There's a crazy phenomenon that goes on for most entrepreneurs, especially those with online businesses, it's that we tend to be suckers and think we need every device, course and resource out there to run our businesses. I don't know about you, but with all the great marketing out there, I'm often convinced I need something when I really don't.
I see it all the time. I've been to plenty of events where a really high priced email marketing system was being sold to everyone in the audience and even those who didn't have a client slapped down their credit card and bought on the spot.
Then there's the AMAZING course that comes by that has fabulous bonuses and the entrepreneur is so convinced that they need it that right then and there they plop down a payment they can't afford (for something they really don't need).
Every single week I'm talking to my clients and Expansion Coaching Club members about making better decisions about what they're spending their money on and how to invest in growing their business. I'm finally to a point with many of them that they contact me or reach out in our community to ask for a check-in as to whether they need what's being offered or not.
The problem as an entrepreneur is that we think we need everything. But the reality is we don't. There's a time and place to pay for a course, a time to hire a coach or join a coaching community and a time to purchase the higher priced email marketing system and it's up to you (or your coach) to help you know exactly when that time is.
So if you're an emerging business, let's break down what you really need for your business right now:
- Email marketing system (low cost is fine to start, MailChimp and Aweber are good options)
- Payment system or shopping cart (start with PayPal and or Stripe)
- Registration, Sales Page system (such as LeadPages.net)
- Website (and someone to help you maintain it)
- Web hosting service (BlueHost, Hostgator)
- Lead Management system
- Scheduler (I like Acuity Scheduling, TimeTrade is also low cost)
- Virtual Assistant (you can start with 3-5 hours per month to start out)
- Business Coaching (Private or Group)
And as you grow you will continue to add more or maybe upgrade what you have.
The point is, you don't need a lot to run your business and there are going to be times when you do need to purchase a course or add on to this list.
Now let's talk about making decisions about what you need and when
I don't know about you but I've gotten caught in the thinking that I need something before I'm actually ready for it. Or I buy something because it's a great deal at the time but I have so much else on my plate that I can't possibly even use it for months.
You can look at this two ways. If you see a great deal on a course or program (one that went on sale) you can buy it and bank it, meaning use it as soon as you're ready. You're basically investing in something knowing you're going to need it down the road.
Or you can wait and only buy what you need when you need it.
Now this last one may be hard because when you're an emerging business owner you think you may need everything at once. So here's how to handle the urge to buy:
- Check with your Business Coach – here's a great reason to have a coach or a community you belong to. You automatically can get feedback from an expert and your peers to help you decide if now is the right time to purchase something new. Your coach should have the experience to know what is essential to your business growth right now and should easily be able to recommend services, courses, etc. that are both necessary and cost effective options if you need them.
- Get a Spending Buddy – have a close colleague who understands your business and run a purchase buy them. You can set a buying limit for yourself, let's say anything over $100 needs to be run by your Business Coach or Spending Buddy. This way they can help you determine if you need it now. This is another reason why when you go to a live event you should bring a friend, you can then discuss if a new investment is right for you (and your friend).
- Do a Gut Check – eventually you're going to get really good at this and be able to determine if you really need to make a purchase or not. You basically ask yourself if what you're considering purchasing is necessary now or in the next 6 months. If it's not then you sleep on it. If the answer is still true the next day then you know you can wait. However if you can't see any reason to make the purchase and know you've got a really good “feeling” that the investment is going to pay off – then go ahead and make the purchase.
Spending for your business should be something you get used to. You're going to need to make decisions frequently about what you need and when. The sooner you get used to this the easier it will become.
Lastly, don't forget that most business expenses are tax deductible (check with your CPA about which ones are), so even though it might feel like you can't afford a purchase, depending on what and how you purchase you may be spending less than you think in the long run.
Now it's your turn. I'd love to hear how you handle spending for your business and how you make decisions about what to purchase when. Do you freak out or do you just slap down your credit card knowing that you'll make the investment back? Let me know in the comments below.