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Planning for a balanced budget; Federal vs. State
The government/civics class in high school and the political science I studied in college described a system of government that functioned around a presidential budget studied, modified and agreed upon by Congress in advance of the new, fiscal year. It was a foundation for confidence: priorities were established and goals were set.
In recent times, Congress and the President have not produced a budget, resulting in continuing resolutions, sequestering and lack of direction. Programs and priorities today are muddled to the point where we can argue national defense dollars versus social security dollars with no resolution in sight.
Meanwhile, in Nebraska, our state unicameral produces detailed budgets. Priorities emerge for our “good life” while adding to a “rainy day fund.” Nebraskans enjoy fiscal responsibility and the ability to manage our governmental functions—without deficits.
Businesses that work from a detailed business plan, budget in detail, and regularly update and evaluate results against that budget are setting the foundation for success. Management knows the break-even point, when it is the right time to hire and expand, and is prepared to take advantage of new business opportunities.
Engaging a certified public accountant, an attorney and an insurance representative is critical from the onset. Establishing an advisory board or a board of directors with varied business experiences is an important tool in gaining both expertise and valuable insights.
Turning data into business-useful information is critical. For example, data shows women are now the sole or primary source of income in 40 percent of U.S. families, and three-fourths of women with children at home are in the workforce.
So, how do you use that insight in planning your marketing and advertising? What are the implications for the job applicants you solicit? How might you need to adjust certain business practices to align with these changing demographics?
Our federal government is not the model for a successful business. Our Nebraska model reflects diligence, research, and realistic expectations with a budget as a guide. Isn’t that a model to keep in mind for your business?
Roger Doerr is a retired professor emeritus of business and economics at Hastings College where he taught for 44 years.
He was two-time President of the Nebraska Economics and Business Association.
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