In business, you invariably need to spend money to make money. But how do you know what will provide the greatest return? Here are three important areas to consider when you’re planning to invest.
1. Information and communications technology
The latest software and business technology typically requires you to spend more for quality; cutting corners or thinking you can do it yourself is likely to end in wasted time and money.
Research and invest in the best software applications for your business. This might be project management tools, accounting software paired with industry-specific apps like Shopify, inventory management, or appointment scheduling. Consider initially spending a little extra on training and support to get your users up to speed as soon as possible.
If you’re working with a slow connection, consider investing in a speedier solution, especially if you sell your product or service online – nothing puts buyers off more than unresponsive page loads. Likewise, make sure you have plenty of storage capacity to ensure your website can handle the traffic.
Cybersecurity is another critical area to consider. The money you spend on reputable security and anti-virus software (and keeping it updated) will pay for itself, by protecting your business and client data from malware, ransomware, or hacking.
2. Social media
Marketing on social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, is like having shopfronts in a range of locations which appeal to a variety of passers-by at any time of the day. If you’re a retailer, it might be a good idea to invest in a new hire who understands how to market on social media organically and build targeted campaigns.
If you’d prefer to spend the money on paid social advertising, have a go at doing it yourself. There are plenty of user-friendly guides online for each channel, and a suite of social media management tools to help you out. Whatever your approach, make sure you’re regularly reviewing your results and testing outcomes to ensure you’re meeting your goals.
The people you have working in your business are crucial to its long-term success, so think carefully about who you want in your team, and how much you’re prepared to pay for them. Sales or business development, for example, requires a unique skill set worth investing in. Technical support is another area you shouldn’t scrimp on – if you can’t work, you can’t make money.
Investing in people doesn’t have to mean permanent hires – consider outsourcing tasks, such as web design, SEO, or digital and content marketing, to skilled professionals. It might cost more than having a full-time employee, but if the project is temporary or sporadic, then it could save you more in the long run.
Knowing how best to invest in your business to help it grow can be challenging, but with the right technology, the right advertising, and the right people onboard, your business is likely to thrive.
To learn more about growing your small business, check out these resources.