Resources are limited in every company and in start-ups there can be a complete void. I wear many hats here at Jobs2Careers, but the one thing I can say about lacking resources – it’s not always because they are unavailable or too expensive. It might be because no one has ever asked.
After many phone interviews (another hat I wear here!), I find that candidates often use “innovative” as an adjective to describe themselves and their work-style. They explain how they can make something out of nothing and will be able to do the job with limited resources. Don’t get me wrong, innovation and creativity are definitely two attributes you want to highlight in your career, but for different reasons.
Being able to make do with what you are given is something we’ve all had to sacrifice a time or two before. But what happens when it starts to affect your work?
Once you have exhausted all your resources, tried one way and tried another, and it still isn’t quite what you need, what can you do?
Why not ask for what you need to do your job? Instead of making excuses for why your work has plateaued, or complaining about what a different department has that you don’t, ask for it! If it will improve your output, make processes run more efficiently, and positively affect the business as a whole – you would be terribly (sorry, but for lack of a better word) dumb to not ask for it.
Asking for what you want in your own career, whether it be a promotion or more vacation time, can be a much easier sell since it’s self-promoting and solely to benefit you. Asking for more budget when you know it’s already tight is something you will have to put a little more effort into. You must show your boss/CEO/investors the benefit of it. If you don’t already know what ROI stands for (“return on investment”), memorize it and the following information.
Make a plan. Sounds like common sense. But if what you want is to hire an intern for the huge project you’re working on right now, what will they do when that’s done? Think big picture before you make the proposal. Creating a timeline with week by week or month over month strategy will make it easier to prove why this is needed.
Short and long term goals. With any plan there must be goals. Thinking big picture will be your ultimate accomplishment. Asking yourself “how will this money (or intern) aid in reaching that goal?” If investing in a product to help the company grow long-term, making short term goals breaks down the enormity allowing them to seem more achievable to whomever you are pitching.
Highlight the benefit. Don’t make it personal. This isn’t like asking for a raise, your boss needs to see why this investment is worthy of the company’s time, budget, and manpower. Show your excitement for what you are asking for, it will become contagious making it hard to turn down. This is where ROI comes in. You map out what it will cost, and then what that cost will gain. If you have a $10,000 a month budget for social media ads, you must be able to prove to your boss that the spend is beneficial, using numbers and metrics, and identify the key performance indicators.
Taking the time to make a plan for what you want will show your dedication to the project and will prove that you have thoroughly thought out the process, but the first thing you need to do is ask. Think like you’re the boss before you meet with yours. What he or she wants to know first and most is “what will this achieve?” And the answer should be in numbers.
The bottom line is the bottom line, no matter what industry you’re in. You can’t get what you never ask for and your managers may never know it’s something that the company can benefit from. So stop making excuses for why you can’t go any further with a project and start asking for more.