Every new entrepreneurial venture has one thing in common. Cash flow is tight.
But in order for a new business to grow and be successful, investment in the business is necessary. The question then becomes, what areas in the business should entrepreneurs invest their resources?
There are many areas an entrepreneur may consider as an internal investment. The investment can be of time or money. But it should be a low-cost investment that will return a high dividend.
After growing a business for the last 15 years, I've determined four necessary areas where entrepreneurs should invest in their business. While each of these needs either money or time, they can all produce an excellent return on investment ratio.
Competent Advisors: Every business needs specific advisors who will provide advice, guidance and expertise. The areas of legal, financial, marketing or management will play an important part of any business. If your new business needs a CPA, this is not the time to hire your cousin because he took an accounting class in college. It is the time to hire only a trusted or recommended professional. Excellent advisors don’t come cheap. But these individuals will provide advice that could save or make your business a significant amount of money.
Content Marketing Team: Every business will benefit from content marketing, including social media, blog, etc. New entrepreneurs often believe they can manage social media marketing themselves. This is typically a poor decision, and results in posts that highlight nothing that successfully promotes the business. New businesses must have a coordinated and focused social media strategy managed by a professional. It needs to be consistent, and it must tie into a professionally developed website that is timely and engaging. Potential customers and clients will most likely decide to reach out based on your social media. Don’t lose customers before you’ve even had a chance to meet them because of poor, improper or irrelevant social media posts.
Attending network functions: Every time I attend an event where I meet like-minded professionals, I learn something new. Sometimes it’s a name. Possibly I hear about a new technology or a new business that has come to town. Maybe I learn about a competitor who is struggling to maintain a client I desire. Whatever it may be, by getting out and talking to other people, I create opportunities to grow my business. Many new entrepreneurs today only focus on networking through social media. Others are so engrossed with working on their business they stay locked up in their offices. Both are mistakes. New entrepreneurs need to circulate in person-to-person settings on a regular basis. Industry association functions, charitable events, organized networking events or even social gatherings are all excellent ways to get out into your community and build your network. While this is usually more of an investment of time than money, the payback will be substantial.
Hiring Interns: College interns are young and inexperienced. They have little to no knowledge of your business or any other business. But most are also intelligent, highly motivated, eager to learn and looking for work. From an investment perspective, an intern can be the one of the most productive employees on your payroll. Internship wages (yes, interns should get paid) are typically below the starting salary of a full-time hire, and there are no long-term commitments on either side. The business gets the opportunity to evaluate a potential employee, and the intern has the opportunity to evaluate a potential employer. In the long run, you may also discover your next future high-performing manager.
It is difficult for new entrepreneurs to know where to invest in their new business. Money is tight, and the urge is to save every dollar. While frugality is a good trait for any business owner, there are areas where spending resources is necessary to successfully grow the business. Hiring excellent advisors, creating a focused social media strategy, attending networking functions and hiring interns are four great investments entrepreneurs should consider.
Brian T. King is the founder and owner of multiple firms encompassing design, construction, real estate, and manufacturing, and currently president of the integrated Design-Build firm A M King. Brian shares his passion for mentoring young professionals, rising managers and entrepreneurs at speaking engagements around the country, on podcasts and via his blog.