You've made the right move and made the effort of putting a budget in place for the year ahead, but what do you do with that now?
A budget isn't meant to be restrictive or to strangle the opportunities ahead. It is a guide to spending and performance results so there are several things you should now be thinking to ensure the budget is effective and helps your business.
The single best way to put your budget to use is to have regular financial management reports produced, and to review these in a management meeting. Depending on your business and the industry this is likely to be a monthly task but it could be performed more or less often. It will compare your actual performance with that set by the budget so you can see if you're earning or spending any differently, and if needed, you can then make changes as necessary. In reports I produce, I usually include a reforecast too as the expectation for the rest of the year changes from that which was set by the budget, so I find this helps even more with planning ahead.
Another important aspect of getting value from your budget is to make key members of your team aware of the details that are relevant to them. Your sales team can know what is expected, and also the associated direct costs. Your office manager can know what is budgeted for certain overhead costs too. The budget can actually then become empowering for your team. Sections of the budget allocated to them to utilise during the year lets them do their job without you necessarily needing to approve every single thing and they can be accountable for this too.
Now you've set a budget, don't let it quietly slide away. Do the above and see it easily put to work helping your business, making more comfortable and confident decisions, and improving your profitability.