year or quarter. No, wait … exceed those targets! Do more, do better.

But for goodness sake, don’t spend or hire or invest.

How frustrating, confounding, and demoralizing. It’s tempting to throw up your hands, do the bare minimum, and wait for the financial pendulum to swing back in the other direction.

I mean, you could do that.

But it’s likely to cost you your job and/or reputation.

Don’t let that happen.

Instead, ping someone in your organization’s Communications department and schedule an advisory session. Because if anyone knows how to get results on a shoestring, it’s those miracle workers who manage internal and external communication for your company.

I know this, because I’ve been there.

My career has been split about 50/50: half inside large, bureaucratic corporations, half as a self-employed consultant to such organizations. While on the inside, most of my roles have been in Communications—a department or function commonly known as a “cost center.”

Communicators may be an asset to the business, but the corporate, non-agency, non-consulting types don’t generate revenue. They’re a drain on resources. So, when savings are required, guess who’s involved in the first round of budget cuts? You got it. Those costly communicators.

That’s why my resume includes such bullet points as:

  • Achieved fast, effective results through smart use of funds, skills, and technology
  • Delivered professional communications on zero budget, creatively using assets such as intranet, email, and virtual meeting technology
  • Served as business developer for Internal Communications, seeking opportunities to apply existing resources, avoid duplicate effort, and integrate key messages

That third point makes me smile, because it’s actually a happy memory. I worked for a brilliant leader who knew that the best way for our little team to survive budget cuts and layoffs was to be positively indispensable to as many parts of the business as possible.  So, he appointed me as a sort of sales rep for our function. I went office door to office door, listening to leaders’ problems and pain points, and offering our service and support as a solution. It worked. We not only kept our jobs, we got raises, promotions, and the ultimate reward: more headcount!

So, if you’re flummoxed by low funds, go talk to those corporate communicators.

They’ll inspire you with advice on how to:

  • DIY projects you didn’t even know you could handle. Every communicator I know is a self-taught master of getting sh*t done without help, courageously learning to use software, hardware, and even heavy machinery.
  • Make ruthless decisions about what to cut. Most communicators are excellent editors who can reduce not just word-count, but project expenses as well.
  • Enlist no-cost support from collaborators. Call it schmoozing, sweet talk, or pulling in favors, communicators know how to engage people in a worthy cause. In tiny wedges of time, they can draw information, ideas, and effort from people who walk away saying it was no trouble at all.

In short, those thrifty go-getters in Communications will remind you that creativity, grit, and optimism are of the utmost value. Especially when money is tight.

And if you don’t have access to an in-house communicator who can offer such insights, message me. I’m ready to help.


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