There are no workarounds or shortcuts on this one: the decisions of today largely determine the results of tomorrow – that’s kind of natural law, if not the much-talked-about “Golden Rule” itself.
There is hardly any doubt that success is the sought-after goal of any venture as no one ever really sets out to embark on an elephant project, but the harsh reality is that so many people come up short in the end.
As is often the case with most other undertakings, the success or failure of any business enterprise is hinged mainly on those initial decisions. Even though some startups rise meteorically to become household names faster than their peers who may have been in business before them, no venture ever really becomes an instant hit overnight – their fortunes are mostly decided by the investments they make during those early stages.
With that in mind, it is quite apt to assert that taking a pass on some vital initial investments could ultimately hamper your chances of thriving or succeeding as a startup. You want to make a splash from the beginning and become a part of everyone’s conversation? Then, you’ve got to put in the work early. Else, you’ll become just another statistic in some course titled “One Thousand Ways To Not Run A Business.”
Now, let’s face it, this year is gone and the next few days are more or less a formality. Yes, I’m quite aware of those who would want to point out that fortunes can still change for some businesses in the next few days before the turn of the year. But real talk has it that in the world of business, the numbers mean everything and blind optimism does not change much.
That is, this is not exactly a 90-minute soccer game that has hit the 87th-minute mark and is still open to some last minute drama. In business, if you want something to happen, you’ve got to not only do something but also do it early.
Having pointed that out, it won’t be exactly out of place to posture that there won’t be any last-minute miracles and your business can hardly do any better in what’s left of this year than where it is at the moment. So, how about we walk through a more profitable exercise which entails taking note of what should form the top end of your early to-do list for 2019? Well, as you chew on that idea, maybe the next paragraph can help you swallow.
In truth, being privy to a fat wad of cash is no guarantee for business success. That is because capital is only a single ingredient, albeit an important one, from the myriad of equally-important ingredients which make up the recipe for the seven-course meal, that is, success. So if you’re resting on your oars because funds are aplenty, quit it! You’re only setting yourself up for a fall and heading for the deep end.
As we head into the new year, there are some important early investments that entrepreneurs should strive to make in a bid to better their fortunes, and it is quite interesting that these investments are not entirely about funds. They also have connections with work ethic, commitment, and effort as ingredients for success.
Well, you know what they say; the early bird gets the worm. Now, here are three of these investments that entrepreneurs must make early in 2019 to take their enterprises to the next level.
Invest In Your Employees
Do you need employees to just weigh in with the customary nine-to-fives or are you on the lookout for ambassadors and gladiators who will wear their hearts on their sleeves with your brand engraved on it? Think about that.
It feels like the employer-employee relationship has been a cat-and-mouse game for far too long, and a break from the norm is imperative. There are no two ways about it; you are more likely to get the best from your employees if you give them the best. If you rule with an iron fist like some dictator, you might get what you want, but not for long, and you certainly won’t get the best.
Sure, these guys are on your payroll, but like every resource, they need to be managed and managed well. They also need to be improved and upgraded. And this is an indictment on some companies who take a pass on bringing their employees up to speed with current skills that will keep the business competitive in the market.
We live in a dynamic world, trends are ever-changing, and the status quo is only so until there is a new rave. And as such, you will be shooting yourself on foot as a business owner if you decide to sit on the fence and leave your employees wallowing below prime conditions.
The fear is always centered around these employees taking a walk and seeking greener pastures after significant investment. But this is hardly a valid point when compared to the fate that awaits your business if they keep working for you while lagging way behind the times – something that sounds a lot like a one-way ticket to a destination called “guaranteed stagnation.”
In truth, you hardly have any control over who stays or leaves your establishment, but the one thing you can control is what happens in your business, and you owe it to yourself to do what’s right for it at all times.
That said, the primary idea is not to fuss over how much is spent on employees who may well leave but to equip everyone on your team with top-level skills that can drive growth in the organization – that’s what your business needs. And the chances are that in doing so, you would have extended enough goodwill to grow yourself a loyal employee base.
If you’re worried about losing employees to greener pastures, perhaps it’s time to make the grass greener on your side; and what better way to do this than by showing them how much they mean to you and the business which will be very clear to see if you give them the best.
That way, you would have landed yourself workers who are willing to do the most and go the extra mile for you because they know you value them – much like those 300 Spartans accompanied Leonidas to the Hot Gates to face Xerxes and his intimidating Persian army.
Regardless of the cost, never take a pass on investing in your employees if you want to achieve significant growth. However, there will always be deserters, and that’s why you also need to put mechanisms in place to ensure that exits do not bring your operations to a standstill. As a refined version of the popular Nigerian saying goes; soldiers may come and go, but the barracks must never close.
Invest In Technology
This should be a no-brainer as it one of those things you don’t want to even begin to put a number on. Sure, it does cost a hell of a lot most times, but the benefits are immense.
Technology does a solid to productivity by bringing about significant savings in time and money. You can get a lot more done in lesser time with technology, and you won’t have to expend so much time and money finding and hiring capable hands.
In the coming year, you might want to be on top of technological developments in your industry. From website builders to cloud-based solutions and even online accounting tools, there is something for every sector. And what’s more, you can get much more done with these for far less than their offline counterparts.
So instead of running your business into the ground in the name of keeping up with the wage demands of an accountant your startup cannot yet afford, you might want to avail yourself of an online accounting tool which will cost next to nothing compared to what you previously doled out.
On a slightly different note, having an online presence is non-negotiable in today’s business climate, and a standard website does reflect your business in a good light in this regard. But building a standard website can erode a considerable amount of your funds especially if you’re a startup that is still bootstrapping.
Thankfully, technology can come to the rescue for this purpose as you can create a website for your business with online web-builders at very little cost these days. Some of them even come as a freebie as long as you sort out the hosting details.
There are many other ways through which technology investments can do a solid to your business’ chances of success by helping you do more with less. Make a mental note to make early investments in technology in the coming year, and you may well be on your way to raking in more revenue and having time to delve into other things that you’ve always had your eyes on.
In any case, this point all boils down to the fact that if you leave out technology, you will be doing your business no favors and be left behind.
Invest In Your Products And Services
While I do share some belief in the expression that if something isn’t broken, then there is no need to attempt fixing it, reality does opine that there is always room for improvement in the area of products and services offered by businesses.
Even though your products/services have gotten millions of positive rave reviews while appearing to be the toast of all and sundry, it will be a wrong move to rest on your laurels. You know all those product feedbacks that hint at a problem or bug with your product? Those are the ones you should pay attention to.
For businesses, the job is never really over with, and continuous evolution is key. What do you think keeps big brands like Apple and Samsung on top when it comes to mobile gadgets and electronics? They’re up there because they never stop improving, they’re always looking to beat their last creation. And that’s why they seem untouchable – churning out fantastic products at high-end prices that people still don’t discourage people.
In as much as many people in this part of this world will jump at the cheaper option, nobody wants to spend money on a terrible product. And that is to say; most people won’t necessarily mind paying a bit more for quality.
The ever-dynamic consumer preferences are doing a one-eighty again – it used to be all about cost implications, but these days, more importance is given to value. That is, customers won’t mind spending more than they used to on a product as long as it proves to be worth it.
That said, going into the new year, you need to invest in improving your product, bettering your customer service, and serving up more attractive incentives in the professional services offered by your establishment.
If you’re adamant about churning out something that will be offered on the cheap, then you must make sure it’s not just good, but ‘good enough.’ Otherwise, there’s no point – nobody wants to waste hard-earned money, however little, on a product or service that sucks.
Naturally, making improvements does come with some financial burden, but one should be encouraged by the end-result which implies happy customers paying for significantly-improved products or services while appreciating your work and spreading the word as unofficial ambassadors of your brand.