Being your own boss has its perks. Flexibility, making important business decisions, even getting to work from home in your pajamas.
But being your own boss also comes at a cost. Literally. Business expenses can add up and managing a business’ cash flow can be challenging. Your hard earned dollar may not stretch as far as it did maybe 10, 15 years ago (remember when penny candy was actually a penny?).
That being said, a small amount of money can still have a big impact on the success of your business. Promise.
The key is to be smart with your money – focus on spending smarter, not harder.
As a Business Banking Specialist, I love to help businesses succeed. Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of business owners on Vancouver Island grow and develop their businesses. Here are a few suggestions for smart-but-small business investments that can grow $200 into much, much more.
Social media marketing
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a huge opportunity for small business owners to showcase their business, culture, and products.
With over 1 billion people using Facebook on a daily basis, you have the opportunity to market to brand new audiences, make connections with your customers, and check out what your competitors are up to.
According to inbound marketing experts at HubSpot, paid Facebook ads will drive more leads for your business in 2017 than any other paid channel. It’s an opportunity that if you take advantage of now, will pay off for years. Take that $200 and create a compelling ad to promote your business to a target Facebook audience of your choice.
If you’re a social media newbie, here’s a good starter guide on how to build & grow your business’ Facebook presence. With the internet, the world really is your oyster.
There’s something to be said about a good business card – people still like giving and receiving them. They’re also your first foot in the door for new opportunities. While this information might be obvious to some, this small-but-mighty piece of cardstock should never be underestimated.
Giving your bog standard card a little ‘oomph’ doesn’t hurt either. Pay a little bit more for a thicker card, add sheen, or give it some substance. You can even pick something recycled, if you’re an environmentally friendly business.
If you want to stand out from the pack, create your own design or pick a template that matches your business objectives from an online card printing service. There are plenty of budget-friendly options, just do a bit of research.
Having a professional, established online presence is key in 2017. According to Canada Post, the number of Canadian e-commerce spenders has grown 15% each year. That means if 80% of the Canadian population made at least one online purchase last year, that number is only going to climb.
Today, anybody, even great aunt Sue, can purchase their own personal domain name and host their own email accounts, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It also adds credibility, gives the customer product/service information, and gives you the ability to sell your products or services online.
Oh, and having your own domain name is really cool, too.
Give thanks to your customers
$200 can go a long way in customer appreciation. Whether you’ve been in business a long time or just started, make sure they know that they’re appreciated.
Research shows that acquiring new customers is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining old ones, depending on the industry. That means treat the customers you have well.
Doing this could be as small as an extra sample of something new, a hand-written thank you note or a promo code to get an exclusive discount on a product.
Learn to love to learn
Who said learning stopped at graduation?
I’ve seen business owners blossom after investing a little in personal development. Education goes a long way for building your skillset and staying current in your industry. Whether it’s a financial literacy seminar or an entrepreneurship workshop, there’s always something you can do to sharpen your saw.
Education doesn’t mean going back to school. You can take your $200 and sign up for a networking event, industry-specific conference or online course.
Does the thought of starting your own business get you sweating? We can help with that.
Our team of Business Banking Specialists can help identify the tools, resources and products that are right for your business. They’ll even come to you if you can’t come to us.