As a small business owner, deciding where to invest your profit is no easy task. There are always a lot of things that need attention, and that profit can rarely stretch to cover everything, so you need to weigh every decision carefully. Many prefer to invest in infrastructure and real estate. These are undoubtedly important areas, and they allow you to calculate precisely where your money is, as well as the return for investment, or the depreciation.
However, intangibles are also important, and they may yield a considerable profit, if used correctly. Some business owners tend to ignore them, thinking they are just unnecessary frills and bells, which can wait until the company becomes extremely profitable. But the most successful small businesses start investing in intangibles at the earliest opportunity, using very small amounts to generate big profits.
Employee training is one of the most valuable intangible asset a small business can own. It may not seem like much, since the company probably has very few people on board, and the manager can brief them over a cup of coffee. But small businesses tend to outsource a lot, and, in time, you will probably need to deal with some freelancers – briefing each of them individually takes valuable time. In addition, many small businesses have problems with employee loyalty and retention rates. If you need to hire new people frequently, training can be a chore.
The best part is that you don’t have to invest a fortune in employee training. A few videos that you can do yourself, some slides, a couple of tests that can be quickly developed online, in order to evaluate the results of the training session – all these can be achieved with a couple of hundred dollars, or even less. On the long run, a good training program can save hundreds of hours of work, not to mention that the productivity of new employees will also increase quickly.
Marketing and advertising are of utmost importance for small businesses and start-ups. The budget tends to grow quickly, if you don’t pay attention to it, so it’s vital to determine from the very beginning where you want to focus, and what type of message you want to project to your potential customers.
There are many inexpensive advertising methods, such as building a website, a blog, a social media presence, using door-to-door fliers, distributing cheap promotional materials, and so on. Even if these do not require a massive initial investment, they tend to become more and more expensive as your company grows.
For example, if you create a few social media accounts, to inform people of new products and special offers, you only need a couple of hours of work, and you can do it yourself, without having to hire a marketing specialist. Once you have thousands of followers, and your pages receive hundreds of queries a day, you will need an employee to handle these accounts – and suddenly you have one more salary to pay each month. Therefore, a good marketing and advertising strategy should take into account the future growth of the company, as well as its current needs, to insure sustainable development.