The first 12 months of any business is typically the most crucial and the most arduous phase. There’s still weak traction, the business model remains untested, capital and capital sources are still limited, and the list of challenges continue. Despite the differences in business size, model, mission, and industry, every small business has to have these five investments in their first year of doing business. Make sure they are a part of your spending plan as you get started.
A Helping Hand
If you are self-employed, which is what most small business owners identify themselves as, you simply cannot operate to your fullest if you have laundry or dishes to clean. Hiring household help frees up your time and allows you to focus on more pressing business matters. Even if you operate in a remote headquarters, the heap of domestic chores that pile up and greet you at home is simply a deterrent that keeps you from being mentally focused on your small business. Eliminate the need to expend focus and effort on these menial tasks by hiring a housekeeper or nanny for the children. This particular investment is often neglected or goes unconsidered until long work days and nights and deadline-intensive schedules catch up to you.
Well not necessarily a math genius, but someone who is good at filing taxes and keeping your books well-organized and error-free. Filing tax forms seem like an easy task suited for the average do-it-yourselfer, but when it comes to delicate documents, such as your annual tax report, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Hiring an accountant enables you to avoid the repercussions of a faulty tax report filing but also frees your time to focus on the business’ core elements including the products, services, and customers.
It’s no secret that good branding increases the value of a small business. Among other things, branding also helps you acquire new customers more effortlessly and provides your workforce with a sense of direction and motivation. Your budget for branding will be prorated to your research team, who will be working in the backdrop to identify the best target audiences and marketing tactics to employ, and the marketing team, which will be at the frontline of your small business to educate customers and spread the brand’s offerings through word of mouth. Other branding-related investments you’ll have to make in your first year include an office environment and a customer service team.
A solid IT infrastructure minimizes crashes on your desktop computers, servers, and networks through proactive monitoring and management. A small business that stores and uses digital information should also be investing in backup servers, workstations, and robust antivirus, anti-spam, and other malware protection software. Down to the very basics of what a small business should be investing in, technology-wise, is a stable internet connection. This ensures you and your employees are connected round-the-clock during work hours, which means your customers get a satisfactory service for any troubleshooting help or queries. A good internet provider, such as Frontier, is definitely a worthwhile investment for any small business, even those who are not tech-driven.
While it’s an obviously smart investment to direct some of your capital to PR and marketing, some business owners make the critical mistake of not spending enough on their customers. They’d rather spend a grand amount of money to hang out at prestigious conferences with other fellow business owners and competitors, which while also a fruitful investment should not take precedence over customers. During your first year, spend money on calling customers by phone, emailing them, sending out beautifully-crafted promotional packages, and even going out to meet them face to face.
These five investments should not only encompass the first year of your small business venture. A savvy business owner knows that these are also core business elements that need constant attention and regular updating.