You're expanding, growing, and you feel it's time to seriously invest in your small business.
Let me first say that I understand these may not seem particularly 'big' to some businesses, but for a freelancer, solo business owner or small biz with few employees, these can all seem like big steps.
To me, these are a leap up from my previous blog post about making small investments when you have a bit of extra cash each month. These are more serious monthly investments that you might need in order to grow further.
So what can you do when you get to this point?
First: Consider your priorities!
Yes, a company car would be cool, and you can easily spend a large amount each month on Facebook adverts, but these may not be what you really need in order to grow your business.
What are your 5 year goals, and your goal for this year? What do you need in order to achieve them?
It might be that your priorities are making more time for yourself so that you can develop new products, or your priority might be building your brand and refining your look.
Whatever your priorities are, make sure you're aligned with your overall business mission, and your person life goals too.
Hire an accountant
Take the stress out of the numbers of your business by hiring an accountant and/or bookkeeper. If it causes you stress and anxiety, and eats up hours of your week or month, you know it's time to get the professionals in to help.
Benefit to your business: Less stress and more time for you.
When you first started out, you may have put together a logo and design for your business yourself, or had it made cheaply. Or, your current branding just might not represent your business properly anymore as you grow.
In either of these cases, you may want to consider rebranding with a professional designer to capture the essence of your company and make sure all your touchpoints are consistent.
Benefit to your business: Look professional and have the tools to grow your brand.
Hire an assistant
For many, this is high up on the wishlist of investments to make! Whether it be a personal assistant, virtual assistant, marketing assistant, or production assistant, it can be amazing feeling to have the weight lifted from your shoulders.
An assistant can not only make your life easier and save you time, they can also become a sounding board for ideas, and generally be someone to talk to in what can be a lonely world for work-from-home business owners.
Benefit to your business: More time for you, plus some sanity!
Upgrade your tools
Perhaps you're a photographer would could benefit from buying a new camera or lens, or expensive piece of kit? Perhaps you need to upgrade your computer to make your work more efficient? Or it could even be something like a printer to save on printing costs in the future.
Benefit to your business: Professionalism and efficiency.
Look into rented office space
If you're feeling claustrophobic in your home office, or you're looking to grow and hire new people or have meetings with clients it could seriously benefit you to start renting office space.
It may seem like a big step, but you may be able to find very affordable space in your area, or even some kind of government grant to help towards paying each month.
Benefit to your business: Professionalism and sanity!
Update your website
When you've got a great product/service, and you're starting to get momentum in your growth, it can be really easy for your website to get left behind.
Perhaps it's not up to date with your latest branding or offerings, or it could need a complete overhaul because it's outdated and unprofessional looking. Either way, your website should not be neglected, as it's likely to be how many of your customers actually find you, and you want to give a good first impression.
Benefit to your business: Professionalism and the infrastructure to grow your business.
Go on a course
It might not be new tools you need - it could be new skills! Yes, there are fantastic places to learn things on the internet for free, but a specialised course (or ecourse) packages this information up in a way that is easily 'digestible' and relevant to exactly how you want to use it.
Benefit to your business: New skills and networking.
Invest in marketing
I don't mean throwing all your money at Facebook ads. I mean seriously investing in either an agency, consultant or your own marketing team.
The great thing about this investment is that you should see rewards fairly quickly, and you'll soon recoup the money to try one of these other investments!
Benefit to your business: Efficiency and more time for you.
Hire a coach
This might be in the form of a business coach, or something more specific. There are some incredible people out there who are able to coach incredibly niche businesses because they have the specific experience and skills.
Again, a coach could also become a sounding board for new ideas and an ear for general business ponderings and questions. They're the experts, so get all the help you can from them!
Benefit to your business: Sanity and expert advice.
Invest in great photography
You've got a great product, but your photography could be holding you back. I've seen several cafes and restaurants lose out from not making an investment in photography their priority - it's absolutely necessary in that industry, or if you're selling consumer products. Don't lose out!
Benefit to your business: Professionalism and the tools to grow your brand!
Invest in help for yourself
If you're at the point where you've already invested in the things you need for your business but you're still having problems, it may be time to invest in helping yourself.
You can buy all the tools and hire all the assistants and consultants you want, but if you're struggling to find the time or headspace to manage your business then there's a limit to benefit you can gain from these things.
Consider investing in childcare, a dog-sitter, cleaner or personal nutritionist if you're short on time. Or even a therapist or health coach if the stress is preventing you from giving your best to your business.
Benefit to your business: A healthier, happier you!