Continual investment in your business is key to your continued growth. Would you let your children stop school after only completing elementary school? Of course not! You would see them through college, pushing them to greater heights. Likewise, you cannot stop investing in your business when you think it’s taken off. You need to push relentlessly if you want to see your business grow.
Imagine you were a consumer who was in dire need of retail therapy. A plethora of retail boutiques await you; some of them are high end stores that house all your branded, well-known products while some are small businesses owned by relatively unknown people. Which of these stores will you enter first, considering that you’re not playing sides and favoring your fellow entrepreneurs?
The former is likely to be a chain of brightly lit, clean stores that are consummated with carefully adorned mannequins and exquisite visual merchandising. The retail giants have the ability to pour resources into setting up a lavish store front, attracting patrons into the shop. Small business owners,
however, did not have the benefit of funds, so they have to make do with a smaller store with dimly lit atmosphere.
Let’s consider the thriving cyber business. If you want to get more traffic to your website, you will need a website that has a flash introduction, colorful and vivid graphic designs, and riveting reviews in order to attract more users. Your website must also be able to load in a few seconds. A website that has the unfortunate red X in place of a picture is unappealing. You will lose visitors if your flash introduction loops and doesn’t seem to fully load. Your website is also a goner if your visitors can see the borders of tables.
1. Aesthetics. Once your business takes shape and profits start rolling in, spend some money on aesthetics. Human beings are superficial; we like pretty things. Aesthetics help to gain customers’ attention. First impressions lure in more customers to your store or website. Beyond the simplicities, you need to take a step back and review your business. Understand that investments are always long-term; it’s for the greater good. When you invest in something, you don’t always see results immediately. However, you will reap huge benefits of a well-placed investment in time to come.
2. Upgrades. Pour your money into business upgrades. This could mean getting a new machine or perhaps a bigger store. Many business owners make the mistake of not getting business upgrades because they cannot bear to part with their hard-earned money. The thought of putting their money into an upgrade that doesn’t give them the assurance of raking in profits deters them from making that decision.
3. Customer satisfaction. Who else but your customers? Your business lives to serve your customers, so what they say counts. If many of your customers demand a value-added service or a product feature that your business has yet to provide, you might want to look into that option. Never ignore the pleas of your customers because that’s where the money lies. How do you gather this input from your customers? Speak to them directly and ask questions. Leave survey forms or comment cards at the reception desk. Direct their attention to these research forms as they wait for the transaction to get through. It’s important to know what your customers like about your business, and what they would like to see introduced in the long run.
4. Invest in your employees. Your employees can also provide you with valuable feedback on how to improve your business. Do not for one second think that their feedback is unimportant or invalid, just because they don’t help pay your rent. They are the experts in the industry, so they can tell you what’s in and what’s hot in the industry right now. Ask for their recommendations if you need a new gadget for your business. They are also the middlemen between you and your customers on the days you choose to cavort in a foreign country. They work directly with the customers, so whatever information they have is vital. You will be at the losing end if they choose to withhold the information instead of being forthcoming with what they know. At the risk of objectifying them, employees are also the best form of investment. Invest in your employees, and by that I don’t mean for you to slide monetary allowances into their pockets (although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind). Train your employees well. Provide them with the opportunities to upgrade their skills. You can do the training yourself and groom them into your protégés, or you can get them to attend courses or workshops.
Many of you might deem this unnecessary and again, “a waste of money,” but remember, investment is long-term. It ensures your business ongoing success. Spending your profits on business development will allow you to deal with your customers more effectively. And this means more sales, and more profits!