For most business owners, unless you are expanding it often feels like the business is sitting still and stagnating. If you’re not doubling in size and therefore doubling in profits, the business isn’t seen as growing. This sort of growth always require investment, but sometimes the money is there for expansion, but the opportunity isn’t. So, what should you do with your money? Saving it for the ‘rainy day’ fund isn’t a bad idea and will keep you covered for any cash flow issues. However, there are lots of ways you can invest into the business without expanding, yet still see an increase in revenue and importantly, improvements within the business.
Improving Your Business Processes:
Businesses need to stay on top of things. They need to be constantly adapting to the best practices in their sector and the most efficient ways of doing business. The companies who don’t invest in their own businesses processes usually get left behind, so it is an ongoing battle when it comes to being competitive.
If you have a positive attitude and look at all the ways you can make improvements to your business things usually get better. There might not be room for immediate expansion, but there will certainly be areas to improve and reward. It could be staff, marketing or improving productivity. These investments are just as important and although they won’t normally double your revenue, there is potential for a sizeable ROI.
Keeping In Touch With Your Clients:
One of the most efficient ways of refining your processes, is research into the market and your clients. Find out what they think you are doing right or wrong and make all the efforts possible to correct the mistakes your customers think you are making. An idea you think will work for the business, in practice, might not work well with your current clients, or it may not be an idea that pulls in new ones. You need to gauge from your clients how a new business idea might work out.
Market research should be an ongoing constant process for most businesses. Market places change and new trends come into play, it’s vital you remain aware of changes so that you can adapt easily.
Marketing The Business:
Marketing is an ongoing process, which businesses need to be constantly adapting to. It’s a key place of investment, so you need to ensure you are up to date with the most effective methods of communicating your business and the strategies that work for you. It is not necessarily a case of pumping money out simply so the brand can be more recognised. It all depends on what results you actually want to achieve from your marketing. It’s also essential that you stay up to date with your competitors and match their marketing to some degree. If you aren’t competitive with your marketing, you run the risk of getting left behind on the platforms your competition use which you then miss out on.
For start-ups making sure that you engage early with your audience is essential. Not enough new businesses invest early, or effectively enough with their marketing during the first few months of set up. It can be more beneficial to start your marketing early and have a platform to build upon, potentially even have customers waiting for you when you begin working.
Digital marketing and especially social media is a brilliant platform for businesses to put their money into. There are lots of areas where businesses can target and track specific campaigns, which can sometimes be a more effective means of advertisement. Social media is a great way of communicating with clients and building up a community around your business or market to engage with.
Investing In People:
For a lot of businesses their main asset is their people, their employees. So, it’s logical to put any excess cash and investments back into improving the output of your most valuable asset. Do your employees need more training, or could they improve on their current method of output? What knowledge do they need to make the business services they’re providing better? Most of this can be done through training, courses or by gaining further certificates, raise their value and they will return the favour and show the business further loyalty.
If there is room to invest in staff, most will expect salary increases. Increasing your whole staff salary by even 5% can be a huge expenditure, so this isn’t always the best way to spend your investment. Incentivising your employees can be just as effective, whether it be through monetary bonuses, days out, free meals or even gym memberships. This shows the appreciation the business has for its staff and will help you hold on to quality, loyal staff.
It seems like an obvious one, but it might surprise you how many businesses don’t invest much into their equipment. No business wants to spend more money than is necessary and if laptops, printers even your internet is working fine, why fix what’s not broke? But how much time is being lost and wasted through the use of old equipment? How much longer will this old equipment be able to last?
If your equipment is going down this route it can be a much better investment to get things fixed or replaced as soon as possible. Not only can this boost your productivity, it will save you the time and frustration of replacing your equipment later down the line anyway. If a piece of equipment breaks down, so does your staff, you are more likely to lose money in the long run by hanging on to old equipment, rather than purchasing new equipment. It doesn’t necessarily mean a huge overhaul of everything, but it’s important to speak to staff and make sure they are comfortable with their equipment.
These are just a few areas where you could potentially invest some of your business earnings. The most important things to consider when investing, is if it will give you a return. Spending wisely and at the right time is the most important thing, but sometimes maintaining your funds and waiting for the perfect moment can be more beneficial. But it’s critical you don’t stagnate and rest on your laurels.
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