There are staples and initiatives that every business needs in order to succeed. From marketing efforts to employees and equipment, you’re going to need to pay it forward in order to gain results. After all, the nature of business is to make investments.
However, the question lies in understanding where to make those investments and when to pull back. Read on to discover three areas within your small business that, with a little understanding and tact, will prove your efforts to be worthwhile.
No matter how amazing your business offering is, it won’t mean much if no one is aware of it. Marketing is essential for any business that wants to bring in new business while educating and entertaining a consumer group. However, when it comes to setting a budget, where should you save and splurge?
Ad campaigns (consisting of flyers, banners or direct mail) can provide you with a return on investment both in a growing customer base and a more solidified brand image. The key to making your investment worth it is to have a consistent message across the board that speaks to your niche’s needs and wants.
Social media is another effective way to reach your audience, but save your money if a social media manager comes knocking at your door. This is not to say that in-depth online efforts aren’t worth your time, however paying someone to lay the groundwork for you isn’t.
Simple and consistent efforts to reach your audience will be worth the personal effort (without sacrificing your business’s budget). The bonus is that you won’t have a stranger acting as your business’s voice. Customers gravitate toward brands that have authentic personalities and a unique flair. Who better to take on a role that requires someone to live and breathe your brand than you?
Talent is worth the investment if they command necessary skills you don’t have or if they can provide you with the security and comfort of properly representing your business when you’re away. Ask qualified candidates to perform a test or complete a small project to prove their ability to produce real-time results.
A new hire doesn’t always have to break the bank either. Less qualified (and lower-waged) candidates can save your business’s budget if you have the time to invest in proper training. Investments of either time or money are going to have to be made so the ultimate question boils down to: which one can you afford?
Inventory and Equipment
Every business has staples that they are constantly utilizing. Consider making an investment in an upfront purchase of bulk inventory. In addition to saving you time, in most cases suppliers can offer a bulk purchase discount.
As for equipment, most entrepreneurs struggle over the decision to either lease or buy. If you’re in an industry where your output demands the top technologies, leasing might be a better route. However, ownership prevails when it comes to buying furniture or certain machinery that has less of a risk of becoming outdated. Remember ownership also allows you to site a depreciation deduction once tax season rolls around.
Remember that any investment you make should have a projected plan as to how it will help you bring in more profits. Understand your investment options too; you can access funds though a personal savings or a merchant lender. Taking the time to think about what your business needs and, more important, how that investment will return to you with sales and profits, will guide and educate your entrepreneurial decisions.
What are some other worthy investments for a small business?
About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about small business topics while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a provider of merchant cash advances. You can read her daily business blog here.