Good morning, Babes! First, let me share that this week is special because it marks one year of celebrating women entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay & beyond! *happy dance* I’m thrilled to be doing what I love: sharing stories & hosting meaningful events. Thank you to each & every Boss Babe who has joined in on this journey. There’s so much more magic we can create together. <3
Second, let’s get down to business. Investment is growth! But as a small business owner, your resources are very important to you (especially during the first few years), so it can be hard to know when it's time to make your move & invest in crucial new equipment, education, branding, etc. We’re here to say we completely understand— and by ‘we’, I mean myself & the 13 amazing women who have shared insight into how they approach investing in their business. Many of our contributing Boss Babes have also included some details on a recent investment they’ve made in their unique business. Enjoy reading their stories & applying their tips to your own business. We can’t wait to hear about how you choose to grow your biz. Stay boss. xx
"There are so many bright, shiny things you could invest in as a business owner from photography to coaching to branding to courses. That's why it's so important to make sure the investment is a good fit before investing. I like to ask myself: does this investment line up with my goals and the results I want to drive in my business right now? If I can respond 'yes', then the investment is generally a good use of my money. If not, there's a good chance I'm investing because I think I should do something or because I have a fear of missing out on an opportunity that, in all honesty, will very likely come my way again.
"I would hire a Virtual Assistant or similar to delegate tasks you aren’t good at or don’t like first. A business coach second, to help up level your business. And last, I would start looking at upgrading your systems as you grow; like a better website, automation tools, etc. It's important to focus on the things that have the highest return on investment first. The fancy things can come later!”
“I've invested more in my business this year than I have in the entire 4 years I've been in business! For me, what I very carefully choose to invest in boils down to two things: 1) My long-term vision for my business and 2) Tools and resources to helping me get there. I hired a part-time virtual assistant because I felt overwhelmed, but I also know I needed to free up time in order to do more strategy work and self-marketing. I hired a professional photographer and graphic designer for my new branding elements, because I know I want to present a specific image to attract my specific target audience. I've also invested in courses this year, for the first time ever to grow both my business and copywriting skills.
It's definitely scary, but it has paid off 100%, not just in terms of ROI, but also just my own personal feelings around self-empowerment and investing in ME.”
“Actually start paying yourself for major tasks in your business. For example, social media management-- track how much time you are spending doing it and give yourself a paycheck for doing your own social media management. From there, this will help you begin budgeting and actualizing how much these tasks would cost you and it makes it a bit easier to start outsourcing.”
"Budgeting and investing in your business can absolutely be tricky, especially when you rely on that income to make a living. I recently started adding a portion of my payments into savings so when I DO need to invest in my business I have the freedom to do so. I have been in business over two years now and it finally feels like I am figuring out pricing and budgeting for my business. But, don't get me wrong, I still struggle to find the balance. I recently invested in rebranding my logo to represent the current vibe and direction of my business. When I first started The Dashing Ginger, I was heavily invested in weddings and events after being part of the industry for 7 years. I have since transitioned my business to focus on ALL small business creatives and my passion for product, branding, and headshot photography as well as social media and web presence. Making the investment to transform my logo into something fresh and neutral was much needed and I love that it's attracting my ideal client. Something I'm holding off on would be website design. As a creative, I have found it easy to make updates on my own, but I would love (one day) to have a professional make me a badass website!"
“Over the years, I’ve tried to live on a budget and wisely invest in my business. Everywhere you look there seems to be a fresh course offering something you feel that you should act on or purchase to grow your business skills. We’ve all been there, right? This year, I decided to invest in a $500 e-course. While that isn’t a huge investment, I’m aggressively saving for a down payment for a home as well. I’m living in a season where every penny counts. How did I know it was time for the investment? It was simple. Existing clients asked about adding this to their monthly retainers. I knew within two months time, I could recoup the investment and it would grow my skillset as well. It was a smart and wise investment.
For the balancing act of building a business and living on a budget, I can’t recommend the book 'Profit First' enough. Go on ahead and add it to your summer reading list!”
“I take a certain fixed percentage from all client/business invoiced income and place into my business account. I then use my business account for monthly expenses like GoToMeeting, Adobe, general overhead, etc. and have a budget to know the ball park figure of expenses. If I know I have a bigger “something” coming up business-wise, I up the percentage a bit for a few months. If I know my account is well-funded and there's not much going on, I scale back the percentage for a few months. When deciding on the “bigger things”, I try to look ahead financially not only business-wise but personal finance-wise to decide if I can afford it. If I can afford it, I ask how it'll work in my business. Is it a write off with no ROI at all, is it for PR purposes, or will it bring me exposure and business? I know it may be different since I’m not a brick and mortar and am service-based, but this system works.”
