Cost or Investment – It’s All in Your Attitude
Not long ago I was sitting around with a group of friends and our conversation turned to the cost of living. We all have school-aged kids, and all of them do some form of outside school activity.
These activities, considered by all an expense, were usually the first things to go when money got a little tight.
As the discussion got heated, everyone was shocked to hear that I didn’t consider them a cost at all, rather an investment in my children.
That conversation got me thinking about cost vs expense, and how in business those two terms can often get confused. I had a client, who was a children’s clothing designer and I was helping her refine her brand. She’d desperately wanted postcards to place inside her online orders, but her accountant had talked her out of it. He considered it an unnecessary cost.
Later that night standing in front of my fridge I realised I’d had a postcard from a rival children’s clothing designer stuck up there for the better part of a year, reminding me of the brand, day in and day out. And I’m sure due to its constant presence in my home, that is the first store I think of when it comes time to do a kids clothing shop.
So, what are some of the other things that I consider an investment over a cost?
1. Content Creation
Creating content for your business is essential to staying connected to your customers in the current business climate. And yes, I give a lot of my content away for free. But it’s not a cost to me; it’s an investment. I’ve used that content to win contracts, educate customers and publish a book.
2. Good Branding and Marketing Materials
There are a number of cheap sites that promise you logo generation for as little as five dollars. Or sites that offer you ridiculously cheap business card printing. But your branding is another place that you need to consider an investment. Your branding is generally the first touch point a new customer has with your business, and first impressions count.
3. Software and Systems
It’s often difficult to get business owners to see a software purchase as an investment. But software is one of those things where your ROI is easy to track. Especially if the system you find has reporting abilities. Purchasing the right software package for your business can streamline processes, increase efficiency and make some of the more arduous manual processes obsolete.
The ‘cost’ of hiring staff is something that I often hear in business. Depending on the way you are structured, your staff may be the first point of physical contact customers have with your business. Investing in quality staff and their education is essential not only to effectively running your business but to grow.
That day with my friends I challenged them to change the way they viewed their children’s activities. To stop using the word ‘cost’ and start seeing them as an investment in the health, happiness and education of their growing child.
And I challenge you to do the same with your business. Whenever you find yourself writing an opportunity off as a cost, stop and consider the possibility that this just might be your next great investment.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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