1. Analyze your company's overall strategy.
2. If your company does top-down budgeting, start with the targets given to you by senior management. If your company does bottom-up budgeting, create these targets yourself.
What will best meet the needs of your unit? List the 3–5 most important goals for your unit—and put an expected completion date on each of them.
3. Articulate your assumptions.
4. Quantify your assumptions.
5. Take a step back.