10 Investments Your Business Should Consider in 2020
The world is a different place than it was in previous decades. Computer capabilities have grown, industries have seen advances they never expected and, undoubtedly, your business has changed as well. That means 2020 is an opportunity to invest in areas of your business you’ve always wanted to, along with a few new places.
In the 2020 Small Business Growth Index put out by Capital One, researchers found around 64% of business owners think current business conditions are good to excellent, and few are concerned over a recession. With confidence high, it’s a good time to invest in aspects of your business you may have neglected in the past.
Even if you have extra cash to invest in your company and you know you should, it can be difficult to know just where to put those funds. Fortunately, there are some investments that will help grow your business in 2020 and beyond.
1. Upgrade Communication Systems
The Pew Research Center reports that millennials comprise 35% of the labor force, making them the largest generation of workers in America. Companies need to put away their outdated communication methods and upgrade to adapt to the younger workers coming in (the oldest in Gen Z have also reached adulthood). A mobile-first communications approach is a smart move and can be implemented by creating an app for your employees or utilizing some of the communication programs already available.
2. Automate Storage
If you work with any type of digital content or on big projects for customers, automated storage is a must. Invest in a tool such as Slack or Basecamp so everyone on the team can see what’s been completed, and you have a central hub where files reside. If one designer’s computer crashes, all isn’t lost. You can simply download the most current file. Project management solutions also give your clients peace of mind that their completed work will reside in a safe location should they need to download it again.
3. Prepare for Disaster
There are times when a natural disaster knocks out your power, or there is a blackout in the area. Imagine a store full of customers, a restaurant filled with diners or an office space where you’re trying to meet a deadline. Without power, there isn’t much you can do to fulfill the needs of your buyers. You don’t have to spend a fortune to solve this problem. You can buy or rent a generator as needed. If you’re on a tight budget, it is often cheaper to rent a generator than to purchase one. You also won’t have the responsibility of maintenance issues.
4. Secure Your Data
This new decade brings with it smarter and savvier cybercriminals who know how to hack into systems. Small businesses are often a target because they don’t have the funds of a big corporation to invest in security. At a minimum, you should invest in some good antivirus and malware software. However, it is also a worthwhile investment to hire a security expert to audit your business and give you tips for better ways to protect your proprietary information as well as customer data.
5. Revamp Your Website
Design trends change almost constantly. The designs of even a year ago often look outdated and unattended. Freshen up your website design and show customers you understand current trends. Get rid of any pages that no longer apply to your business. Update photos to include more professional images of your products. Add your personal story. Think about what is missing that users might appreciate and would make their experience a better one.
6. Go Green
The impact business has on the environment compounds and is huge. Even though you may be one small business, you can connect with others who care about the environment and have an impact on your local community. You don’t have to spend a fortune to go green. Invest in LED bulbs to save on energy costs. Purchase low flow toilets and automatic faucets. Think of ways big and small to reduce your energy consumption.
7. Engage Employees
Each year, U.S. businesses lose about $11 billion to employee turnover costs. When an employee leaves, not only do you have expenses in recruiting another worker, but you must invest in additional training and lost time. Keeping employees engaged isn’t always easy, but you can certainly offer things workers want, even if you aren’t able to provide some of the bigger perks that corporations can. For example, a fun company culture keeps everyone happy. Paid days off to volunteer, bring your dog to work and options to work remotely top the list for many.
8. Automate Everything
Artificial intelligence (AI) has progressed rapidly in recent years, to the point where computers now think for themselves and can even reason in some situations. Look at your industry and see what processes might be able to be automated. This frees up your workers to focus on more creative aspects of the business and automates repetitive tasks. Although the initial investment in automation may cost more than you’d like, the benefits over time will more than make up for the investment.
9. Hook Into the IoT
Statista estimates by the year 2025, there will be 75.44 billion connected devices part of the Internet of Things (IoT). People carry smartphones everywhere, utilize smartwatches and talk to speakers in their homes for information and to complete tasks such as ordering pizza. As IoT devices become more commonplace, expect an explosion of tools for the workplace. Invest in these items as they appear and make sense for your business model.
10. Train Your Staff
A well-trained staff keeps your customers happy and your business humming. Don’t be afraid to train your workers and then delegate work to them. Bring in speakers who work on team building. Offer training in the latest technology in your industry. Host company retreats and talk about your mission as a business and how you can all reach goals together. Invest in different types of training so your workers are well-rounded and able to take on challenging tasks.
Know Your Business
You know your business better than anyone else. Although the 10 ideas listed above are excellent investment opportunities, you may have something else in mind. Perhaps your current location is overcrowded, and it’s time to expand. Your situation is as unique as your company story, and only you can decide the best use for your money.
Lexie is a web designer and UX strategist. She loves taking her goldendoodle on long runs and checking out local flea markets. Visit her blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.