“Budgeting vs. Investing is tricky-- especially in our social media driven world where we are exposed to so many different ideas and opportunities for our business! As a digital company, our primary opportunity to invest comes in the form of software, memberships, and expanding our growing team. I believe that what we plan for and track, we have control over. I know how much each small/large investment impacts our bottom line and that definitely helps with decision making. Another important factor is immediacy and asking myself:
- Will I use this for a client NOW?
- What benefit is there in having it today vs. 1 month from now?
- Will this new investment require a lot of additional time investment on my end to manage/upkeep/learn/train someone on and do I have that time to offer?”
“Investing in our business is always a priority for us because we are in growth mode. I feel investing is essential to this growth and the success of our business. We make it a priority and part of our sales projections to generate net income that we can in turn reinvest in the business. It's a calculated decision based on the goals we've set for the year. We have so many projects in mind that sometimes it's hard to decide which is the first priority. After looking at financials, short term is investing in new packaging materials for our coffee line. This decision was based on the low cost of investment vs. how quickly we can get a return on investment. Other decisions are more long term and require patience and time to build the capital.
Before making an investment, I ask if this new/flashy/exciting thing really that much better than the existing systems that I'm using, or am I drawn to it just because it's new and how it's being advertised to me? At the end of the day it's important to remember that no one is looking out for your business except for you! Accountability and "sleeping on it" can help a lot with investments and overall decision making for your company.”
“I use a fixed percentage of my sales to help me budget for investments. For my business, my biggest investment is inventory and making sure I keep it fresh. At each season's buying trip, where I purchase the bulk of what I a carry for the upcoming 2 seasons, I make a plan on how many of each in my collection bucket I purchase. Because I am online and storage for my inventory is limited, it's very important to know what I need to buy right away and what can be fillers later on. Regardless, I still keep a budget on what I'm going to spend for the upcoming 2 seasons. I find it important to have a budget as it keeps me from having so much inventory that I can't move in a timely manner to prepare me for the next buying season. Aside from my monthly expenses, I also allocate a budget for personal & professional development. About 6 months after opening my boutique, I realized that I spend money on buying inventory, paying my expenses, marketing and some functions that help me run my business, but why am I hesitant to allocate a budget to invest in myself for personal and professional development? It's an important function of running my business. We think about ROI in terms of money most of the time. For me, I also see ROI as keeping me sane and educated as I run my business technically as a 'Solopreneur'. As my business matures and grows, I'm constantly evaluating on what I need to continue investing in, what needs to be dropped, and how do I budget so that I can see my ROI and hopefully help me scale in the long run.”
“My biggest advice? ROI. What will ultimately bring you the best return on your investment? For example, I was at a point where I was spending a lot of money on Facebook ads. Not really knowing what I was doing, I foolishly was looking to expand or boost the ad, but then I wouldn't receive any purchases that justified the spending…it took me a couple of months to watch and study what was happening.
Then I decided that instead of throwing money at things that weren’t working, take that budget and allocate it towards hiring professionals that do! Sometimes, we need to spend money on hiring professionals that can see things we cannot. Especially as a small business, our budgets are limited and therefore, we should truly be more cohesive on where we allocate it. I guess in short, I'm advising that we simply cannot do everything all the time. Put your efforts into what you're good at and spend the money on help for the things that aren't your strength or take too much of your time.”
“What would help you make more money and feel good about building your biz? For me I spend the most on personal development & coaching and networking events because those are what help me grow, make connections, & get clients. So I'd consider how you best connect with people & how you'd like to make money, then invest in what supports that. Don't spend money on stuff just because others are, or tell you to. You have to spend money to make money, but you don't have to spend all your money. Lol.”
"Within the past year, I've invested heavily in participating in educational opportunities including travel industry tradeshows as well as travel experiences that allow me to familiarize myself with destinations and suppliers that I already sell or that I want to sell in the future. Reading about different travel products online or hearing about them in webinars is completely different than having those experiences in person. After acquainting myself with different destinations and suppliers, I'm better able to match my clients to the travel experience that's right for them which results in happier clients. The tricky part is figuring out which opportunities are worth the investment of my time and money. Before I commit to a conference or familiarization trip, I ask myself if this particular destination or experience fits with my target clientele and if it will benefit my clients in any way. If the answer is "yes", then it is a worthy investment for me to make."