Business investments come in many forms: financial products, buildings, equipment, inventory, and so on. Each of these assets requires a commitment of resources, but savvy business owners realize that a smart investment will pay off in the long run.

Following are four investments to consider that are likely to benefit your business.

1. Your Reputation

Having a good reputation is critical for small businesses, especially in the age of social media where anyone can leave a positive or negative review for everyone else to read. Invest some of your time into managing your online reputation, or consider paying a reputation management specialist. Offering great products/services and paying close attention to customer service can go a long way toward keeping your reputation positive.

"Having worked with thousands of businesses, I have seen businesses grow as their reputations improve," says Henri Isenberg at Forbes.1 "Conversely, I have seen businesses decline in sales when their reputations were sullied. As sage leaders and investors throughout the ages have pointed out: It's a good practice to invest in your reputation. By investing in your name, your good business reputation should make your business more resilient in these trying economic times."

2. Efficiency

Improving efficiency should pay off in the long run through saved time and better utilized resources and manpower. Look for ways to reduce redundancy or streamline operations to cut out wasted time and effort. You might be able to accomplish this with minimal monetary investment by rearranging tasks among team members or consolidating certain roles. Technology might help you automate tasks and free up time for other ones. Talking to a consultant might help you pinpoint areas where efficiency can be improved.

SCORE suggests delegating small things, automating processes and workflows, consolidating tasks, and using available tools for things like fulfillment issues, streamlined meetings, hiring improvements, and accounting.2

3. Your Staff

Invest in the team that keeps your business running each day. Many businesses today are finding it incredibly hard to hire and retain quality employees, so invest in keeping them satisfied with their job if you value them and hope to keep them around. One way to invest in your team is to give pay raises, but you can also consider new benefits and perks that make your company a more attractive place to work.

Evaluate health insurance offerings and retirement packages. Look into possible perks that you can offer. These are only worth offering if employees are interested, however. Perhaps you can come up with different options and let employees weigh in on which they'd prefer. Knowing that you value their input is a good way to foster goodwill

4. Your Community

Small businesses are the lifeblood of any community, and conversely, the community where you operate provides your business with customers and employees, so it’s important to nurture this symbiotic relationship.

"Providing communities with meaningful economic opportunities improves the quality of life where your employees live, work, and raise their families," says Telus International CEO Jeff Pruitt at Harvard Business Review.3 "This is both the right thing to do and a fantastic way to make sure your business has ongoing access to an educated, qualified, and diverse talent pool. Nothing would make me happier than to see our employees’ children and grandchildren become future team members."

Investing in your community can also help your brand and your reputation among the local population, who are the people likely to be your best customers.

When you invest in the people with whom you work, the reputation of your company, more efficient operations, and the community in which you do business, good things are likely to happen. Spend time and money where it will make the biggest difference, and it should help your business thrive.






The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC