June is here in Australia which means two BIG things: winter has started and the financial year is about to end. Sounds like a barrel of laughs right! With tax time looming ever closer on the horizon, it seems like the perfect time to talk MONEY! Money is a strange taboo topic, even amongst business owners, which is bizarre given that ultimately we are all in business to make money. Even if you LOVE your job (which I do!) if money wasn’t an object, we would all be drinking pina coladas on my secret island in the Caribbean right now. However, we’re not there just yet… So it’s time to look money square in the eyes and start addressing some really important financial topics in your business. Today’s topic: the top 5 areas of your business to invest in!
This topic is a great one to have at the forefront of your mind for the new financial year, when allocating budgets and reinvestments is at the top of your to do list. It is also a fantastic one to be looking into if you are at the very beginning of your business journey, and need some help deciphering what you should be spending money on to help your business grow in those crucial early stages.
I want you to take the term “invest” with a pinch of salt in this post, as I’m sure that all SBO’s who are reading this are in totally different places along their business paths to one another. If the cash isn’t there yet to reinvest into your business, then focus on some of my free shortcut ideas and think about how you can invest your TIME and EFFORTS instead. Then set yourself some targets across the next year and tackle the areas to invest in one by one, in a priority order that is most relevant to the needs of you and your business.
The other thing I want to touch on before we get started is that everybody’s skill set is different. Some of you could be absolute legends at photography, which means that photography might not be something you necessarily need to invest money into just yet – so instead you could polish up on your skills yourself, and invest your time and efforts here rather than your dollars. Comprende…? Let’s get started!
1. AN ONLINE SPACE
An online space is SO essential for an online business! (Duh!) People need to be able to find you, learn about your goods or services, purchase your offerings and contact you. To make your business look as professional, credible and trustworthy as possible, you’ll want to have a custom domain name, a beautifully designed site and a platform that is fully functional and easy to navigate. Don’t cut corners here as your website is often your first chance to make a good impression with potential clients and customers. If you’re spending hours on your marketing to bring people to your site, you certainly don’t want to lose them at the final hurdle.
If you are 100% confident that you have the time and skills to tackle this yourself, then sign up to a user friendly website building platform such as Shopify or WordPress – and make sure you purchase the business packages. (You are a business after all!) Remember though that time is money. If this is going to take you weeks to master and not result in a perfect or professional looking finish, you are definitely better off investing in someone else doing it for you.
If you have absolutely no budget, a good temporary option is to use your social media account as your online space with as much information about your business as possible in your bio and posts. You can then create a free landing page with Mailchimp to capture potential customer’s details by adding it to the link in your bio.
2. LOGO AND BRANDING
Having an awesome logo and consistent, clean and beautiful branding is essential if you want people to take your business seriously. Prioritising your logo and branding is really important for two reasons:
Firstly – it is great for your customers and clients. You look more professional and legitimate, you’re easily identifiable and you’ll attract a higher paying clientele.
Secondly – it is great for you! Consider your branding as a strict guideline for yourself: your colours, fonts and mood are all set. No more wasting time deciding what typography to use on your business cards or which colours to incorporate into your website – these decisions have already been made which will massively help you with your consistency!
I cannot stress how important it is to have high quality photos across your website, branding and marketing if you want people to take your business seriously – especially if you are a product based business and want to actually sell your products! Invest in a professional photographer to shoot your collections so that potential customers can get a beautiful and accurate visual representation of what they will be buying. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?!
If you want to do this on a budget, I suggest reaching out to other businesses with similar target markets to you (but different products) and collaborating together in a joint photoshoot and splitting the cost of the photographer. E.g. if you sell children’s shoes, then get in touch with someone that sells children’s socks or clothes. The great thing about this idea is that you will then have all of your products featured in your new business bestie’s website and marketing channels, so will benefit from a larger audience and vice versa.
Professional photography is also important if you are a freelancer or service based business. People want to see your face! It helps them to get to know you and trust you. Nicola Lemmon did all my headshots for this website and they made the world of difference!
4. OUTSOURCING THE TIME ZAPPERS
My definition of a time zapper is an activity you carry out in your business that consumes a HUGE amount of your time because you are determined to do it yourself even though it doesn’t fall within your skill set. Sound familiar? Letting go of these things that you ‘can’ do can be difficult when money is tight. But why spend HOURS doing something you don’t enjoy, when someone else could do it for you in the blink of an eye? It will free you up to spend more time doing the things that you love that ACTUALLY bring in revenue!!
Time zappers look different for everyone. No good with numbers? Outsource an accountant or invest in some accounting based software like Xero. No good with legalities or copyright issues? Outsource a lawyer. No good with social media? Outsource a marketing consultant. No good with designing flyers? Outsource a graphic designer. I could go on…
Last but by no means least is education! If you want your business to grow, then it’s important to encourage yourself to grow too. Enhance your skills and knowledge by investing in online courses, mentors and coaches.
A budget friendly option is to make the most of all the amazing free resources that are available on the internet, by subscribing to blog posts, podcasts and newsletters from industry experts that are relevant to you.