The start of a new year can mean that you are once again in planning mode. What can you do to take the business forward? In common with many other managers, you may have some great ideas – but of course they need funding. How can you secure the funding you need for this project – get the approval of the business manager or budget holder?
Recently I was asked to design and run a course for senior managers of a highly successful international research program. The business manager commissioned the course, since he was continuously being approached to approve funding for various elements of the roll out of the program.
He observed that many of these scientists and senior researchers did not fully consider, or demonstrate that they had considered, the impact on the finances when they made purchasing requests. As scientists, they were highly numerate but often they failed to:
- Fully cost some proposals e.g. for hiring extra staff,
- Demonstrate that they had considered various options before making the purchase request – e.g. was this the most effective solution?
- Detail the impact on all stakeholders e.g. the impact of their proposed actions on another part of the laboratory,
- Clearly present the relevant information, and
- Did not attempt to persuade or sell their proposal.
Does any of this sound familiar?
For many, developing a proposal or business case, can seem daunting. Often this is seen as the remit of those in finance – yet the operational managers are the experts with regard to the proposed project or expenditure. So where to start? For this client, I developed a checklist of what needed to be addressed by any proposal. A full business case may be required by your organisation – please refer to my previous blog re tips on business cases – but be careful not to get bogged down in form filling.
This latter point is one of the keys to success in getting approval. As my client had observed, too many of his managers were failing to sell their proposals. I have observed this countless times – especially with technical and professional specialists. With their expertise in their field, they believe ‘the facts should speak for themselves’ and so there is no need to sell their proposal……………wrong!
I wish you a highly successful 2019 and feel free to drop me a line if I can help – firstname.lastname@example.org