Do you want to invest in the future of your business? Maybe you are receiving a fat refund from the IRS this year, and want to know the smartest ways to put it to work for you? Well, look no further. Here are ten savvy investments that really deliver.
Get Technology Working for You ($150) – Take a computer class and hone your skills to be working like a well oiled machine. The average computer user utilizes less than 20% of the features offered by their software. What are you missing out on? Microsoft Word mail merges, QuickBooks account setup for maximum business management, Excel formulas for quick management of financial data… skills like these and more can make a big difference in the time required to manage your business. To get the training that you want you can go to http://www.quickbooks.com/ and click on the “Training” tab for QuickBooks, and / or go to www.microsoft.com/learning/homeandofficeuser/default.asp for Microsoft, or check with your local community college for a computer class that fits your needs.. Training options are on-line training, Cd-Rom training, or certified training providers that may be in your area.
Become The Best Manager That You Can Be ($150) – We can all use a brush up on our management skills. Why not take a day to get to know other business managers, and gain some well needed skills. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce on local management skill classes, or go to http://www.skillpath.com/ to find some great topics that come to an area near you.
Get some Professionals Involved ($150) – Have an attorney look over your client service agreement, your employee handbook or employment contract. Or, hire an accountant to review your bookkeeping, taxes and payroll setup. Or, hire a consultant to help solve a long standing problem in your business. Getting professionals involved can help bring piece of mind to your business, that frees you up to take the business to new levels.
Make a Name For Yourself On The Web ($89) – Register your company domain name and set up a professional web site. You don’t need to have all of the fancy bells and whistles, just a simple professional presence on the web, where prospects can look you up and decide to buy more service with you. It’s never been cheaper then now to do this. If you are not looking for a custom look you can go to http://www.register.com/ and register your business name as a domain name, and setup on of their custom templates instantly for only $89 a year. That’s fantastic! Domain names are snapped up fast, so if you haven’t registered yours yet, you’ll want to do that right away before someone takes yours.
Get a Marketing Message That Sells ($150) – I have heard many times “I have sent 3 mailings to a group of people and I have gotten no response. The advertising is not working.” Well, it may not be the advertising method, but instead the message that’s being delivered. Hiring a copywriter to refine your message might blow the thousand dollar budget (but is worth it if you can afford it), but you can refine your message “do-it-yourself” style and then hire a marketing pro to review and fine tune it for a fraction of the cost. Go to http://www.bly.com/ for Robert Bly’s Free outstanding advice on writing messages that deliver sales. If you have a few extra bucks, then spring $20 or so for one of his great books.
Pay Yourself First (FREE) – Are you throwing away money? If you don’t have a small business retirement plan set up then you might be. Let’s say that you decide to invest roughly $105 from your twice monthly paycheck ($300 a month pre-tax amount) in a small business retirement plan that yields you an average of 8% a year. After ten years you will have $52,000 + for retirement, when your paychecks were only shorted $25,000 over the same time period. That’s $27,000 of free money, courtesy of IRS tax relief and compound interest!!! Setting up a plan may be easier then you think. There are many options, ones that would require contributions for your staff, but many that likely would not. One resource is to go to http://www.schwab.com/ and get their free “Small Business Retirement Planning Kit”.
Gain A Mind For Business (FREE) – I don’t care how much you hated Algebra in school every business owner needs to have a solid understanding of financial management in order to be successful in business. Getting a better understanding of how to read financial reports, navigate tax requirements, and make prudent financial decisions doesn’t have to be hard. Just commit to doing it. The federal government has a great resource for small businesses through the Small Business Administration (SBA). If you go to http://www.sba.gov/ you can find a number of free or low cost seminars in your area and/or on-line including some financial courses. If you are lucky enough to have a local office near you, it’s a great resource that you don’t want to miss.
Give Your Self A Mental Health Day (FREE) – Take a day off during the business week to clear your mind of all of the clutter, and think clearly about the future of your company, your strategies, and new ideas. If possible, get out of your element for this mental health retreat by going for a hike, heading to the library or some where you can be disrupted with any daily fires to put out.
Motivate Your Staff ($150) – Plan a staff motivational party where you provide the staff with a budget and let them plan what they would like to do. If the rules are “no shop talk allowed”, then everyone should have an opportunity to bond as a team and have fun. Happy people work harder, and you’ll enjoy getting to know your staff more too.
Get Involved in Your Professional Community ($110) – Successful small businesses repeatedly report that they are active in a professional community, so join a professional organization and get involved. Attend seminars, volunteer for committees, and have a voice on critical issues. If you haven’t already, go to http://www.arcp.us/ to join the premiere trade group for your industry. If you are already a member and are looking for another to get involved in check into your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, minority organization, builder and contractor association or any other business related entity that interests you.
So, there’s our budget. Let’s recap:
Get Technology Working for You…..$ 150.00
Become The Best Manager That You Can Be…..$ 150.00
Get some Professionals Involved……$ 150.00
Make a Name For Yourself On The Web…..$ 89.00
Get a Marketing Message That Sells…..$ 150.00
Pay Yourself First…..FREE
Gain A Mind For Business…..FREE
Give Your Self A Mental Health Day…..FREE
Motivate Your Staff…..$ 150.00
Get Involved in Your Professional Community……$ 110.00
TOTAL: $ 949.00
Knowing that the future of your business is bright……..Priceless!
There you have it…Business results on a budget. Enjoy investing in your success.