It’s a challenging conundrum many entrepreneurs face today: how to spend less money than we make. What to handle and what to hand off and sub-contract. In an uncertain economy, most of us are trying to “trim more fat” than the local butcher. We’re looking for “value added” meals and two-for-one deals, to stretch our dollars, and keep up with the rising cost of living.
So, it stands to reason that we would cut our business related expenses to stay “in the black” as well.
But, despite the economic challenges and soaring prices today, when it comes to establishing or maintaining a “professional” reputation as a small business owner, image is everything. Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish.” Proceed with caution.
Here are 3 main reasons why:
- The competition is fierce. With the advent of the Internet and blogging, coupled with high levels of unemployment, there are more and more everyday individuals that are starting their own business, from stay-at-home moms, to retirees, to displaced workers. This means it has become increasingly important to stand out in a POSITIVE way. Remember: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
- “Cutting corners” today can have long-term consequences. For instance, a poorly self-published book could garner negative reviews on Amazon.com, and impact potential sales for years to come.
- A “cheap image” often conveys a lack of success. Things like poor quality stock for business cards, or not having a professionally designed website, can turn potential clients away, or cause them to question how competent or profitable you are in your small business. If you apply for a full-time job in the future, expect your future employer to see all of this, from your website to your book excerpt on Amazon.
Here’s what you need to consider:
Though priorities and professional goals may vary, there are some general guidelines you should observe to operate in a profitable manner and make financially sound decisions that enhance future growth.
According to Angela Hoy, author and publisher at Booklocker.com:
“Unless you are a professional designer, do NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to design your own book cover. I’ve been in the publishing business for 18 years now, and I am skilled in Photoshop, but I STILL pay a professional to design my book covers because I know my book’s professional, amazing, intriguing cover is the single most important marketing tool my book will ever have.”
Wendy Burt-Thomas, Author of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters adds:
“I pay for a tax accountant to come to my house. It’s more expensive than filing myself or walking into a franchise tax preparer, but it decreases my chances of being audited, ensures I get the maximum legal write-offs and I don’t have to worry about running home for papers, receipts, etc. that I forget.”
When it comes to operating “lean and mean” in your small business, don’t think small.
“You’ve got to spend money to make money.” Invest in your success in 2021.