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Money Now or Money Later

by Randall Craig on December 19, 2014

Filed in: Blog, Growth, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing

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Where do you spend your organization’s budget?  Should it be on communications, or on training?  Should it be on infrastructure, or on people?  Inside the organization, or to partners?

While these may all be good questions, there is merit on reframing it – especially when it comes to questions around growth.

Money Now:  These are investments that will drive immediate revenue: a specific ad campaign, a booth at a trade show, a product discount. Money Now means cashflow, positive budget results, and achieved quarterly objectives.  The positive results reflect the quality of the day-to-day management.

Money Later:  These are investments that will drive revenue at a later date:  Implementing a marketing automation capability.  Building a new website.  Hiring a new sales manager.  Investing in thought leadership.  Money Later builds sustainable competitive differentiation, deeper organizational capability, and often, lower variable costs.

The challenge, however, is figuring out the balance between these categories.  Too much Now mortgages the future for better results today.  Too much Later means no cashflow that is needed to fund that future.

The biggest risk, however, is not an incorrect balance, but missing the conversation completely. A second reframe:

Money Never:  These are investments that are being made because everyone else is doing it.  Or because a “sharp” staffer has manufactured a job for themselves in the area.  Or because of bad advice from an agency.  Does this sound familiar, particularly when describing the approach many take with the web and social media?

This week’s action plan:  Rate yourself.  If you had 100 effort/investment points, how would you split them up between Money Now, Money Later, or Money Never in the area of  web/social media/CRM? If it is highly biased towards Now or Later, was this your intention?  And are you being completely honest about your effort and investment in the Money Never category?

Bonus idea:  Management performance objectives are often set on short-term measures.  In your organization, how might you reward on Money Later goals?  And minimize Money Never ones?

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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