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Francisco Salvador
By: fsalvador
Read in 22 minutes

Make money with money: 12 effective investments for your small business

In my first years as an entrepreneur, I’d hear the word “investment,” and I’d think it had nothing to do with me, that it was something only for business owners with a big budget. This happens to hundreds of people; maybe it happens to you, too. That’s why many of us tend to leave the responsibility of investing largely unattended.

What are the reasons why most of us decide not to invest? 

  • we think it is complex
  • we do not know who can teach us the basics and give us advice
  • we’re afraid of losing money
  • we think that we need a large budget

But the reality is that investing is one of the most important ways we have to grow our business. It doesn’t need to involve a lot of money, nor effort or experience.

I want to invite you to join me in the world of investments. I’m going to try to make this process accessible through a short list of ideas: they range from small to large investments that will boost your business.

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Check out these tips for beginners on how to invest efficiently

The 12 Best Investments for a Small Business

In this post, we will go through several ideas to invest in your business. I’ll start with the cheapest ones and then go up to those that require the highest investment. That way, you can choose what type of investment to start with. 

I’m sure that after a first experiment, you’ll want to make more and more investments. 

#DidYouKnow
You don’t need to have a big budget so that your investment earns large profits. 

Along with these tips, I’ll also share inspiring stories from Camino Financial clients who have invested and strengthened their finances. You’ll see that we take our motto, “We do not close the doors to any business,” seriously. You can even see how simple it is to apply for a loan.

1. Create relationships (practically zero costs)

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There are several investments that will only take you some time, but that are important. Here are three simple ideas:

  • A conversation with your clients: a hearty talk (either in person or by phone) will help your clients get to know the face behind the business and remain loyal buyers.
  • An email: from time to time, it’s always a good idea to send an email or even a newsletter with discounts and promotions.
  • A Christmas or birthday greeting: this will let your customers know that you think of them (and they will think of you), don’t forget to personalize and write it yourself.

Return on investment

First, the emotional. Creating rapport with your clients is invaluable: if they are happy, they will continue to be your clients, and they’ll recommend you. Don’t forget that a client is not only a source of income but the greatest source of improvement.

Of course, there’s an economic ROI. And promotions and discounts will be used by many of your clients, increasing your sales and helping your cash flow.

2. Social Media: reviews and ads (can be free and can go up to several dollars)

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If you don’t have an account on review sites or social networks, create it, it is a great marketing tool that is free.

Ask your customers to review you on your Yelp, Foursquare, Google, or Facebook profile – these positive reviews will inspire other people to become customers.

If you feel a bit more adventurous, you can buy advertising on these platforms (Yelp, Foursquare, Google, or Facebook) that will allow you to reach a larger audience. The good thing about these paid ads is that you decide how much you can spend: from a couple of dollars to $ 100 or even more.

Return on investment

The power of reviews is very strong. Think about it, if you are looking for an exotic food restaurant (and it is something you have never tried), which restaurant would you ask, the one with 3 stars on Google or the one with 5? The one with 5, of course!

Humans are social beings, and we care a lot about what other people have experienced, and we also want to avoid bad situations that others have experienced. Reviews are the best way to do this, so don’t ignore reviews.

Also, customers will suggest new services and products to you that can help you create more revenue.

#CaminoTip
I recommend you think about the costs of your company. If you save on certain expenses, then you will have more funds to invest in other things.

3. Simple market research (it can cost from $100 to $500)

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It’s crucial to always stay humble: never think that you have a perfect understanding of your customers. Your market is in constant change, and you need to keep up with it to achieve success

 Investing in a small market research can give you a better understanding of your current and potential customers.

If you know how to use Google Drive, you won’t need to spend a dollar. Create a short survey and send it by email to your current and potential clients. If they aren’t answering it, you can let them know that the first 10 to answer will receive a reward (it can be a free product or a special discount of some sort).

#CaminoTip
If you want to survey a large number of people, if you aren’t sure what to ask or what to do with the results, hire a professional that will do all the hard work for you. This can cost around $500.

Return on investment

It will depend on what you do with the study results (you can improve a product or service, expand your product offering, etc.). The return may not be immediate, but in the medium and long term, the information you gather will be vital when increasing your sales and achieving success.

At the end of the day, this option can give you a huge return on investment: keep up with the market, and you’ll have more clients than you think you could.

4. Promotional Items and Gifts (it can cost from $500 to $2,000)

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You can’t deny that you have at least one branded pen at your office or home. 

