Congratulations, your small business just earned its first dollar(s). Now comes the hard part of deciding what exactly to do with them. One of the most common mistakes small business owners make is investing in bonds, stocks, and other more alternative investments too early. The other is not investing a dime, keeping all of your hard earned capital locked away in a safe. As far as growing your small business is concerned, neither approach is particularly brilliant. However, there is a way to both invest and still keep capital in your own business: reinvesting. Here’s a list of a few areas worth investing in to get you started:
Invest in yourself
By this, we mean investing strictly in business and not in the sense of buying yourself a new car or increasing your allowance with a ‘personal bonus’ straight from the cookie jar. As the spearhead of your small business, you’re effectively the brains of your operation. Thus, if you wish to stay ahead of the competition, you want to be at the top of your game. This means filling in the blanks in certain areas, other than your primary field of expertise, which you may lack; for example leadership, project management, HR, and so on. Enroll in an online course or workshop to get the hang of the basics, or turn to professional consulting to help you achieve these goals.
Invest in your employees
The key to running a successful small business is not expanding wide, but rather, growing tall. In essence, the cost of hiring new staff is much higher than you think, and bringing in additional staff members may disrupt your current team’s unity and cohesion. As a result, you want to invest in your existing staff to prevent high employee turnover and to increase their performance and productivity by incentivizing them with a few benefit packages. For example, offer them some more time off, free parking spaces, gym memberships, and so on. Apart from boosting your team’s morale, you should also reinvest your profits into other, more HR-related aspects, such as training and education. Consequently, this will not only increase your employees’ loyalty but their expertise as well.
Upgrade your business infrastructure
Another thing worth investing in early on is the remodeling of your business infrastructure. Better communication channels, more optimal office space and quality equipment are all vital for the day-to-day operations of your small business. For instance, you can improve your customer experience by seeking out a dedicated phone service provider such as Orange to show your customers that you do care. Likewise, upgrading the tools and machinery your employees work with on a daily basis helps streamline business processes and workflow, boosting your productivity in the process. Finally, the acquisition of suitable office space that’s not too big yet leaves enough room for expansion will provide the perfect working environment for both your present and future employees.
Improve your marketing efforts
In the case of digital marketing, it’s never too early to start. Just take a look at the film industry where teasers and trailers are released a whole year before the actual movie is released. For startups, marketing products still in their initial, prototype stages can rail in new supporters and valuable feedback for their completion. Furthermore, the key to a good marketing campaign is to target a specific audience on platforms such as social media, blogs and YouTube, and tailor your marketing strategies as well as content around them. This requires a lot of careful preparation and marketing research done beforehand, but it is well worth the effort. According to Salesforce, just email marketing has an average ROI of 3,800%, which means that for every $1 you invest you see a return of $38.
Lastly, outsourcing gives you a chance to focus on the more ‘fun’ aspects of running your business, leaving repetitive and mundane secondary tasks such as accounting, HR, and IT support in the care of another, more qualified company. However, this investment isn’t born out of the sheer laziness and neglect for all these non-essential tasks, but is rather of a more practical nature. Namely, by outsourcing all non-essential tasks, a business is able to focus on its core features. This, in turn, improves the general quality of work and promotes growth and development. Additionally, you get to keep fewer people on your payroll, knowing that the outsourced processes are in expert hands.
At the end of the day, you don’t have to reinvest all of your profits back into your business. Creating a small reserve in the form of a cash ‘buffer zone’ is never a bad idea to weather those rainy days.