Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wellness Budget: Good For Business

When it comes to business, budget is a word we use a lot. You need a budget to know what you want to spend. You need a budget to keep it all in line so that you are able to actually earn a profit. Without a budget, you simply spend more money right?

Well actually, there are one of two things that happen when you have no budget:

1. Your company spends and spends with no regard for costs or future planning
2. Your company spends nothing

Whether you are talking about uncontrolled spending or no spending in business, issues are likely. Either way, you have a problem. If you spend too much, you are hurting the business and by cutting into profits and keeping expenses high. If you spend nothing, what services are you missing out on? Your business may not be equipped as it should be or lacking something that it needs to succeed.

That is the case when I see companies fail to budget for business needs. No matter what the tool, system or training, if you don't use it, you won't get the benefits from it. While there are things that hold more value than others, I have yet to see a legitimate business product or service that wasn't designed to improve the way you operate. It may not always save your company money, but the goals are usually centered around making your company more money or providing tools to save time or make things easier to manage. The point is, it pays to budget for business improvements. It pays to budget for business needs in general.

Wellness is a business need. When you have a wellness program up and running within your company, you are able to save money on healthcare costs, keep employees at work and productive while they are there and attract more good people that want to work in a healthy, energetic environment. These things do not come automatically. They are the results of a plan to strategically make them happen.

In order to make anything happen, you need a plan. Part of planning in any area of business is coming up with a budget. You have to decide what resources are going into a solution before you start implementing that solution. Just like any other resource, if you don't set a budget, you either spend way too much and it is difficult to show a return on your investment.

This is common, but I don't worry about it as much. The fact that a company is doing something usually makes them successful to some degree. It is important to note that the more detailed the plan, the better the results. It is still possible to spend too much. A company just getting started doesn't need a robust system that involves a great deal of technology, tracking, reporting or otherwise. A company just getting started needs to get started. Getting started is more about planning than spending.

What happens when a company doesn't spend anything? That is the second problem that can arise from no budget. If there is no budget set aside, your company won't spend money on something. No matter how much you want to do it, see value in it or know you should do it, without a budget, it won't fit into your plans and your company won't invest in it.

This usually leads to prolonged pre-planning, frustration and foot-dragging when it comes time to start again. Each time the idea comes up and discussions ensue, without talks of a budget, the conversation will only go so far and therefore the actions and results you can hope for are only going to go so far.

Not having a budget is more dangerous than most companies think. When it comes to wellness, there is an obvious need to create change across your organization. If that change is not created, there are major consequences coming in the very near future. These consequences will continue to come, they will grow and they will not go away. That is well-established.

We've seen the healthcare trend and what it means to businesses. Employees are becoming more and more dependent on health insurance and other medical products or procedures. This is costing companies more and more money every year. That is why we are creating wellness programs. If we can help employees live healthier, they can use less health care and save companies money. This is not a new fact and it is not something that will go away.

There is actually another consequence of not having a budget:

- Paying more because you are trying to fix problems rather than moving forward with a planned budget

It starts with not having a budget, but it continues to get worse. If you have no budget, you are not planning on spending anything. But, what happens when you are forced to spend on something? You have to pay a bill or cover an expense, no matter what you had "planned" on paying or not paying. If it comes due, you owe it.


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