Invest in your business

Investing in You and Your Business

We've all heard the phrase, "you have to spend money to make money." But how do you know what to spend, and when?

Investing in your business is a smart move, but just like in the world of stocks and bonds, timing and the right choice is everything.

As a business strategist involved in marketing for many years, I've seen disastrous examples of business owners spending a fortune on various marketing materials, and others who have used up their last available credit or savings to join the "hot ticket" program with a high profile coach that they think will change their lives and businesses forever.

Here are some tips to choose wisely:

Have a business strategy in place - Whether your plan is a 20 page document or written on a coffee shop napkin is irrelevant. What's important is the big picture of your business. Where do you want to go this year? The next 90 days? Two years from now?

Create a personal and professional "development" plan for your business - You are going to need help in different areas based on where you want to go in your business. Identify the gaps – do you need help being a better salesperson? Do you need a coach to work through obstacles in your business? Do you have challenges with dealing with difficult clients or setting boundaries? Do you need assistance with marketing or administration? These are all very different, and important.

Invest at the right time - Don't spend randomly. Invest only in those services or programs that will help you get further in the area you need help with the most right now or in the next short while.

Be very clear about what you need before you go looking for it - All of your decisions should be based on your strategy and where you want to be. Make decisions that are in 100 per cent alignment with your goals. So if you know you're weak in one area, for example, how to price and package your services, and that is your immediate priority, then don't sign up just yet for that top notch speaking coach. All of the speaking and marketing in the world won't generate sales for you if you don't have the business foundation in place.

Be choose-y - Selecting the right firm or person to work with you is key. Besides their credentials, look for someone who is familiar with your business model and the nuances of your industry. There is nothing worse than hiring a high-priced service and then spending your time on education.

Perform your due diligence check - Before you sign the contract or whip out your credit card, check out the business. Is it credible? Does the provider have demonstrated expertise? Can they supply references beyond testimonials published on their web site? Are they well respected within their industry? Have they taken the time to speak with you and get to know you to be sure there is a good match on both sides? A reputable advisor will want to work with the right kind of client, and will want to be sure that they will be able to work successfully together, rather than simply make the sale. An advisor who turns you away and refers you to someone else views this as adding integrity rather than losing business.

Check your expectations - Before you commit, be sure you are very clear what your intentions and expectations are and that this service is the right match. Sometimes disappointment is the result of unrealistic expectations or simply a premature or mismatched investment.

And most of all? Remember that in the end, it's your business - Delegate, don't abdicate. Seek trusted advisors, but never give up your seat as the CEO of your business and your life.

Sherri Garrity  |
Sherri is a business strategist who's determined that no one should have to quit their business to return to a J.O.B. to earn good money! She helps entrepreneurs design business models that allow them to enjoy life and love what they do. She walked away from a successful marketing career and a raise to start her own virtual coaching and training business so she could work from the middle of nowhere with clients from anywhere.