Last week, we gave 10 ideas for ways for small business owners to spend $100 wisely. Here are 10 more to round out the list:
11. LinkedIn pro
LinkedIn is a helpful tool for businesses looking for potential talent and job seekers alike. It is also a great forum for business owners to discuss their industry with others and catch up on current industry news. LinkedIn Pro gives you the ability to view more professional profiles and reach out to users in more ways. Paid accounts also give you more search options so that you can better target the candidates or connections you’re looking for. Individuals can get a month of the service for $49.99 (but don’t forget to use the free trial first).
12. Buy stamps and stationery and write handwritten notes to customers or clients
A hand-written letter will never go out of style, no matter how advanced we get with digital communication. Showing someone that you cared enough to sit down and write them a personal message is a great way to earn trust and respect – two things you definitely want from your clients. You can pay to get personalized stationery to send notes on, or just get plain stationery that you can personalize with your message. Your “regulars” will appreciate the gesture and think of it the next time they are in need of your product or service.
13. Make something more customer friendly
In order to be successful, you should always be thinking about the needs and wants of your clients or customers. So, what are they having difficulty with? Are there no parking signs outside of your building so that they know their designated parking area? Could they use an instructional PDF that is easy to download from your website? Would a magnet with your contact information on it be easier for them to keep track of than a business card? Survey customers, if need be, and find out what they are struggling with, then put your $100 toward making their experience better.
14. Buy a magazine subscription
Some people find it easier to digest information when it is printed out and placed in front of them. While interruptions happen no matter how you choose to read industry updates, you might find a subscription to an industry publication to be more valuable to you than a constant stream of online articles. Do some research into the publications available to you, not forgetting general business publications like Entrepreneur and Forbes.
15. Join a new organization
Local organizations, whether aimed at professionals in your industry or more general groups, can be very valuable to you when it comes to attracting new leads and brainstorming new ideas for your business. For instance, my background is in public relations, and a great PR resource available in Pittsburgh is the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Ask colleagues if they are members of any professional groups that bring them true value.
16. Look at advertising options
When it comes to paid advertising, there are a lot of options. Some, like billboards and television commercials, can get quite expensive. But Facebook ads and ads in local print publications can be much more affordable. Not every opportunity will be right for your business, but every option is worth exploring.
17. Try out a new tool
This one is pretty broad – but that’s because there are ENDLESS options of online tools that have been created to help you run your business. These include online photo editing programs, project management software, or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. Think about where you struggle in your business. Design? Communication management? Project organization? Take a risk and put your $100 toward testing out a new tool.
18. Try out a competitor research tool
Getting more specific, a lot of our clients are extremely interested in competitor research. Some of this can be done manually, monitoring competitors’ online presence and taking note of tactics and keywords. But market research tools like Spyfu promise to take this to the next level, helping you to discover more competitor keywords and revamp your AdWords strategy in order to better compete.
19. Try out a social media management tool
Social networks are trying to make it easier for you to post at your convenience. Facebook has added the functionality to schedule when a post will go out. But social media management tools such as HootSuite allow you to not only schedule messages, but schedule them across platforms. These tools also come in handy if several employees manage your social presence, as it allows everyone to see when messages are scheduled to go out. Plus, on top of saving you time, HootSuite also provides you with social analytics in order to help you improve your social strategy in the future.
Ah, the cloud. Getting things done online, from anywhere. It’s a beautiful concept, and I find no other online storage solution more valuable that Dropbox (except perhaps Google Drive). Dropbox allows you to save information on one computer and access it from anywhere, using your email and password. Everything is effortlessly synched so that you’re never stuck at a conference without your presentation again. You can even access files from Dropbox’s mobile app! Dropbox has a free option, but their Dropbox for Business solution offers more storage space and multiple users. You can try out a free trial right now.
Small business owners know that $100 can go a long way for their business, and their daily ability to spend wisely affects business drastically in the long run.
So, how will you be spending your next $100?