Best Bang for the Buck - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Best Bang for the Buck
Seven simple tips to get the most out of your meeting budget.


Pharmaceutical Executive


5 Establish a break-even point When creating the revenue side of any budget, the budget manager must determine where funding will come from. Revenue is often generated by ticket sales. More often than not, hearing a lecture on the next medical breakthrough or attending a gala event for a company foundation certainly could be worth the price of a ticket. The overall sales of tickets should cover the cost of the event and produce the desired financial benefit to the company. A break-even point must be established for this formula to be successful. So how does one determine the break-even point of an event?

First, an expense budget must be formulated by comparing the history of last year's event with the numbers associated with this year's program. A planner may decide that last year's numbers plus, say, three percent for the increase in the consumer price index will create this year's budget—so basically you would take last year's numbers and add three percent to them. Not flawless, but historically it would get you close to a usable number without having to calculate every item from scratch.

If companies are raising money for a foundation or cause, then meeting planners need to go one step further and multiply the amount they hope to raise by the projected break-even cost of one ticket.

6 Consider sponsorships It is always more fun to manage a budget with high income and low expenses, but we are not so fortunate most of the time. Creating enhancements to revenue is today's greatest challenge, and one method that works is sponsorship. Sponsorship and advertising is everywhere and it's a chance for both sides of the partnership to help each other. Meeting planners can benefit by seeing lower ticket prices. Sponsors see high exposure or just good community relations in return.

Companies can muster a sponsor for just about everything out there within the realm of the law. The simplest of items, such as a ruler or notepad printed with the sponsor's logo or message, can be handed to every attendee in a gift bag or materials packet. As long as companies are conscious of the regulations that govern many pharmaceutical and medical programs, the opportunities are endless.

7 Establish responsibility Let the budget manager manage the budget. All too often people in management positions do not share the department or program budget with subordinates, even though they hold them accountable for managing budgets. It is very difficult for someone who was not involved in the creation of a budget, or who does not manage a budget on a regular basis, to manage a budget with positive results.

A budget manager must know how the budget was created, what the company's strategic financial plan is, what the purpose of a meeting or event is, and what the financial goals of that meeting or event are. This knowledge helps the manager understand how to accomplish the goals that were set at the start of the planning process, how to produce better results and, not least, how to stay on budget.


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