When it comes to small business there are a slew of options for marketing, websites, networking and even Twitter. Often I hear entrepreneurs asking what solution is right for their needs and where they should start.
Do I need a $15 website template or should I get one free?
Should I hire a graphic design team and website developer or figure it out myself?
Which is better: Infusionsoft or Aweber and 1ShoppingCart?
Who should I hire first: a VA, personal assistant, or copywriter?
And the answer is: it depends on your stage of business!
Most businesses don’t like to tell paying clients ‘no’ so they choose not to share who their product or service doesn’t serve. It’s tempting too, because when you read that Infusionsoft makes automation and marketing campaigns easy, you want to sign up. But if you don’t have an established list or you’re not selling products and packages, then it may not be a wise investment. After all, I believe InfusionSoft is a great product, but it won’t help you if there’s nothing to market or no one to market to yet.
Notice the yet.
It’s imperative that you are honest and self assess what stage of business you’re at now and where you want to go. There are plenty of services that are amazing and well worth the investment but if you’re not ready for them, it’s a waste of money for you.
While it can be hard to scale up and spend more money when you’re used to a low budget approach, it can be equally difficult to scale down if you go for the best option too soon.
In the beginning stages of business, you’re often working to build your client base and have fewer financial resources. This is the perfect stage to dig in, figure things out, and learn the ropes of your business. This is also the ideal time to write your systems as they are in the beginning, so you can improve and teach them to others as you grow. It may take you hours to learn all the tricks so be willing to ask for help, read free reports and content rich e-zines, network, and ask your colleagues for help when you get stuck. Be aware and honor the time of others though as you learn and support them when you’re ready to invest more and within your network.
Once you’ve built a business model that works and your time is filling with client work, it’s time to outsource in the areas that will bring you the most leverage. I covered that in detail in this post.
When you grow into the stage where outsourcing can leverage your time so you can serve more clients and earn more money, your systems will save your sanity. Not only will it make training a team a smoother and faster process, but your time will really free up when you’re not answering a ton of questions every single day.
At the stage when you are able to invest thousands or tens of thousands of dollars each month in the products, technology and team you need, you may look back and remember being reluctant to pay $24 a month for a project management account. Neither approach is “wrong” just as your current stage cannot be wrong. It’s just where you are right now.
When you’re evaluating how much to spend on products, services or coaching to grow your business, you need to evaluate the impact on your revenue. Who are these products and people serving and do you fit the criteria? It can be hard to find those who are in complete integrity and able to tell you “no, you’re not right for this right now,” but those are the very coaches, teachers and trainers that you want to seek out.
Building your business and choosing to invest in the right things at the right time is an on-going process. But just as you can take a plant or flower and watch it grow, keep putting the right elements into your business and watch it blossom.
Remember, there’s no judgment in choosing a cost effective, do it yourself option, nor in investing to have experts support your business growth – it all depends on your stage!