When starting a small business, there are 4 areas in which every smart entrepreneur should place a good deal of investment.
Mike Ford, Co-founder and President of Strategic Consulting Services at Pro Back Office, discussesFour Smart Investments for Small Business Owners in his article on Forbes.com.
Ford states, “I believe these are the four areas that could help separate you from your competitors and set you up for long-term success. Let’s look at these four important investments further.”
At the core of almost every successful business venture are talented people on your team, including strong leadership. As a business owner, I believe your initial investment should be in hiring people and leaders who bring skills, experience and a winning attitude to your team. Ensure that these employees have the passion for your product or service and can support the vision and direction of the company. In my experience, entrepreneurs tend to be more timid and short-sighted in this area and don’t want to make that investment early on because of the expense.
Another investment I find important is spending time to develop and document your internal processes. This important investment will help your internal controls, should streamline your work and will identify who is responsible for what. When we start a business, we tend to “just get things done.” That is fine for the moment but, in my experience, is not a good long-term solution. I recommend investing time and money wisely to document important areas such as business development, payroll, accounting, onboarding, employee retention, firm policies (such as expenses, paid time off and grievances) and quality control for your service and products, to name a few.
Another smart investment for a business can be adding technology to the company’s processes in order to streamline and improve your operations. There is technology available for all areas of your business, including sales and marketing, accounting, payroll, inventory and human resources. There are platforms and solutions for all business sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Some suggested technology investments could include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for your client and pipeline management. There are many Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) that can provide automated onboarding, payroll, and performance evaluations, and can manage and protect confidential employee data.
The final investment I suggest is to develop and protect your corporate brand. As the owner of your firm, you need to ask yourself “how unique is my brand, and what differentiates me from my competitors?” Investing in an outside consulting firm that specializes in marketing and corporate branding can help build your unique recognition and brand. By conducting customer surveys, gathering consumer data and creating a strong social media presence, a business can evaluate and build its own brand.