In my experience it’s not so much a case of where to invest your money but where not to.
The first tip on my list: do you need an office? Operate from your kitchen table and avoid incurring a money-pit of unnecessary overheads. As prestigious as an office space might seem, your image is second to making money. The same goes for the ego driven extras like fancy letterheads and business cards; they’re just not necessary straight away.
Second is investing in big salaries. If you need a core skill, take the time to learn it yourself. Employees are a luxury you can’t afford. The Internet is a fantastic resource and what’s more, it costs nothing. You can acquire a key skill for free and save big bucks.
Take SEO as an example. You can find out how to be on the first page of Google, through Google. The same is true for most disciplines. As far as humanly possible, if you need to get something doe, work out a way to do it yourself.
The silver lining is that you’re no doubt obsessed with making your business work. It’s your baby and your desire to succeed will propel your learning.
Thirdly, don’t get lonely! Join free clubs and forums and make networking your new social life. Like-minded entrepreneurs will be just as keen to swap ideas and work through challenges with you. Talk to the right people and you’ll be sharing top tips in no time.
Fourthly, get access to the most acclaimed business minds through audiotapes! It means you can get insight from the greatest minds, for next to nothing. I would definitely recommend the autobiographies of Michael Gurber, Dan Kennedy and Tony Robbins, plus The Dip and Eat That Frog.
In terms of where you should invest, we recommend the two following must-dos.
Invest any available money you have in making money. For us, it was selling products. Once we nailed it we reinvested that profit into doing the same again – just on a bigger scale.
Don’t scrimp on a website. This is critical to your success, Google ranking and in driving sales. Spend money on making it the best it can be when you launch and never let the standards slip.
The exciting thing is that you’ll soon get to the stage where you outgrow your start-up status. You can then shed this advice and follow a different set of rules. Namely:
Now you’ve got some money behind you, outsource the skills that don’t come naturally to you. Focus on what you’re good at rather than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. If nothing else, it will come as a relief to your business partner as you mess up yet another spreadsheet! But never outsource your marketing department. Marketing is critical to growth and should be in-house so that it can influence and drive development.
Invest in whatever you need to make your business more efficient and profitable. It could be staff or it could be products.
When it comes to employees not everyone will share your passionate drive to make your business a success, including teaching themselves new skills. So, ignore what I said earlier and enroll them in a course if you need them to get up to speed with a particular skill.
Sean Blanks is the marketing director of cartridgesave.
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