GUEST POST BY HOLLY MEYER
Every business owner knows "you have to spend money to make money." However, there are seasons where you either have a limited budget to spend or no finances to spare at all. I've hardly ever been shy about spending money on my business, but there comes a point when the habit of spending can impair your profitability.
When I look back over my monthly business expense through the years and compare against my return on investment (or lack thereof), it's become clear to me that some investments have been worthwhile and others not so much. The question I hear many times over from fellow bosses is...
"How do I know what the smartest investments is for my business?"
To ensure your money is being spend in the best way possible, make sure to ask yourself these questions every time you get ready to drop some dough on any sort of business investment:
1 / Will it help you do your job better?
There is a difference between spending hundreds of dollars on Instagram props at Target and spending the same amount of money on a single business coaching call. A gorgeous social media feed will make you feel proud for a short while, but the long-term confidence you'll receive after jumping over your biggest mindset block is unmatched.
2 / Will it save time?
There are some investments that are actually shortcuts and others that require time and effort to see results. If you're self-motivated, investing in a do-it-yourself course can be beneficial for you. On the other hand, if that online course is going to sit around untouched, you may get more use out of your funds by investing in professional done-for-you services.
3 / Will you see a return on investment?
When you think of the phrase "return on investment," your mind likely gravitates toward the financial results you'll receive, though money isn't necessarily the only return you could potentially experience. For example, your dream investment may be to attend a creative conference that will allow you to sharpen your skills and increase your knowledge. An unexpected return on investment could look like meeting your new business bestie, accountability partner or a collaboration opportunity.
4 / Is this a limited time offer?
Another factor to consider is the urgency of this investment. Whether the product or service is available year-round or seasonally will greatly impact your purchasing decision. The longer you wait, the more likely the price will increase over time. Lingering could end up hurting your bank account in the future.
5 / Is there an alternate method?
If you answered "yes" to all of the above questions, then research to see if there is an alternate method that doesn't require as large of an investment but will yield a decent result. For example, bootstrapping your own brand design will not give you the same end result as working with a professional designer, but it could get you by until you're financially able to up-level your business.
Once you determine if an investment is worth making, begin saving your money. Take on additional clients, host a flash sale, or you can even go so far as selling unused office furniture and supplies. If you're investing in a service, chances are the provider offers payments plans. If not, it doesn't hurt to ask.
Remember, the real risk is doing nothing.
What has been your best business investment to date? If money were no object, what would you invest in your business next?
Holly Meyer is the owner + creative director of Holly Meyer Design, a boutique studio specializing in unleashing the inner roar of wholehearted solopreneurs and small creative businesses through intentional branding, web design, and design education. Holly is passionate about collaborating with creative entrepreneurs to inject new life into their brand with the perfect visual design that tells their unique story + deeply connects with their dreamiest tribe. She lives in eastern North Carolina with her lively cat squad.