Small business owners must constantly invest in their business’ operation. This may sound like an intimidating cost, but you can invest in your business operations without a big cash commitment- the trick is to make the investment part of your core values system. Here are nine effective and cost-efficient ways to invest in business operations and jump start your small business growth!
1. Bank a Buffer
We all know it’s hard to save money, especially when getting a business off the ground- but you really should have a cash reserve. It should act as a safety net and be something you have to get you through particularly rough times- which all businesses will have! A safety net is a fallback position- you need the liquidity to function when things get tight. With that comfort in place, you can allocate investments with real payback.
2. Outsource Extra Duties
You can improve employee performance by outsourcing jobs that burn your staff’s valuable energy and attention. Taxes and accounting, web design and management, social media control and more can be outsourced for reasonable fees with some research and networking.
Your business may have temporary or seasonal tasks that consume time and productivity. You can fill those spots with temporary employees or contract the work to a freelance specialist. By offloading work to experts or extra hands, you can direct your permanent staff to do the work they do well and find fulfilling.
3. Remember Your Needs
Life is a never-ending learning process. You may own your business, but you still have a lot to learn. Everything around you changes every day. From your earliest planning days, you should identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Entrepreneurs risk thinking they know it all when, in fact, they’re strongly centered on one power or another. They might be strong innovators or marketers, but there’s always something to learn, some other business skill you need to build. So, investing in personal growth — finance for non-financial managers, communication skills, presentation skills and more — has an immediate ROI.
4. Create A Culture
If you make a consistent commitment to your work team, it will pay you back fully. When you start planning for the business, you should envision the world where you want to work. List your business’ core values and build a team aligned with those values from the start. When you invest in an organizational culture, you target employee behaviors you believe will deliver and achieve. You introduce management behaviors that engage and energize employee performance. Without a culture, business lacks purpose and direction.
5. Build A Better Business
Too often, small business owners imitate other businesses. Other business models can help with organization and development- but, sooner than later, you must become your own entity. You should continue to reinvest in your business, however, expenditures should align with your unique business strategy. Once you’ve firmed up your capital expenditures and infrastructure and organized clientele experience, you must stamp it with your purpose and identity in leadership, marketing, and customer relationships.
6. Hire Smart
Your business needs a hiring strategy built around talent, not functions. Small business owners often rush to fill desks with a pair of hands. They hire employees to work as clerks, accountants, or salespeople- not to flesh out a team with versatile and diverse talents that can grow with and for the business.
You are better off building a team based not only on talents needed now but with the potential to grow into your future needs. This means not hiring in a rush, not hiring based on gut reactions and not hiring solely because of perceived personal chemistry. Even before your first hire, you should put in some time with investors, peers and recruiters to identify what and whom you need.
7. Invest Wisely
The smallest business should invest some of its funds for their financial returns- but, the investment should be strategic and managed. You need more than cash and a 401(k). First growth depends on your investment in the business and its people. If you create a culture that returns the fruits of your labor, you have more to invest in diversified financial vehicles.
8. Develop Marketing
Marketing confounds virtually every small business owner. They mistakenly imitate other businesses when it’s their unique selling position that translates into success. Veteran small business owners must differentiate themselves in terms of value and appeal to defined, targeted markets.
For some businesses, that depends on a retail or networking model. But, most owners depend on their digital marketing platforms. That requires some investment in cash, but mostly in time and attention. Keeping your business engaging online takes a strategic commitment that's extraordinarily costly only if it’s not done well. Do your research, take the time to master your marketing platforms inside and out, and learn everything you can about your existing customers so you can speak to potential customers efficiently.
This could help: 10 Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners
9. Develop Processes
Small businesses can quickly smother under piles of misplaced sticky notes. The best business administrator may efficiently juggle tasks, phone numbers and regular duties. However, that’s no way to run an organization.
Your business needs strategic Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), fall back operational procedures, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The best SOPs are developed by teams that integrate their input and create standards for operation and achievement. A Maryland 2016 study found that companies with business process management saw roughly a 40 percent increase in their return on investment within only a year.
Investing in Business Operations Is Win-Win
You can and should invest money into your small business operations. You can also contribute to growth with commitments to time, outsourcing, technology and personal values. Small business operations are complex and integrated. The small business owner’s challenge lies in organizing, prioritizing and strategizing needs and solutions.
If your small business does need a money boost to invest in needed operational tools and processes, it’s time to look at what types of financing are available. We take a deeper dive into the topic in this ebook, “The Basics of Small Business Financing.” Learn more about how to apply for a small business loan, how to open a business line of credit, or how to acquire government contract financing.
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