Many of us who provide services, whether as freelancers or companies are lucky enough not to have large fixed costs. We don’t need machinery, nor do we need to rent large ships or buy stock, we don’t have dozens of payrolls to pay or huge loans to repay.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reinvest in your small business
There are 3 big areas where you cannot afford, however small, to allocate a part of your budget: training, tools and advertising.
It’s not worth any excuse, it will be a bigger or more austere investment, you can invest money or time (the latter only when you are starting and have no income) but you must invest.
Where to start?
If at the beginning of the year you prepared a budget for the whole year, it’s time to review it (and if you didn’t, it’s the ideal time to do it), today, it doesn’t matter if it’s March or October… don’t wait until the end of the year or semester because you won’t do it.
Of the total sales and turnover that you have as a goal for the next 12 months, you will have to assign a percentage to each of the items we have mentioned. The amount will depend on your current situation, and the weight of each of the areas you must establish according to your objectives.
More tips about business and investments in infowaralaba
We’ve already discussed this on occasion. Everyone, whether we are employed or self-employed, whether we are employees or managers, must be continuously trained.
But if we also manage our own company, not only do we have to worry about improving our technical knowledge of what we do, but it is also essential to learn how to be an entrepreneur: advertising, marketing and sales, time and resource management, productivity, customer service…
While you don’t grow enough to be able to hire someone specialized in each of the areas and you have to handle everything yourself, you need to learn how to do it best.
But watch out, that today there is so much online training, so many courses at our disposal (and people who know how to sell so well), that sometimes we go to the other extreme, and we sign up for all the available courses we find, and half of them are left halfway through due to lack of time and the ones we manage to finish we do not apply to our company because before doing so we are already starting another course.
Think well about what you want to train, decide on a budget limit and some areas that interest you, and get trained in that.
Don’t be blinded by offers or promotions that will not be repeated and if you don’t do it now you won’t be able to. Look for what really fits what you need to learn at that moment.
If you find it difficult to do it for a whole year, because there are courses that are prepared with less time or anticipation, do it every six months.
Half of the freelancers I work with have their billing in an excel or word, use an unofficial version of office that gives them errors and is hung up every few months and use a free Dropbox that they have to empty because it reaches its capacity limit.
It is true that for a long time some applications as common as the Microsoft Office suite or Adobe were prohibitive for small professionals.
But with the move to pay-per-subscription models, most of the tools and utilities we may need in our day-to-day lives have become totally affordable.
For $7 a month you can have full Office, for $2 a month Google Drive with 100GB of storage, online billing systems, CRM for customer management, Adobe Suite applications… practically all the “usual” tools that can save you precious time from your day to day are now available for totally affordable prices and for temporary subscriptions.
But if you have billing, for example, online in a specific application, you will also have immediate access to your statistics. Who are your best customers and what percentage of total billing do they represent? What products or services have sold the most in the last quarter? What have you billed in the last month compared to the previous month or the same month last year? And all this without having to assemble your excel sheets and review the calculations every two or three months.
A CRM will allow you to follow up on your customers and contacts. Who asked you for information on what subject? How did you stay with that customer who was interested? Did I tell him I would call him after the summer? Where did I write down the phone number of… ?
Time, time and more time that we spend sometimes going through emails and files looking for information and contact details.
Advertising and marketing.
You go to the top and work and everything comes to you from references, contacts, acquaintances or former customers.
Why invest in advertising? If you didn’t read it, take a look at the article Why do I have to do marketing if I don’t want/can’t serve more customers?
Sometimes it’s not about getting MORE customers, but BETTER customers, being able to position your brand, your services or yourself as a reference in the sector, and thus be able to charge more for your services, working less, with less customers, but working better, both in quality of work and in the benefits it brings you.
And that, among other things, is achieved with advertising and marketing.
Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Email Marketing, Content Creation, Inbound Marketing, advertising in portals of the sector, sponsorship agreements…
How lucky we are now to have so many tools with such an incredible reach and at such a low price!
Do you know that with Google Adwords you decide exactly what you want to spend every day and you can modify or cancel it at any time?
Did you know that with Facebook Ads you can segment your ad so that it goes out exclusively to women between 30 and 40 who have recently become mothers and who live less than 30km from Barcelona?
Did you know that email marketing has nothing to do with the typical “newsletters” of a few years ago?
I never cease to be surprised when talking to a new client who asks me what is this Adwords thing or who thinks that “going out on Facebook” is having a page created.
It’s not about knowing how it works or how to create and manage a campaign, I understand that it’s not their thing and they don’t have to know the details. But someone who has their own business should know what tools they have to make it grow. At least know what they are and what they are for.
But all this needs you to dedicate time, especially at the beginning when it is almost the only thing you have, or resources, and as you grow you can afford to hire professionals to help you.
And in either case it is an investment, which makes you lazy, which is never the right time, but it is essential if you want your business to not only “go to work” and survive, if you do not want to work a thousand hours and end up burning out, or let your results go to the mercy of your current customers or contacts.