Invest in Business Success: Make Your Money Work for You

Whether you have been in business for a while, or are just starting out, it is important to be aware of what is working well, and what is not working so well for you. Our last article covered being honest with yourself and thinking about issues that might need to be addressed to ensure the longevity and growth of your business. In this article we will look at what options you have available to address these issues and move from strength to strength. The adage ‘you’ve got to spend money to make money’ is true, however it doesn’t tell the whole story. Whilst many solutions will cost money, only some will make you money and help you invest in business success. Your job is to learn how to prioritise and decide exactly where to splash your cash to yield the highest return.

Invest in Business Success: Tools and Programs

There are many ways to reduce the amount of time you need to spend doing business tasks related to your business. And many of the following solutions address an issue that you may not have thought about until now. What happens if something happens to you? Whilst this is something we will address in a future article, it is important to flag now. Whatever decisions you make now will impact your business later on. You are an integral part of your business. But part of the reason to invest in your business success is to make sure it can carry on, or at least not be a burden if the worst happens.

Another thing to consider is what happens if there is an accident or fire. This could impact your equipment, including your computer and filing system. Many software solutions these days are cloud-based, and this will make a huge difference to the accessibility of information. Years ago it would have only been stored on your local hard drive. Now you can access it from almost anywhere in the world!

Email and Documents

There are various options for email and writing documents, many of which are cloud-based. The two most well-known companies providing this are Office365 and Google Workspace, however there are others. Try to find one that does more than one thing for you. When you settle on one, make sure you spend some time understanding everything it can do. Whilst most solutions are pretty reasonably priced, you are still spending your hard-earned money on them. Make them work for you.

Don’t forget, the solution you choose will present better value if it can grow with you without too much fuss. However don’t get too hung up on it. You can always change later on if it isn’t working out how you thought it would.

Document Signing

Aside from just selling ready made products, there are not many businesses that won’t need to have some sort of contract or agreement in place in order to offer their services. [Side note: seriously, you need a contract or service agreement. It will cover you and your client, it manages expectations, and it gives you something to refer to over and over again if issues arise. You can usually find templates online, some even written by lawyers. Though you’ll have to pay, it is ridiculously important and should be one of the first things you do in your business.] Contracts and agreements are only useful if they are signed, but that can be a hassle. There are many digital signing options available, some of the most well-known are PandaDoc, Docusign, and Adobe, but do some research as there are lots available.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM software will allow you to build a database of all your customers, either existing or potential. This is where you can add information about sales leads, interactions, and also practical information such as payment options and addresses. These can get quite expensive. If you only need something small or simple, you can make your own using a spreadsheet program. You’re limited to what search terms you use, so be smart about the fields created and information put in them. Many will offer a free trial, and some, like HubSpot, will be free. This is not our area of expertise; however a quick Google search will connect you with various options and reviews to help you choose wisely.

Other tools and considerations

There are so many different programs available both for general use and for more specific industries that it is impossible to list them all. Some will promise big and make you feel you need them, but make sure to think critically. Weigh up the cost vs the benefits that it will provide for you.

Something to consider when choosing tools and programs to use is their scalability for the future. A spreadsheet used as a CRM or accounting tool now will likely not translate to use when your business grows beyond a certain size, or when you decide to take on some extra help. This is not a huge deal as spreadsheet programs are cheap or free and easy to use. But if you are choosing something beyond that level, you want to make sure it will suit you and your budget now but will also grow with you without too much hassle or too much of a learning curve.

Invest in Business Success: Getting Extra Help

Realising you are one person and cannot possibly do everything can be both frustrating and liberating. On the one hand, you are the face of the business, you want to know what is going on at all times and have full control. Plus, you know if you do it you aren’t paying someone else to do it. On the other hand, knowing you can get some back up can free you up both physically and mentally. The key to making it work is being smart about the kind of help you need. This is not a one size fits all proposition. What will work best for your current situation is very likely to change over time as your business grows.


The obvious solution for many is to hire another person. Either a second ‘you’ who is able to provide the products and/or services you offer, or someone who can take care of administration and other business stuff. This will leave you free to focus on your offerings. Often in the beginning you will want to hire someone part time, or possibly even on a casual basis. This means you will have less financial risk, and greater flexibility to suit you.

Unfortunately, sometimes this means you will have to settle for someone who is willing to meet those terms. Rather than the person who is perhaps most qualified for the job. Or you will find someone, but they may move on if they don’t get enough work from you. When you find the right person and you can both work well together to meet your and their needs, you will find business much less overwhelming.

Hiring Help

For this discussion, we do not mean hiring help in the same way as hiring an employee. You can hire help in various ways, and with various levels of commitment. For example, you can hire a virtual assistant to take care of your administrative tasks and running the business. A virtual assistant has their own business. You will either pay them for hours worked or for specific projects, depending on what you both decide and the terms of their contract. You can even hire virtual assistants who are more specialised. For instance, you might need extra help with marketing, so you will pay someone to take care of that for you either as a once off or on a regular basis. You then might want someone else to create your website. Or do your bookkeeping or answer your phones… the list goes on.

Possible Pitfalls of Extra Help

Getting extra help can be a costly experience, however you need to weigh the cost of you doing everything yourself as well. Time is money, and that includes your time. Hiring one person is a good option, as you will have consistency. You’ll have someone who knows the business inside and out, treating the business as their own. The downside is they will not be an expert in every (or any) area.

Another barrier to hiring an employee might be terms of employment. These include paying superannuation, extra reporting requirements, and the possibility of sick and annual leave. Hiring a general virtual assistant can mitigate some of these downsides, however you will still have the issue of lack of expertise in some areas.

Hiring specialised people in different areas then sounds like a win-win. But something to consider there is perhaps a lack of consistency across the business. Plus, you will need to have some sort of orientation with each expert. They need to get to know you, your business, and what you want to achieve. This in itself is not a bad thing, but it will take time and effort.

Invest in Business Success: Invest in Yourself

So far, we’ve discussed outsourcing tasks to either tools and programs or people. One often overlooked way to improve your business is to improve yourself. This can seem daunting because you are already stretching your time and money so far. But taking a few courses to give you extra qualifications, or even just to help you address some of your weaknesses can make a huge difference in making your efforts more efficient.

It might not even be a skills-based course in the traditional sense… perhaps you’ve got ADHD or you struggle with anxiety. Learning how to manage issues and effectively cope with different scenarios can be quite liberating and will make running your business less stressful. If you’re less stressed, you’re doing better work, and probably finding more time and headspace to look after yourself better. Which will also make business and life less stressful. It becomes a cycle of good habits creating more good habits in all areas of your life.

Remember, YOU are the ultimate product that your clients are buying. Time and money spent improving yourself is never a waste!

Ultimately, there are many ways to spend money productively in your business (and many more that end up being counterproductive!). It is important to understand the real issues underlying some of the pain points in your business. You can then choose wisely and make the most of any money you spend. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, and you certainly don’t have to do everything right away. The key is to invest in business success in the ways you and your business need it, not the ways everyone else expects.

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