Revitalizing a business may take more than sprucing up little areas here and there. Sometimes it requires a complete adjustment of how you are investing in your business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) discovered over half of small business fail within their first five years because of poor planning/investing. Establishing a small business is a feat for the strong willed, but there are ways to make it manageable.
Every business type will have a different approach to business and there is no correct way to start this process. Depending on what you are looking for, you may invest in a financial planner or work with a trusty excel spreadsheet. Regardless of the route you take, the first step is addressing your current financial situation. Where is your business fund coming from? If you have the established financial resources to start it yourself, make sure you are investing and using the best resources – and do not overspend or reach into certain accounts too soon.
If you cannot afford to support your new business or grow your current one, look into investors or loan opportunities. When you are researching investors/loans, think about how much control you want over your business. If you do not mind someone else having ownership, an investor would be an option. However, if you want full control and zero input into your business, look for loans. There are numerous loan options and programs to help fund small business. The SBA offers a great resource on understand your financial options.
Once you have your finances in order, it is time to invest in the right areas. Business failures are not always directly related to poor funding, but poor investing. If these decisions are scary or you do not trust yourself in making the correct investments, then an investor or mentor is the route you will want to take in the funding process. Knowing where to spend money and where to pinch pennies will mean the difference between a profit and financial disaster.
Certain areas of your business will need a professional touch. When it comes to design and marketing, unless you have past professional experience, this is an area you want to put money into. The look and feel of your brand has a lasting impression on prospective customers and employees – you do not want to screw it up. People can spot a cheap logo from a mile away, so choose a design company with great and tangible past reviews/customers. And look at other brands for inspiration. They do not need to be in the same realm as your business, but it does help to see what your competitors are doing with similar products.
When you have a great logo and think your brand is fully being expressed through it, invest in your marketing. This can get tricky if you are not wanting to spend a whole lot on marketing. Luckily, with great research and an understanding of current trends and social platforms, you can keep costs low. Look at tools like Hootsuite and Buffer for scheduling posts, and mailchimp is great for email marketing – AND these are at little to no cost. Both Facebook and Instagram have tools that allow you to boost and create ads within their platforms, and you can choose how much you want to spend on each ad.
If you really want your business to grow, spend money on the equipment and technology your customers and employees use. There is not a general rule for what equipment to buy for your business, but invest on non-disposable products like business space, computers, and software. However, you can cut corners on cost with disposable products like pens, paper, notebooks, and other basic office supplies. Also, do not be afraid of second-hand office chairs, storage, tables, and other products that are a major upfront cost. Save to buy those nicer, luxury items for later down the road. If you are revamping your business and growing, now is the time to put money towards what you have put off – like new chairs, tables, phones, etc.
When it comes to technology, you want it to work efficiently and produce the best results. Technology is expensive but when invested properly, will make more money than it costs. If you are growing your business and need to revamp current technology, look for upgrade programs that allow you to purchase products at a large quantities with added perks. Apple Business has a great option for business owners and offers discounts to businesses using their products or wanted to implement their products for business.
Depending on the size of your business and how much you want it to grow, insurance may be something to look into. If you delay getting insurance, a natural disaster, robbery, or injury can put your business behind in its growth or completely deflate your financial resources. To save your business when unfortunate accidents occur, invest in the right insurance for you and your business. You would not want to ruin your reputation as a business owner or as a reputable business because you did not have the right resources to bring your company back.
Professional services will come in many forms and are not applicable to every business. However, anyone starting a new business or growing their current one will benefit the rewards of professional services in accounting, payroll, customer support, bookkeeping, and legal advising. This goes hand-in-hand with marketing and technology–it is worth the investment to do it the right way, and if you are not skilled to perform the necessary requirements, then hire/contract out someone to do it for you. There are areas in your business where you should not take shortcuts, and you should create a budget specifically for outsourcing help.