Being a shrewd spender is important for start-up leaders. Entrepreneurs have to watch every dollar they spend to make payrolls, manage cash flow, and generally stay in business.
However, being money conscious does not mean spending as little as possible on everything.
If you are trying to establish a solid business and sustain it in the long run, there are some investments worth every check disbursed.
As a small business owner, you should invest wisely in the organization. This might sound good in theory, but in reality, many don’t know where to put their money.
Strategic planning analysis is necessary and shouldn’t be too difficult if you have long-term goals in mind for your start-up.
Keeping that in mind, here are the four main areas every small-business leadership should invest in:
1. Business Coaching
Every business owner needs a coach or mentor. The opportunity to tap into the experience, knowledge, and connections of an expert is worth every penny.
The Coaching Climate CIPD’s 2011 report showed that mentorship is offered by 75% of major organizations and that 84% are using it more than was reported two years ago, even in regulated times.
The two main purposes of coaching are to boost employee engagement and improvement in performance.
At present times, business coaching is a popular service for start-up leadership. When hiring, make sure the ‘expert’ is highly qualified for the job.
Hunt for experts who have first-hand, tangible business experience, client testimonials, and solid credentials. Once you have created a list of eligible candidates, hold phone screenings to choose the best coach for you.
A business mentor helping you without cost is indeed an invaluable asset. You surely don’t have to invest money into the relationship, but you must invest your time to keep the bond strong.
Make sure to schedule regular meetings with the coach to stay on their radar. Remember, all relationships are two-way streets.
Think about the skills or experiences you can offer your mentor that will encourage him or her to stay in contact with you.
2. Equity Investment
An equity investment is the best way to involve family, friends, and other interested individuals, without demanding too much of them.
Family and friends make up the majority of investors, with 38% of founders raising money from their colleagues.
The SEC published a ground-breaking study last year, presenting new and improved rules called ‘Regulation A+’, allowing start-ups to raise between $4 million and $50 million from main street investors.
Without including their homes, websites like ManhattanStreetCapital.com and SeedInvest.com allow uncredited small-scale leaders to invest up to 10% of their self-reported net worth.
The CEO of Manhattan Street Capital, Rod Turner, calls this an unprecedented opportunity for ‘mature’ start-ups and mid-stage companies called ‘scale-ups.’
3. Credible Web Presence
A website is usually your first impression if you’re relying on inbound leads to sell your services or products. What does your business blog or website currently say about you? Do you look credible? Does your headshot say, “I mean business?”
When visiting your website, it only takes a few seconds for users to decide whether or not to trust your start-up. Creating a custom site with a web developer is costly, but you can make a good impression on potential and existing customers without spending thousands of dollars.
You can try affordable website builders like Squarespace.com if you’re on a tight budget. For less than$20 a month, you can choose from plenty of clean, ready-to-use, and vibrant site templates.
You can also create a website by downloading the free software from WordPress.org and choosing either a free theme or investing in a premium theme.
Four out of five local searches on mobile devices end up in a purchase, according to the 2014 Neustar Localeze and 15 miles study. This is why you must pay attention to all aspects of your web presence, from being smartphone friendly to producing high-quality content.
4. Trusted Mentorship
The best investment any start-up leader can make is in a financial advisor. Knowing the terrain and the trails, an experienced advisor is like a mountain guide.
You tend to put the decision in your hands only when you know alternate routes to a broken or blocked bridge.
According to the Clint Brown of Financially Sound, the best thing about hiring a financial advisor is that they free up your time, allowing you to focus on what interests you the most: your start-up.
You can easily lean on a trusted advisor to guide you on which business loans are good for your small company, determining the greener (and less risky) pastures for you and your team.
One of the best ways to shortcut your financial decision-making ‘trial and error’ is by investing time in a mentor. It is not a new concept, but it requires you to put in weeks or even months, allowing you to seek advice from someone who has been there.
Investing in your start-up doesn’t have to cost you tons of money. Make optimum use of your funds and level up as you create more income.
Investing in tools and services that make you more productive, pushes your product, and offer you valuable information is money well-spent.
Where Should a Start-up Leader Invest?
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