When it comes your business, deciding to invest or not to invest in something is a big decision. Some people swear by it, some are more into saving up all the money that comes in. I personally love to invest.
Whether it is equipment or to acquire new information that will help take my business to the next level, it is all about investing in the right things. But what are the 5 things to spend money on in your business for 2020? (If you haven’t already!) I made a list of the 5 investments that I think are important and that really have benefited me and the business owners that I personally know.
YOUR CONCEPT & BRANDING
I might be biased but the first thing of the 5 things to spend your money on in your business is your concept & branding. I know not everyone thinks these two things are important but as brand designer & strategist this will help you a ton to move quickly with your business.
So what is the difference between the two? Your concept is more focused on your what — what you do — and how you are doing what you do. Your branding is all about the why — why you do what you do. This will help identifying who you want to reach, what your values are, what you stand for and your USP. It makes what you do more specific and through brand values, tone of voice and visual identity you communicate your branding.
Both are a profession in itself. If you don’t have the chops to define your concept, go for a coach or concept developer. If you don’t have the skills to design your visual identity, get in touch with a brand designer.
As a brand designer & strategist I help brands with the strategy as well as the designs. I already knew how important branding is but you can really see the difference when you put two brands next to each other in the same field or that focus on the same audience. The business that really embraces their branding and let it flow throughout every form of communicatie is more popular among the audience, has a stronger community and is always a couple steps ahead than its competitors. Something that I think every brand or business wants to achieve.
Shameless plug but if branding is the thing you want to invest in in 2020, get in touch! My business Fiona Gobbo Creative is focused on helping luxury brands with developing their brand. From starter to taking things to the next level to helping you translate your brand to campaigns or brand extensions — we can help you facilitate every step.
ADVERTISEMENT & MARKETING
You’ve defined your concept, build your brand and now it is time to let your audience know where to find you. You’re posting on social media, replying to people who are looking for what you offer and networking on- and offline — but you are not seeing the results you expected to see.
That’s where marketing and advertising come to the rescue.
Marketing =/= advertising btw. Advertising is part of marketing but it is not completely the same. Marketing is taking your branding and spreading it in a way so that your audience will know why they should choose you instead of your competitors and they will find you faster. It is about connecting your offer with your audience. Advertising is a way to build that awareness.
Marketing and advertising is a profession on its own just like concept development & branding. There are many ways to learn about marketing or you can hire someone to help you. Whatever you choose, you need to keep an eye on how much you’re spending and how much you’re earning — your ROI aka return on investment. You don’t want to overspend.
One of my least favorite things about running my own business is doing bookkeeping. And keeping up with it. It’s not that I don’t do it — I have two hours of admin every week to keep it bearable — it’s just that I don’t always have the right oversight on what is going on.
One of the 5 things to spend your money on in your business for me is a bookkeeping program. However, the real difference is having an accountant. Why? Because there are so many rules — at least over here — and when you F up, you will receive a rather large fine. Having someone that knows the rules, can help you avoid overpaying on taxes and keep an eye on your finances is a investment that will pay for itself.
NETWORKING OR A MASTERMIND GROUP (OR BOTH)
Especially if your friends and family aren’t self-employed or run their own business, it is vital to find your gang. I love to talk to like-minded self-employed people, share ideas and just be surrounded by people who get it. Not only is it great for moral, motivation and inspiration, it is also great for business. The biggest projects that I get come from my network.
Don’t just network online, go to networking meetings in real life. I have my NTWRKPLK meet-ups once a month — although I meet my peers while working there too — and go to events or workshops when I can.
Also, don’t just network to get ahead. The best people I’ve met that have helped me were the once I got from networking horizontally — people who are (almost) in the same position as I am. Networking isn’t just to get ahead by getting in touch with people in higher places — it does help! — it is also good to know people on your own level. It is all about making valuable, new connections.
My advice: when networking, write down what you want to get out of it but also keep in mind what you have to offer. Networking is a two way street — it is about connecting with someone. If you want to get an introduction to a certain business, you might want to get in touch with someone on the ground rather than the person who runs the business.
SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE
You never stop learning.
Especially when you work on your own, you are busy with everything in the company — sales, marketing, business development, finances, etc. After a while it can feel a little stagnant, like you aren’t progressing as a person or within your field. At least that is how I have felt.
That’s why I always believe in keeping up with your field of expertise, going to workshops or updating your skills. Especially in my field that changes so fast, it’s important to keep on moving and staying up to date.
It is also great to spot new opportunities. Maybe there is a new social media platform that is blowing up — Tik Tok for example — and your audience is jumping on it. It’s a great opportunity to keep up and build your audience. However, with everything you need to keep in mind if it is relevant for your business.
However, learning and acquiring knowledge is never wasted. With platforms as Skillshare a new skill can be learned quickly. So invest in workshops, (online) programs like Skillshare, watch YouTube videos, read books or invest in whatever will help you stay on top of your game. It is yet another investment that will pay itself back when you invest in the right tools.