The Over-looked Business Investment

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On April 29, 2013

As a business leader you know you have to continually invest in your businesses. When money is tight (and when is money not tight?) that can be tough to do.  The long-term downside of not investing, however, simply isn’t an option.

If you don’t invest in your infrastructure for instance, it won’t be long before a competitor’s capabilities leave you in the dust.  What was “industry-leading” or “industry-best-practice” a couple of years ago simply may not cut it today. This isn’t about having the latest, shiny new technology. It’s about making sure you’re able to respond to market needs.

If you don’t invest in the right people, you’ve got an equally big problem. A lot of companies like to tout the fact that “our people make the difference.” It sounds good, but unless they’ve invested in smart, talented, skilled, and motivated people, it’s just a slogan. People can make the difference—if they’re the right people. As a leader, it’s up to you to find them.

If you don’t invest in marketing, you’re going to have a tough time growing your business. Some businesses confuse advertising with marketing. That’s not what I’m talking about. You constantly need to be engaged in lead generation. You have to invest time and money into developing a marketing strategy and plan that provides your sales team with qualified leads. Companies that don’t do it, don’t grow.

There’s one business investment, however, that many business leaders overlook. It’s really easy to do because there are often so many demands on a business leader. But it’s absolutely crucial.

You need to invest in yourself.

If you’re not investing in your own growth, how will you be able to lead, lift, help, and inspire those around you? How do you go about “investing in yourself?” Here are a few critical areas to consider.

  • What are you learning? Business today is in a state of constant change. Are you staying informed? Are you keeping abreast of new developments? What are you reading? With whom do you get together to exchange ideas? What new skill have you developed within the last year? You know the old adage that if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving back? That’s absolutely true in business. If you’re not learning and moving forward, you’re falling behind—and you may not even know it.
  • What inspires you? This is similar to learning—but with a bit of an edge. Are you exposing yourself to innovative thinking? It doesn’t have to be in your specific industry. Every industry has individuals that come along and turn an industry on its head. Check out online webinars. Read about innovative thinkers. Watch TEDs talks online. Stretch your concept of what’s possible.
  • Are you taking care of yourself? Being healthy may not sound like much of a business-oriented objective, but if you’re worn out or lethargic, it’s tough to find the energy necessary to drive business forward. There’s an old (true) story about a preacher who was passionate about his ministry, but who didn’t take care of himself physically. As he lay dying, he said, “God gave me a message and a horse. I have killed the horse and now I cannot deliver the message.” Are you taking care of your “horse?”
  • Are you taking care of business outside of business? There’s more to life than just being a successful business leader. Are your personal goals and your business goals aligned?

Sometimes we need a little bit of accountability to make sure we are investing in the right things. If you’d like to explore what that looks like, give me a call. I’d love to help you figure out how to invest in yourself—and as a result, invest in the success of those around you.