The promotional items that you can give to your customers are incredibly valuable and have amazing results. This practice has existed practically since the Jurassic times and is still relevant to this day because it works.

Regarding these promotionals, keep in mind the following:

  • They are your brand ambassadors, so make sure to buy quality items.
  • Make sure you have enough to give them to all the customers you want.
  • Ensure they are respectful of the environment.
  • Decide the cost of these gifts depending on the average invoice of your clients.
  • Don’t gift promotional items only to your “best clients,” but to everyone (I think that concept of “best clients” must be banished, all of your customers are your best clients). It’s not about spending thousands on gifts but about showing your customers that you care about them.

Return on investment

Customers will greatly appreciate this gift, and, believe it or not, the gifts pay for themselves by increasing your sales. Imagine they’re like having your own billboards that go everywhere: every time the customer takes their promotional item somewhere (a pen, a mug, a shirt …), other people will see it and discover your brand. 

This, of course, translates into more customers and increased sales.

For example:

If you have a coffee shop, you could give away reusable plastic cups. The approximate cost is $5 per cup. If your client buys coffee to go, they will have paid for that cup after a few visits. Plus, when the client arrives at the office with their tasty coffee, the smell will wake everyone up, and they’ll see your brand printed on the cup: they won’t hesitate to buy one cuppa joe from you too.

5. Invest in your “council of wise men” (it can cost from $2,000 to $5,000)

make money with money, investments: camino financial

It might be silly, but I like to call my advisors (I have tax, labor, accounting, and financial advisors) my “council of wise men.” No matter how small your business is, it is always good to have an accountant, a lawyer, and even someone from PR to help you with any questions or needs. All these advisors will help you grow and thrive.

Of course, for a small business, this doesn’t mean hiring them and having to pay salaries every month. Rather, it means you can approach them whenever you need them and pay for those individual advising sessions. 

If you have a larger business, I recommend hiring people to fill these positions or hiring an agency that offers them.

I spend around $3,000 a year on my council of wise men (and women!). This sounds like a lot, but they actually give me a discount because I have a small business. 

This is a very important investment for any business (no matter your industry or size).

#CaminoTip
In addition, you can also take advantage of the thousands of free resources online (like this article) to train yourself in business strategies. It takes effort but learning is invaluable.

Return on investment

  • A tax advisor minimizes your tax payment and can also defend you in the event of a tax audit: you’ll save money.
  • A financial advisor maximizes the profitability of your investment: you’ll earn money.
  • An HR advisor avoids legal conflicts (that are very expensive) with your employees: you’ll have happy employees, which means more profits.
  • An accounting consultant will save you hours and hours you’d spend when doing your taxes (remember, your time is money). They also keep up to date with all the accounting news required by the government (so you don’t have to spend that time studying tax regulations that can change every year).

6. Invest in your team (it can cost from $5,000 to $10,000)

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The continuous training of your employees is vital so that your business is successful. 

Sometimes, your employees will need certain certifications or training that can be expensive. Still, it’s worth it (that’s what Angel did in his shop, he invested his Camino financial loan in necessary training and certifications so that he could meet all legal requirements).

Invest in your team and their professional development. Research with your advisers (and with your own employees) the best training courses. You will notice the difference in the progress of your company.

And I am not only talking about professional progress. Go the extra mile. Gift them a spa session, a gym membership, a $50 gift card… remember that raising morale is as important a motivation to keep your business running. For example, at Camino Financial, every month, we raffle special prices among employees.

You can also talk to your employees about their retirement plans or health insurance. Help them with their investment strategy.

Return on investment

A trained and motivated team is a profitable team: don’t forget that motivated employees work harder and sell more. 

Also, a business with all its certifications is more attractive to customers: they’ll know that you consider it important to offer the best possible service. And that translates into more profits.

7. Gastronomic events (it can cost from $6,000 to $12,000)

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How about if you host one or two events a month and invite 10 clients? Or do you prefer to have an annual event where everyone attends?

I remember that in my business, one year, we organized early breakfasts once a month, and each time 10 different clients came. Of course, it was not just about eating, but we prepared a small 15-minute talk about something that would provide them real value or important information about their industry.

Return on investment

Networking can give you a huge professional boost, and it always pays off in sales. This will also help your customers become more loyal to your brand.

And that’s not it: you can receive ideas to improve your business, new lines of business, and even unexpected alliances that can help you grow further. 

8. Buy new machinery (it can cost from $10,000 to $125,000)

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The price of the equipment you need to buy will depend a lot on your industry. It may be just buying new computers, which is a relatively small investment, or buying new heavy machinery for your construction business, for example.

