If you've started your handmade shop from the ground up, you likely have a small budget with little extra money to spare on fancy tools and software. But what you may not realize is that investing in the right equipment, and spending just a little bit more, can help your business succeed.
When I decided to invest in my business by purchasing not one, but two industrial sewing machines, I almost had a heart attack. It was everything I had saved up from the few sales that I had coming in, but I knew something had to change. My late nights of fulfilling orders, being bogged down by a slow home sewing machine was wearing on me quickly.
Once I saw how quickly I was able to fulfill orders with my new machines, I never looked back. They paid themselves off within 6 months of running my business and I doubled my annual revenue every year after that. I contribute that much to my decision to take the leap and put all of my extra earnings back into the business where it mattered the most-investing in the tools that allowed me to make my products at a higher speed and a higher quality than my competitors.
Often times, it's easy to choose the less expensive options when we have little money to work with in our startup business. We opt for the cheaper machines that will "get us by for now" and choose the office printer instead of the label printer because it's "an unnecessary added expense," but cutting corners like these may actually cause our business to suffer by wasting unnecessary time and energy.
Since there are so many things that we can choose to invest in for our businesses (machines, cutting tools, software, email marketing systems, hiring a team member) it can be hard to know where to start. And often times, many things aren't necessary to have right away. So how do we know??
Here are two important questions to ask yourself when deciding what to spend your money on:
1. "Am I being strategic with my small budget or am I just being cheap?"
If you're strategic with your small budget, you will:
- See human capital as an investment
- Recognize the few things that your business needs
- Have a plan for your money/have savings goals
- Work on your business, not just in your business by:
-Investing in your customers (having a liberal exchange policy, for example)
-Investing in your team (hiring to solve problems)
-Investing in yourself (reading books, attending conferences, taking online courses)
If you're just being cheap, you will:
- See human capital as an expense
- Hold onto your money for fear that sales will stop coming in or that you won't make enough
- Not have a plan for your money
- Cut corners and try to do everything yourself
- Not offer liberal returns or exchanges for your customers
2. "What should I invest in first and when is it a good time?"
Spending money on the things that your business needs doesn't have to happen immediately. Smart business owners have a plan for their budget and create savings goals. They also prioritize needs based on what will make the business the most money the quickest.
Look at what may be holding you back at the moment and make a plan for how to fix it. If it's slow machinery, invest in tools. If it's frustration when it comes time to doing taxes, invest in accounting software or a part time bookkeeper.
Ultimately, the more that you can free up your time and save energy to focus on the things that you do best (creating, designing, etc.), the more likely your business will succeed.
If you know you need to hire help, but you're unsure of where to start, check out my recent blog on "When and How to Hire in your Business" to get helpful tips.
And, if you'd like to talk more about what tools are right for your business or who you should hire first, jump on a free 15 minute call with me by scheduling a time that works best for you HERE.
Find me on Instagram for more small business tips @shegrows.with.ashleyrose