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Investments your business can’t live without

Industry News

Planning your 2012 budget? Here are steps to boost your ROI.

Inc.com | October 13, 2011

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.
"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," said Lavinsky.

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

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

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

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 in sales, they may need a CFO, but they can't afford them," said 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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