It’s often said that “You have to spend money to make money.” While there is a great deal of truth to that maxim, spending money does not always bring a return and – if done without forethought and a strategy – it can mean the difference between a growing business and looming bankruptcy.
However, there are other not-so-obvious ways an owner can – and should – invest in their own business.
Five Strategic Business Investments
No matter where you are in the life of your business there are certain items and services that you should invest in if you have not already. In order to grow your business, you do have to put some money into it. Here are five growth investments you should make in your business.
1) A Professional Website
Whether or not you rely on inbound leads to sell your products or services, your company’s website is your “storefront” on the Internet. It is your company’s first impression for a new visitor. In fact, so much hinges on the look and functionality of your website, it should rank high as an investment priority.
When first-time visitors land on your site, numerous studies show that it only takes seconds for them to decide stay and browse, or simply move on. Although you can get by with a low-budget website, working with a professional web developer to create a custom site is well worth the investment. And while it can be costly, you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to make a good impression.
2) Effective Marketing Efforts
Today the foundation and backbone of an effective marketing strategy is content. High-quality, relevant, and consistent content is the key to attracting, winning and keeping customers and clients. But achieving these objectives with a content marketing strategy takes time and expertise. And it won’t happen with a few blog posts.
One of the best solutions for this challenge is to hire a local marketing agency to manage and execute your Internet marketing strategy for you. Because a marketing plan can be custom fit to your business size and your particular needs, the cost to you for outsourcing can be comfortably affordable.
3) Additional Staff
Far too many business owners remain tied to low-level tasks that require time, but minimal skill sets. The problem is that they and their managers are far less than effective, and their collective productivity suffers. The day-to-day administrative tasks of running the business continue to take their valuable time away from other more important projects.
Being a strategic business owner means knowing when it’s time to hire administrative staff to free your management team to focus on actually building the operation. Any tasks that could reasonably be done by a lower level employee are tasks that high salary managers shouldn’t be doing. In addition to hiring staff, you should also consider outsourcing some work such as bookkeeping, payroll, or call center. Investing to free up more time in your day is always a good choice.
4) Bookkeeping and Accounting Services
Speaking of outsourcing, making use of an off-site bookkeeper and professional accounting service can revolutionize your business. While you may have already taken this step and have a CPA and a trained bookkeeper, are you really fully invested in the potential benefits these professionals can offer?
You should consider hiring a certified public accountant not only for your annual tax needs, but for the ongoing advice and expertise that a CPA focused on small businesses can offer. When your taxes are managed by a qualified professional, you can be assured you’ve filed the right deductions, your taxes are paid on time and you won’t be surprised later with an unexpected tax bill. In addition, having a third-party insight into your financial needs and strategy is well worth the added investment.
5) A Coach or Mentor
Every business owner needs a coach or mentor. A professional coach can provide wisdom, direction, accountability and motivation that is often absent for most business owners. The opportunity to tap into their knowledge, experience and connections is worth the investment. When engaging a business coach, be prepared to commit for a reasonable length of time. Real change and progress cannot happen in a month.
Finding a business mentor is an invaluable asset and investment of your time. If you are fortunate enough to have a friend or colleague to act as a mentor, all the better. And while you won’t necessarily invest money into the relationship, you do need to invest your time in order to get the most “return on investment.” An effective mentoring relationship is a give-and-take arrangement. Be willing to offer your own skills and experience to your mentor, as well.
Business Investments Come In Different Forms
The truth is that investing in your business doesn’t have to cost you huge amounts of capital. But investing in tools and services that provide you with needed information, effectively promotes your product, and helps you and your organization be more productive is money well spent.