Where Your Business Should Invest — Even in Tough Times

All businesses go through tough times at one point or another. Whether this is due to internal failings, market changes, or a global crisis, you may find your business facing unprecedented challenges that threaten your bottom line and may even threat the survival of your business.

When this happens, the temptation is often to cut back on all spending in an effort to stay afloat. However, this can be a false economy. Even when time are tough, investing in certain areas of your business is essential to keep things running and set your business up to not only survive but thrive.

Marketing

When your business starts to struggle, one of the worst things you can do is stop spending money on marketing. If you cut your marketing spend you will not be able to attract new business and recover your profits. Even when funds are tight, you will find that investing in marketing will give you a significant return on your investment and see you through the tough times. That is, as long as you invest in smart strategies.

If you are facing a tight market where consumer spending is down, marketing will help you to reach the consumers that are still spending. The key is to broaden you audience and reach new target markets. Using digital marketing techniques such as social media and SEO allows you to promote your business to a wider audience and secure sales from new sources when your core base dries up.

As the external landscape changes, this is also the time to diversify and try new marketing strategies. For example, if your target market is now spending more time indoors and online, it could be a good idea to implement new digital marketing tactics to take advantage of this behavioural change. On the other hand, if you want to reach new market segments you need to research the best ways to market to those groups and introduce new marketing tactics accordingly.

Training

Training is another area that businesses are often tempted to cut when budgets are tight. However, cutting back on employee training can be detrimental to the business in the short and long term. Investing in training, on the other hand, can put your business in a much stronger position and allow you to take advantage of vital opportunities that will help set your company on the road to success once more. Cutting back on employee training will rob your business of future success.

For example, training your employees in new marketing techniques will help you to widen your customer base. Skilling up your sales team means they are more likely to clinch those deals that are needed now more than ever. Financial and strategic training will allow you to refine your budget and develop a solid strategy to carry you into the future.

Technology

Technology is essential to any business operating in 2020, and the latest cutting-edge tools can be beneficial to businesses in a variety of areas, from marketing and customer service to cybersecurity. However, the latest technologies rarely come for free. Although accessing these tools requires an investment, your business will generally enjoy a return on this investment several times over. Furthermore, the right tools will give your business the competitive edge it needs to survive and thrive.

A particularly important area of technology that no business can afford to ignore is cybersecurity. Access control systems help to keep your business safe from unwanted visitors and protect your staff and assets. But what about virtual threat such as malware and cyber-attacks? Every cyber-attack costs small businesses $200,000 on average in lost information, lost productivity, and reputation damage. This is where cyber security comes in and investment in this area is essential to protect you from the risk of much greater costs.

Processes & Efficiencies

Finally, when your business is going through tough times it is important to look at how you can streamline your processes to make your business run more efficiently. This will allow you to eliminate any wastage and unnecessary costs that may be part of how you do business currently. This can often happen when employees are doing unnecessary admin, replicating work done by others, or performing time consuming tasks that could be automated through the use of technology. Look at how your staff (and you) spend their time: are there any processes that could be more systematic, or are there any tools and technologies that could be used to make things more efficient?

Doing so may require some initial investment, but this investment will be repaid several times over as your operation becomes more efficient. This, in turn, will help you to weather the storm, emerge stronger than before and ready to handle the challenges that may emerge in the future.

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