Never underestimate the power of having new or up-to-date machinery. 

For example, Rafael and María Reinoso are the owners of a smog check shop, but they were not having as many clients as they expected. They needed to upgrade their Vehicle emissions control equipment urgently. Once they bought the new machinery, their sales began to improve.

Return on investment

A business that has up-to-date equipment can be more competitive in the market. It may be a big investment, but it can lead to sales that you never expected.

9. Expand your business or add a new location (it can cost from $100,000 to $200,000)

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Wow! This type of investment is already much larger and requires much more work on your part. But just as it involves high costs (both money and time), it can translate into a  huge return on investment. 

If you have a consolidated business, you will have many opportunities to expand your offices or open new locations. 

For example, you know when TV series have such a popular character that they create their own show (a “spin-off”)? Well, this is kind of the same thing. 

Pay attention to your sales to see if some of your products or services are big enough to open another small business that revolves around them. Or see if your product or service could be a big hit in some other neighborhood. Or maybe you have so many sales that your store is too small, and you need to expand.

For example, take a look at Celso. He needed a loan to expand his business and make it more attractive to his community. With a loan, he managed to make the investment he had planned, and now he is a social benchmark in his area.

Return on investment

The reality is that investing your money will always bring you more profit than simply having it in the bank. If you have the cash you need (or are willing to take out a loan) and you know that expanding your business is a very profitable option, go for it.

Of course, you should be cautious. It is always good to take decisions with a cool head and inform yourself before making any decisions. Creating a good business plan will allow you to make this entire process much more effective and will allow you to earn more money.

10. Invest in the growth of other businesses (it can cost from $150,000 to $300,000)

make money with money, investments: camino financial

We are already entering the big-bucks investments. These are much more specialized and more expensive, but these investments can also give you enormous amounts of profit.

Being a business owner will allow you to be in contact with other types of businesses (maybe the businesses of your clients, suppliers, or partners), and you not only are aware of them, but you kind of understand them.

In some cases, these businesses have stagnated and need a financial push to grow to the next level. You can become an investor that can help this business grow.

(Or if your business is the one that needs investors, here’s a post on how to get them.)

Return on investment

Investing in a consolidated business has less risk than investing in a new business. It’s fairly easy to estimate the profits (but don’t forget that past profits don’t ensure future profits). The good thing is that you have the knowledge of the industry and a good relationship with that client, partner, or supplier. 

11. Investing in startups (it can cost $400,000 approximately)

make money with money, investments: camino financial

A startup is a company that is just starting out (imagine it’s just a baby). That is why it has a high need for investments, but it also has enormous growth potential. These businesses need external investments to grow and reach their full potential. You can be the one who offers this money (you would be becoming an investor in the company).

Return on investment

The growth of startups is exponential: they are scalable (this means that they increase their sales without increasing their costs). 

If you find a successful startup, the return on investment can be very high. But the truth is that it’s not easy to find them; they’re like unicorns. 

#CaminoTip
Investment contracts are very complex, so I recommend you seek the help of experts on the subject.

12. Investing in franchises (it can cost $400,000 approximately)

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In another article, we’ve already discussed the best restaurant franchises: they are an excellent investment option. 

If you don’t have the capital to open your own franchise, this does not mean that it’s “game over” for you. You can find other investment partners: each of you will invest a percentage of the cost, and together you’ll open the franchise. 

Return on investment

Franchises are established businesses that are proven profitable. Any franchise will have documents and studies that will allow you to understand the returns you will get.

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Other eight types of investment you can make as a small business owner

How to get the capital to make these investments

make money with money, investments: camino financial

As you can see, it’s not that hard to enter the world of small and medium investments. Of course, as you may have noticed, it is advisable to think about them calmly and always ask an expert advisor’s opinion. 

Fortunately, you have us to help you on your business journey!

If you need extra capital to make your investments a reality, the best way to do it is with a loan.

Many business owners don’t like the idea of taking out a loan. But the truth is that they’re not scary: they’re something quite normal. From microbusinesses to multinationals, everyone finances their investments with loans.

And what better than asking for a loan with a business that can become your financial partner for life:

At Camino Financial, we are dedicated to helping small businesses grow and become more successful. We have loans that range from $5,000 to $400,000 that adapt to any of your business needs.

Fill out our application today to find out if you qualify for a loan. Best of all, the application won’t hurt your credit score.

Apply today and start making your investments a reality

 

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