Worth the Splurge – Justifiable Expenses for Small Business Owners
Costs are always an important consideration when spending on the things you need for your small business, but it’s a fine line: you want to avoid paying more than is necessary, but can’t always afford to skimp on quality. So, how do you decide which items and areas are worth bending your budget for? It boils down to understanding which of your expenditures have the biggest impact on overall business performance.
Entrepreneur and CEO Craig Bloem offered a helpful rule of thumb for small business spending in an article for Inc.com. To Bloem, it’s worth paying more for things that make you and your employees more productive and enthusiastic, but better to save elsewhere unless the expenditure involves something that ‘touches the customer.’
With that rule in mind, here’s a closer look at a few things you should consider splurging on to help your small business run better.
Logos and branding
First impressions are important, so don’t short-change your small business by cheaping out on logos and branding – it’s often your initial point of contact with potential customers. The right logo helps convey an air of professionalism, plus a bit of the character of your business. An eye-catching, recognizable logo can be especially important for brick and mortar businesses, and even some online businesses, because of the connection people feel when they see it on the street or on their screen.
Whether you’re building a website, designing ads, or looking to fill up your Instagram feed with likeable posts, it can be worth paying for professional photography to give your shots that extra shine. Just as with your logo and branding, you want to put your best foot forward with every picture you publicly display, so don’t let low-quality photos cast your business in a bad light. If you’re just starting out and can’t afford to hire a photographer right away, consider using free stock images at first.
The right tools: computer equipment, phones, etc.
Outfitting your small business with quality tools and technology for you and your employees won’t come cheap, but it should have a direct impact on overall productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction. There’s nothing more frustrating and demoralizing than trying to work with technology that’s slow and outdated, so don’t saddle yourself or your staff with shoddy tools and equipment. That doesn’t mean there has to be a fancy new phone in every pocket and a sleek laptop at every desk. Just make sure your hardware and software aren’t slowing your business down.
The extra help you need
Few small business owners can handle every single aspect of their operation by themselves. Whether you hire a few freelancers for expert assistance in specialized or technically-skilled areas, or just some extra hands to get labour-intensive tasks done more quickly, it’s essential to have the right people around you to help your business grow and succeed.
Salaries for your star staffers
If you’ve already got great help, don’t let it get away! There’s value in rewarding a quality employee with increased salary – the person will be more motivated to work hard, and less likely to leave for new opportunities elsewhere. In the long run, you’re probably better off paying a valued staffer a little more money and incentivizing them to stay instead of spending significant time, effort and money trying to find a suitable replacement.
A quality accountant
Making sure the numbers add up is vital to the financial health of your small business, but it isn’t a task most of us relish. If you’re not cut out for careful bookkeeping, it’s best to spend on a professional to handle the job. As a bonus, an accountant will likely know exactly where to look for any wasteful expenditures, and can help you get smarter with your spending. Ask around for a referral for an accountant or firm with experience in your industry – they should be aware of any legal requirements a business like yours needs to know.