The return on investment by investing in your business – and therefore yourself – offers higher rewards and lower risks than trying to beat the stock market or going all in on the latest pyramid scheme. That’s not to say that if you pile all your savings into a half-baked idea it will come out successful, but if invested wisely, it’s not a game of chance. Sure it can be expensive, but there are the tax benefits of owning a business. The list of tax write-offs covers most necessary expenditures, such as advertising & promotion expenses (including consultants!), legal & professional fees, new equipment, travel expenses, and business entertaining. So go ahead, ask for some help or meet your first client.
The key to investing in your business is not just about the financial aspect, but mental, by choosing something you are passionate about. You love animals – why not a pet photography business? You’re great with design – how about a home decorator, a landscaper, or an artist? Find your specialty and stick to it. If that means additional education (and $), you’re investing in yourself. When you’re in the beginning stages of starting your business, you might not necessarily have the money to throw into it, but it can grow exponentially if spent in the right away.
And sometimes, all you need is hours in a day. Some of the most effective and efficient marketing tactics for small businesses are free, and perhaps time consuming. Think social media. Investing in yourself means always seeking to gain, whether it be wealth, independence, success, or knowledge. If you want others to invest in you or in your business, you have to take the first step. Create those killer business cards that get passed around. Develop a simple website that defines your business. Implement a marketing campaign to encourage satisfied customers to refer a friend.
What differentiates your business from others of its type? Are you a “green” business? Do you offer a double-money back guarantee? If something doesn’t readily come to mind, that should really be your first step. Unless you have an innovative product or service which didn’t exist prior to you, unfortunately you’re going to face a lot of competition. So what makes you unique?
At the end of the day – at its worst, it’s a learning experience. At its best, a thriving business with CEO: You.
As written for YoungEntrepreneur, August 3, 2010