It’s tax season and for many Americans, that means getting a refund check. The extra dollars is perfect to boost your income at the beginning of the year. While most people are planning a big purchase or trip…your tax return could be just the investment capital you need to start your business.
Why not earmark your return this year to make an investment in your business? If you have been working on a business idea and are getting ready to launch, putting your tax refund toward it makes great business sense. A tax return of around $2,800 might not sound like a lot when it comes to starting a business, but you can stretch those dollars in your new endeavor. I often say that everything doesn’t have to be all figured out prior to getting started. It’s OK to launch before you feel ready. The key is to begin to take action and take the first steps. As you begin to invest in your business, the next steps will reveal themselves on the way.
For a new business, one key area in which you should invest is your website. I often tell my clients that your website is your ATM machine. And it really can be! You have to look at it that way. Your website can and should be designed in such a way that it makes you money—better yet, that it makes you money while you sleep.
To have a successful website, spend the money to hire an excellent web and graphic designer. You want to find someone who has the expertise to run with your vision once you present it to them. A good web designer should understand the importance of placement of images and words “above the fold” so that your website visitors will see what you want them to see first. They should know how to draw visitors in to your site and keep them lingering there longer.
Here are just a few website must-haves:
- A sign-up field where visitors can subscribe to your blog posts, newsletters and to receive updates from you
- A shopping cart so that you can sell your products on your website and customers can make purchases and check out through your site
- Easy access to your blog and blog posts, as well as to your recent posts on social media
These are just some of the basic items that are critical for any good business website. It is key that you invest to hire a web designer who doesn’t just know how to build websites, but how to build successful websites for a business. Branding is crucial.
Another great area to invest when starting your business is your social media presence. You can use your web designer or another graphic designer to create your logo to then be used on business cards, your website and social media.
A graphic designer can also create your cover photo for Facebook, Google+ and other social media sites. It is not advised to skimp on getting these things professionally done. DIY is not for everyone, especially when it comes to your brand image. Having a professionally designed profile page and cover photo will help a new business appear successful right from the start. If you don’t have these things in place, putting your investment dollars here can help your brand in a big way.
Another key area to make your early business investments count is to hire a professional photographer. Having professional photos makes a world of difference in your business. The photos can be used for social media marketing, advertisements, online across your website, and more. Having great photos to use to market your business is invaluable. Hire a photographer who specializes in getting good head shots, as you will need an amazing head shot of yourself to represent your brand. Depending on your business, you will also want a photographer who is good at staging products or a scene in order to get the right shot. In today’s image-driven world, having clear, crisp, professional photos is everything. Images sell!
For a new business owner, investing funds into attending live business events and seminars is also well worth it and a great area to direct your resources. Sometimes all it takes is one event to catapult your business to the next level. You never know who you will meet, or who you will be sitting next to. There are opportunities to network with other like-minded business owners. You will get information to help shift your thinking and your business to a new place of growth and abundance. Look for events in your area or in other large cities that you would like to travel to, and make a plan to go. Sometimes all you have to do is show up, and amazing things will happen because you did.
Last but not least, an excellent area to invest in your new business is to get business coaching. A coach can help you take your business to places that you never thought possible. They will help you stay accountable for making progress. They will push you to make that phone call, request that meeting or book that new client. If you are part of a coaching group, then you will also benefit from having a support system for your business ideas. My coaching clients come together regularly to form a mastermind group where they can share ideas, collaborate together and give each other feedback. It is an atmosphere of excitement and positivity.
A coach will help you stretch yourself in your new business endeavors. They can give you guidance, direction, clarity and help you figure out what’s next. I always say that dreams die between what to do and how to do them—a coach is there to help you find out the how, which can help accelerate your dream fulfillment for your business.
Remember that an investment is just that—an investment—you are not spending money. When you invest, you get something greater in return. The dividends from investing in the areas above are sure to be great, and well worth it. Now, get those taxes done, because you’ve got a business to run!