Most new businesses fail within 2 years, and one of the most common reasons they fail is for lack of capital. They simply run out of money.
Too often, a struggling company can’t attract enough customers, and they can’t afford to advertise. They can’t hire and train great people, and without great people, they can’t provide superior service. It’s a vicious cycle that is far too common.
Fortunately, there is a way out that requires very few dollars. Here are my suggestions for the most critical investments every business MUST make to be financially successful:
1. Invest in Yourself! This means investing in professional skills, and in your personal development. Jim Rohn says, “Invest more in yourself than in your career”, and I think that’s good advice. This means reading! It means attending the best seminars, and talking with the best people. Invest in yourself because the most skilled, the most attractive and the most competent people are NEVER unemployed.
2. Invest in Technology. You can not maintain a professional practice without efficient tools! Streamline and automate everything! A few dollars and a few days of training to use the right tools will pay dividends for years to come.
3. Invest in Communication. Unless you can communicate efficiently with your customers, suppliers, colleagues and staff, all the skills in the world mean nothing. You have to explain. You have to answer questions. You have to calm their fears, solve their problems, and provide value they can understand. This means appropriate use of technology (see above), and it means learning to work well with people. Effective communication is essential.
4. Invest in Customer Care. A few customers well taken-care-of, will provide all the marketing you need! Single-vendor relationships are increasingly common, and a happy customer who comes back, and who recommends you to their friends, and asks for more and more of your services, will make you rich. Extreme customer care doesn’t cost; it pays!
If you have any money left over, advertise. If you want it and need it, buy a new building, hire more sales people, or up-date your equipment. But first, make the investments I’ve listed above. They cost less, and the Return on Investment is huge!
Thanks to Philip for this great article. You know I totally agree.