5 Investments Your Business Can't Live Without

What investments will give you the biggest pay off in the long run? Experts weigh in on where to spend in your annual budget.

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EMPOWERMENT Giving employees additional training and education to develop their skills is one tactic for making them want to stay.

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Budgeting is a paramount concern for any company, in a recession even more so. Spending, however, does not always have to be a short term worry when money is planted into the right facets of your business. Here, some experts weigh in on the best paths to growing a business in the long term.

1. Employee training. Dave Lavinsky, co-founder of business plan development firm GrowThink, sees employee training as a superior expenditure-- even more than employee benefits.

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"Benefits are just something to keep employees satisfied and keep them in your company in the present but if your goal is 5, 10, 15 years down the line, you have to be thinking past just good health care," says Lavinsky.

With about 30% of workforce actively looking for job, the executive says giving you employees additional training and education to develop their skills is one tactic for making them want to stay.

2. Technology. Pricey as tech supplies maybe, Lavinsky believes the level of increased output outweighs the hefty price.

"A new computer and dual monitor are going to improve productivity by 30%," he says. "When you have something working faster, employees can do more at once and you can get immediate pay back."

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3. Human resources. For small businesses with more employees, a good human resources department is an indelible part of the success, but Lavinsky notes that not all companies can swing it.

"An HR manager forces you to look at employees as an asset which is what you need to be profitable," he says.

For those that can afford it, Lavinsky believes it is an addition that can make the difference between growth and stagnation.

4. Chief Financial Officer, or part-time consultant. David Rudofsky, president of consulting firm Rudofsky Associates, recommends investing in a good Chief Financial Officer as well. But hiring one full-time does not always fall into every businesses budget, luckily, he says, a full-time employee is not necessary.

"If a company makes 5 million dollars in sales, they may need a CFO, but they can't afford them," says Rudofsky. "But if a company has a windfall of cash, they should outsource the job to have on a need basis."

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5. Acquisitions. "Traditionally by the end of recessions, there are always opportunities for consolidation," he says. But don't do it as a solution to current business troubles-- acquiring another business requires a stable internal climate.
 
"I feel better about companies acquiring that have a good business model and are strong competitors, as opposed to those acquiring to fix a problem," says Rudofsky.

Last updated: Oct 13, 2011




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