Figuring out when and how to invest in your company is not straightforward. One of the primary concerns many business owners have is how long it’ll take to start seeing the payoffs of an investment, and whether those advantages will prove enduring or short-lived.
If your business is relatively new, it may feel hard to justify any long-term investments because you’re worried about possible cash flow issues. However, investing in things to help you over prolonged periods supports your company’s growth.
Here are five long-term investments that will give you measurable benefits over time. Some have short-term perks, too, making them exceptionally rewarding by showing you a healthy return on investment.
Even if your enterprise does not solely or mostly operate online, cybersecurity is an essential investment. A 2019 survey of businesses in 17 countries showed that losses from cyberattacks averaged $4.7 million, with one in 10 companies losing at least $10 million. The results also indicated particularly severe outcomes in certain countries. Enterprises in China, India and Japan saw estimated average losses of 10% of their revenue.
Cybersecurity is especially important now due to more people working remotely or using digital services. Many companies take reactive approaches and only spend aggressively on IT security measures once things go wrong. Instead, treat it as a long-term, ongoing investment. Your enterprise will be ready to respond decisively to new and evolving threats before they hinder operations or cause events that erode customer trust.
2. Inventory Management Software
Inventory management software is an excellent option to put your money into and see long-term results. In today’s society, people anticipate getting their goods on time and in excellent condition. They don’t have a lot of patience for companies that are frequently out of stock or unable to meet expectations.
Some businesses overcompensate by keeping too many items in stock and find they have difficulty selling them. Alternatively, they could run low on products and fail to meet customer demands as they arise. Inventory management software helps companies become more aware of the current supply chain situation. That allows them to be more responsive and avoid bottlenecks or prolonged outages, plus scale to accommodate changes in the marketplace.
3. Private Transportation
Investing in private transportation could be a fantastic decision for your company, especially if employees travel frequently. There are more than 21,000 business aircraft in the United States. Owning a plane lets your workers skip the inconveniences of conventional air travel — such as long security checkpoint lines and departure times that don’t suit their schedules — and enjoy more productivity.
Other options — such as branded vans or sedans — could be smart buys too. People can travel together, saving time and money, rather than independently make journeys to out-of-town meetings. Pay attention to how much you spend in a given year on plane tickets or transportation rentals. It’ll then be easier to gauge whether purchasing private transportation solutions is a wise thing to do now. Consider your upcoming plans, as well as immediate needs.
4. Brand Building
You cannot underestimate the importance and worth of a strong brand. Think of company names known around the world and how people immediately recognize them. Most individuals can also quickly list several qualities associated with the most dominating names in the marketplace. The more people know your brand and readily associate positive traits with it, the more likely they’ll repeatedly choose to do business with you.
Finding success while building your brand requires a long-term investment. Coming up with a strategy encompasses several facets, including what promises you make to the target audience and what kind of personality the public associates with your company. You’ll also emphasize attributes that convince new customers they should choose your brand over others. Building a strong brand from the ground up can also help you recover more quickly from downturns.
5. Employee Training
It’s probably already clear to you that customers directly impact your company’s success. The same argument holds for your employees. Workers often become natural ambassadors for your business, so they must have a thorough knowledge of the ins and outs of their roles, as well as any products and services you offer. Insisting on maintaining a high level of employee education also shows the public you care about helping your workforce grow and improve.
Investigate which kinds of department-specific or companywide training you should provide for workers. Encourage them to give feedback on what interests them and where they see their careers going in the future. You could then use their responses to formulate plans for company-sponsored continuing education. Viewing employee training as a long-term investment can save money and shape the future of your organization.
Adopt a Future-Oriented Mindset
There’s no harm in spending money on things for your business that only address immediate needs rather than long-term ones. However, you should also change your investment patterns to focus on enhancements needed for the future. This helps stakeholders see you’re serious about enabling your company to prosper, and that you’re ready and willing to spend your resources to make that happen.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.