September 1, 2003 / Fall 2003 / Staff Management

Know Your Income and Out-go

Written by Mike Archer

1. Review last year’s expenses to know where money was spent. Expenses include more than the cost of the book. Determine whether there are less expensive ways of acquiring supplies. Are you spending money on motivational items, such as prizes and pizza? These items are important, but examine whether you can do as much or more with less.

2. Get a cost accounting of the previous year’s book. Review it to see where you might have been able to save some money. Usually the biggest expenses are film and processing, but with the advent of digital cameras and everchanging software and hardware, expenses are shifting to those areas.

3. Review the previous year’s budget to determine your income sources, which usually are:

  • book sales
  • commercial ads
  • senior baby/congratulation ads
  • fund raisers
  • other funding sources, such as grants for technology

4. Review the production costs of your book with your representative. Do you have corrections charges or overtime charges? If you do, talk with your representative to see how to cut these costs. Get creative with your representative on building better books using the same amount of money. You want to use your money to create a better book, not react to problems that take money away from the creative process

5. When these steps are complete, begin the process for building your budget for the upcoming year. After you plan your book and its cost, go back to your income to see if you can afford it. If you haven’t raised the price of the book in the past few years, you may want to look at adjusting that cost.

6. See where you can expand your commercial and senior ads. Look at what you are charging. Each advertising page should pay for itself and one other page in the book. If it does not, your revenue stream is way too low and needs to be adjusted upward. It may take a year or two to get where you want so your clients do not suffer sticker shock.

In schools with bigger budgets and staffs, I encourage advisers to find students who are more interested in the sales and marketing aspects of the book rather than production. The yearbook is a business. Schools are usually good at the production side of the business, but do not pay as much attention to the sales part. Enter the business manager. You can usually find them in either the DECA or FBLA clubs in your school, if you have one. The business manager’s sole responsibility is to increase sales to the student body, and increase funding from other revenue streams, like fund-raisers and advertising.

Finally, if your school sells to fewer than 60 percent of your student body, SalesXpress is another valuable resource in which Walsworth assumes the sale of the yearbook as part of our services. There are a number of cost-effective ways to accomplish this. Talk to your representative to see if this program is a viable option for your school.

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Mike Archer