We small business owners are notorious tightwads. If we don’t have to spend it, we don’t. After all, we want to put something back in our pockets, and sometimes after our regular expenses, that ain’t much. So trying to justify why a business owner should keep money in the bank to reinvest in the company is a challenging argument. It’s kind of like the #1. Marketing to Attract More Customers This is the #1 thing you should be putting money toward. Marketing is what will get you more customers; not just tomorrow, but next month and next year. And it’s not as costly as you may think; I make my living showing people all the low-cost and effective tools they can use, like content marketing, press releases, social media, and email. #2. Equipment That Doesn’t Suck If you have to hit the side of your computer to get it to come on, it’s time for an upgrade. Newer computers have bigger storage (though if you invest in cloud computing you don’t need it), sleeker interfaces, and take less time to load a web page. A second or two might not seem like much, but consider how many websites you visit in a day. It adds up. This category also includes point of sale and card processing equipment, as well as any machinery you need to do your job. If you have the right tools, your work is easier. #3. People That Make You Look Smart This one took me a while, but as soon as I started bringing on freelance writers, not only did I free up more of my time, but I also attracted more business. So four of us can do four times the work that just I could do. I’m really proud of the people I’ve brought on, and our customer testimonials tell me that they’re doing a stellar job. That makes me look good. #4. Software to Be More Productive I used to stick to the free stuff, but since I’ve invested a modest amount in a few different applications, I’m pleased to see how much more I can do. MailChimp, Active Campaign, and FreshBooks are a few of the tools I’ve found to be really valuable. Google Apps is also essential. I mentioned cloud storage: I love Dropbox for my files. Most software sites will offer you a free trial to see if you like the software before you have to shell anything out, so you’ve really got nothing to lose. #5. Books to Help You Bone Up There are new business and industry books popping up on Amazon every day. So even if you read last year’s breakthrough book, there’s always more to learn. Books are cheap knowledge; you bypass the university studies and get to the information you need a lot faster. Look at business book awards or reviews on Amazon to see what others recommend. Magazines, too, are an affordable resource to make you smarter. #6. Conferences for Networking I rarely go to conferences to learn anything anymore. But why I do go is to meet other people. At the last conference I attended, I met someone who connected me to a company I now have worked with for a year. You never know who you will meet! Sure, some conferences are pretty pricey, but I recommend you only invest in the ones where you’re most likely to make strong contacts. If it’s a conference full of your peers, you may not connect with potential business. A conference that caters to your demographic, on the other hand, is a great place to make connections. #7. Branding to Look Professional Another classic area so many entrepreneurs skimp on. If you design your own logo, do you really think that people will be impressed with it? Unless you’re a graphic designer, probably not. For just a few hundred dollars, you can get a quality, professional design that will help people remember your brand. The same goes for your website. There’s no reason to cheap out on a site now, with all the affordable customizable templates you can use. Remember: your branding is the first impression people get of your business. Make sure it’s a good one. #8. Client Gifts to Stay on Top of Their Minds I have sent my clients a gift on my company’s birthday for the past eight years. It’s an odd thing to do, to send a birthday gift to others on your own birthday, but it’s how I reach out and say “you mean a lot to us.” In return, my clients pay more attention to my company. They’re delighted to get a flower arrangement or wooden egg, because no one else is doing it. You can do the same for your company anniversary, or just at Christmas. Your goal with this investment is to get customers coming back for more and thinking you’re the bee’s knees. #9. An Office That Makes You Happy Whether you rent office space or work from home, your office space should make you comfortable. That might mean that the card table you have set up in your closet might not be ideal. It’s a small thing, but having a desk with drawers where you need them, a printer at arm’s reach, and office supplies on your desk (plus maybe a bobblehead or plant to make you smile) can make you happier and more productive. Since you spend so much time here anyway, shouldn’t you enjoy it? Check Craigslist for used office furniture. I’m on the hunt for a fun red chair for my office! Investing in even one of these things will help you reap rewards. Just remember your goal: to be bigger and better than you were yesterday. If you have to invest a little to get there, it’ll still pay off. Images: ”Hand putting mix coins and seed in clear bottle on cityscape photo blurred bokeh background,Business investment growth concept / Shutterstock.com“ ___________________________________________________________________________ This contributor’s Tweak Your Biz articles have reached more than 100,000 people. 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