How do you look at things you purchase to help you grow your business? Are they a cost or an investment? I would say we always need to be investing in ourselves and our business but we do have to question some of the things we purchase for ourselves or our business as to whether they are a worthy “spend” or are they there just to impress others. 

I have invested in my business education for close to 40 years – since I was 23, I have read personal development books for all this time. Now if you purchase a book like this and never read it, then its a cost. If you read it, learn from it and put into practice the information within that book, then it’s an investment. Never use the excuse that you don’t have time to read.

How do you look at your business expenses. Are they a cost or an investment? Now over the last 15 months since we were put under restrictions, most of us have adapted and evolved. We have found different ways to operate our businesses, so much so that what was once perceived as an investment is now a cost. I am sure we all love face to face meetings but there is no doubt that working in the online world with apps like Zoom or Teams has really made us think about how and where we spend money now. I am sure face to face meetings will still happen but maybe not as often as before. There is no doubt that online meetings are both cost and time effective. Maybe a mix of the two going forward will be the change most of us make.

What about outsourcing for trusted suppliers who can add value to our businesses. Do we look at these as a cost or an investment? My guess is from the conversations I have had that most business owners look upon them as a cost. They will say, “I can’t afford this service or that service, it’s cheaper if I do it myself”. Now I do understand this thinking but let’s take outsourcing to a bookkeeper for instance. It may cost you somewhere between £20 and £30 per hour. but I guarantee a good bookkeeper will take 2 hours to do a job that takes you 8 hours to do. I know loads of small business owners who spend a full day a week or month on their bookkeeping. If their time is worth £50 an hour, that’s £400 they have spent in lost time – and that is not an investment – away from their business to do their accounts. If a bookkeeper charges £30 an hour and can do that job in 2 hours, that has been a £60 investment in your business and has freed up £400 of your chargeable hours. We all need to understand that in order to build a better business we need to concentrate on what we are good at, what makes us our money – and outsource everything else. 

Make sure you have a mentor or a coach on your team who can keep you on the right track. Make sure you have good secure IT support to make sure your computers don’t crash and you lose all your data. Make sure you never employ anyone without the help of a professional HR consultant. Make sure you don’t spend hours doing your social media. Get experts for all these services and concentrate on what you are good at. 

We have all experienced the toughest time most of us will ever go through in our lives and as we come out the other side, if we are still doing what we were doing 15 months ago, the chances are that we are on borrowed time and our businesses may not succeed. 

Let me finish by letting you know some things that I think are costs and not investments – buying a bigger, more expensive car to impress your customers or your neighbours. Far better to make sure you put this money aside for a rainy day – as our parents would have told us. Spending money on unnecessary high tech equipment because you think you need it and for it to just sit there gathering dust. Waiting for the shit to hit the fan before you do something about stuff – this will cost you a lot more money than if you had hired professionals to help you build a better business in the first instance. 

Just please make sure before you outsource that you and working with someone you can trust. What you don’t want is an amateur or an idiot wrapped in tin foil. We are all looking for our Knight in shining armour, so please take care.

I wish you all continued success for the future and if you need any help from me personally or any of my trusted contacts, please let me know. We don’t know what we don’t know and we don’t know who we don’t know

This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 01/06/2021