Prevent UnderinvestmentEveryone talks about investing, where to invest, where not to invest, the Warren Buffet secrets to invest, etc.  But not everyone talks about Underinvesting. And that can hold you and your business back even more than bad and risky investments. Let me be the one to shine light on this phenomenon.

So the story goes like this. You started your business, you struggled, you hassled, you bootstrapped it and finally… it’s getting traction.  You are getting somewhere.  Now you’ve got a few employees that do all the manual work you used to do… so for you it’s “automated”.  You start making money.  You start taking money out of your business after all those hard months/years of work and yeah, you deserve it and feels good.  But now you want to grow again, to make more money… and that’s not happening. You wonder why.  Your internal discussions start sounding like this:

  • Yeah… hiring a designer when we are not going to use it full time would be great. But it will also be a waste.  We are not a design company.  We can keep doing it with $37 WordPress themes from themeforest.net as we’ve been doing it all along.
  • My shopping cart doesn’t do exactly what we need or doesn’t look like we want it to look but we are not a software company… Hiring a developer full time? Are you crazy?!!! That’s waste. I’d rather google a little bit and teach myself the 2 or 3 php lines I’ll need. That’s how I started this business teaching myself html/ftp etc.
  • Having a dashboard? that would be cool… but we can keep doing it in Google Docs. The only difference is now I have 20 products instead of 1, but hey! I have people to help me.

Another year goes by –  you are still not growing.   If you are, it’s not what they call “effortless”. And what’s worse, your sites look bad, your technology is outdated and probably far away of being solid, resilient and human error proof! Now some people leave because everything is so hard.  You blame that GREAT copywriter of not being “resourceful enough” to teach himself how to code responsive html so his salesletter looks great on mobile.

Here are some more signals that you are underinvesting in your businesses:

  • You depend on people being resourceful and go not to the extra mile… but to an extra profession to get their job done. They need to LEARN a new set of skills (like design, ppc, programming)
  • Things are super slow because people need to “learn it first” before they can “do it”
  • You don’t feel confident setting deadlines or targets because “you don’t know, what you don’t know”
  • Your sites looks bad and you can’t sleep well cause if the server crashes you have no one to shout “mayday” at.
  • You say … I wish I had xyz … too often.
  • You are afraid of making a loss in your business due to heavy investing.
  • You are not proud of what you do, but you are proud on how cheap you got it done.

If that’s happening to you… PLEASE STOP.

See, what brought your business to here – won’t get you there. It’s time to grow.  Your business needs to evolve and that will require investment!

Here’s how I got myself to start investing more in my business.

  1. Talk to somebody with experience (luckily I have my partner, friend and mentor… Vishen Lakhiani to kick my ass!)
  2. Take it as a year long project. I said to myself: “you know what, I’m not hiring a designer for my whole life.. but I’m going to do as YEAR test (just a YEAR) … and have a designer for 12 full months. And I don’t care if sometimes he is idle.” (I warn you, after you have a designer, you’ll never want to go back.  Same with having industry specific skills in your company like programmers, etc.)
  3. Understand it’s ok that sometimes you won’t make that much money.  You might even run a loss to build capacity in your business. But if it’s going well, then a few good hires will accelerate your growth.
  4. Look at the positives: how much faster will you be able to deploy your sites, how calm will you sleep now that you have a sys admin that brings your server back up if it dies in the middle of the night.  Look how that copywriter’s productivity will soar just because now he only writes copy.  Watch your team be happier, more focused and getting better and better.
  5. Be ok with a little waste. You’ll see at first your not sure how much work to give them.  But you’ll see that sooner then later, the capacity for you business will increase to have them busy all the time.  You will break the plateau!

Of course, this is applicable if your business has matured to the point that a 1 year salary of a professional will not make you go bankrupt.  But I promise you this:  Start getting these experts to handle advanced areas of your business, and your business will start breaking through the next level at a speed you never thought possible.

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