Choosing when to spend and when not to are key business decisions often revolving around taking a long term view. From a new printer to high ticket training it’s more than simply ‘can we afford it?’ The important factor is: will it pay off in the long run or prove a drain on resources.
Determining which investments would make a business more efficient and more successful with those that might not is a dilemma that’s foxed business leaders of all types.
Stock control systems
For businesses handling any kind of stock an efficient control system is a must. Accurate stock tracking and order processing tech is within reach of businesses of virtually all sizes so makes for a key investment.
Keeping the right levels of stock is very important to meet customer demand yet not prove a drain on resources if too much is kept at any one time.
Some time-pressed businesses with only a few staff may feel there’s no opportunity to take time out for training, but it’s a very worthwhile investment.
In a fast moving environment skills can soon need updating and it benefits people to take a more holistic view of their business or trade amidst the day to day need to ‘get the job done’. Training can be taken in various ways, not just with time consuming and expensive residential courses, so even those heavily committed on a daily basis can find a training method that suits.
For example, training staff in cyber security is worthwhile for many who use company IT equipment. An investment in training people to become more security savvy could save considerable sums in reduced disruption through a security breach caused by human error.
Having a strong and identifiable brand isn’t just the preserve of the heavyweights such as Apple, Google and Microsoft.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from branding, but it can be a drain if money is spent unwisely. Plenty of resources exist to learn about effective branding so it isn’t always necessary to spend huge sums with a brand consultant, but it’s important to understand branding isn’t just about logos and color schemes.
Branding is very much about the impression a business creates and the experience customers have when dealing with it; in many ways it refers to other aspects such as training – if staff treat customers in a certain way it can engender positive feelings about the business and brand.
Having a coherent design of materials such as letterheads, logos and an online presence matter so investing here and getting it right will last years.
Tech and systems
There’s no doubt business is being revolutionized by advances in tech – and much of it is within reach of the smaller business.
Indeed, smaller businesses can compete with larger players in certain ways thanks to facilities such as the cloud enabling most concerns to use tech such as Big Data to build detailed and accurate profiles of their market and customers.
Asking what particular tech can help move the business forward and investigating the costs and long term benefits is key.
Many businesses do have a website but a surprising amount still don’t – or they do but are missing out on ways to reach more customers and market themselves.
A good web presence, and maybe a way to make sales from it if appropriate, can give even a small business a global reach. Creating an effective web presence needn’t cost the earth, and investing once in a good looking professional website can pay off several times over.
Judging the investment
There’s much competing for a business’s money and it’s easy to spend in areas that won’t help develop it or increase sales, so careful decision making and trying to keep emotions out of it will pay off.