You’ve probably seen ads like these in your Facebook sidebar or just about anywhere else on the web:
“Buy this cash machine formula, and triple your profits in 24 HOURS!”
“Unlimited wealth. Total freedom. 2 hour work week. Guaranteed.”
Ads. They’re everywhere we go – and they promise the world. And for the most part, things like this are bogus.
I know you’re too savvy to be swindled by scammers who post crap like that. You’re looking for smarter, real ways to grow your business.
But how do you know if the program you’re considering is a good one?
It can be a challenge to find the product or program that fits your needs perfectly and delivers real results.
I’ve made some not-so-great investments along the way, some under $100 and some much, much more. With experience, I’ve learned how to invest wisely. I’m no longer diving into something simply because it’s the shiny product of the day. Instead, I’m spending on things I really need.
Before you jump headfirst into an investment you may be considering, learn from my mistakes. Run through this checklist before you hit BUY NOW one more time.
My 3 Step Formula for Making Smart Business Investments
Step 1: Make sure it’s exactly what you need right now
Before you look at a program or service, look at your business. What’s currently holding you back from greater success? Where do you have a knowledge gap? What do you need to help you reach your next goal or close your gap?
After you consider your needs, look for something to solve your particular problem. It may or may not be the shiny product of the day.
Starting here helps you steer clear of buying something that’s popular but won’t really serve you or your business at this moment. Instead, you’ll be diving into something that will help where you need it most.
Step 2: Make sure it fits your availability
If you do find something that closes your gap, make sure that the program’s work and time requirements fit your availability.
Don’t set yourself up for overwhelm or failure. Instead, make sure you’re able to tackle the learning and implementation required to succeed in the program (without totally stressing out).
Grab your calendar and block out the necessary hours to ensure you’re able to follow-through. This will definitely increase your chance of success with your new investment.
Although some programs have live components, most also offer downloadable recordings. So it’s becoming less important that you’re live on the calls and more important that you make the time to listen and keep up.
Step 3: Make sure it fits your budget
Last but not least, make sure the program fits your budget! I never recommend racking up tons of debt (I’m a bit conservative that way), but I know it’s a common way to get a small business off the ground.
(The lawyers want me to remind you that I’m not a financial professional. You should seek professional advice before making big financial decisions. That said, I’ve found that having a 0% card on hand just in case was comforting when I was starting out, for things just like this.)
When it comes to online program pricing, I find some people don’t bat an eye at the prices they see. Others find pricing exorbitant. I want to offer this perspective.
Think for a moment about a product-based business or brick and mortar businesses. It’s expensive to get those businesses going, and it’s really time-consuming. But to start an online service-based business like what most of my clients run, it costs practically nothing to get started. This often sets people up to think they can start making money out of thin air. However, it’s these zero startup cost businesses that need to invest in other areas, like actually learning about business!
Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Tweet that!
So if you’re an online business, don’t shy away from making necessary investments, especially in areas where you have specific knowledge gaps. But do make sure you check with Step #1 so your investment is the right one. There’s nothing more frustrating than jumping into the wrong thing.
One quick calculation you can do is think about the return you expect to make on your investment. Do you think you can at least make back the investment amount from the program? For me, that’s a good gauge, though sometimes challenging to calculate. At the same time, it can serve as a huge motivator for me to get the most out of the money I’ve spent by working to earn it back.
Of course, there are also the less calculatables that we need to invest in. Training for your skillset. Life coaching. Bookkeeping. When it comes to calculating a financial return, these are pretty difficult to put numbers on. At the same time, they’re absolutely necessary! If we’re in our own way, we need a life coach. We need bookkeeping. And training to be great at what our craft.
My Worst and Best Investments
I mentioned earlier that I’ve made some not-so-stellar business investments along my journey. Thankfully I’m rather frugal, so I didn’t go bankrupt over my poor decisions. However, a lackluster investment does happen to the best of us and leaves us disheartened.
The important thing to note about business investments that don’t go well is that it’s not always about the program. It’s often about us. Our efforts don’t always rise to what’s necessary to succeed in the program.
Just like the scammy, spammy get-rich-quick ads we see online, we sometimes think we can take a program and *POOF* business is now making millions! It just doesn’t work that way.
We have to put in the effort to see the return. And when we do that with a smart investment, it can be a game-changer.
You’ve heard me mention it before, but that’s what Marie Forleo’s B-School was for me. A game-changer.
I took my investment seriously. I made the time to work through the material. And I took action on what I learned.
The result? To date I’ve earned back my investment over 250x.
Want to learn more about B-School and see if it’s right for you? Check out my 100% honest, up-to-date review (one of the top reviews on Google).
It’s Your Turn
Now, as always, I’d love to hear from you! Please tell me…
How have your business investments panned out?
What is the most amazing investment you’ve made in your business?
What’s one piece of wisdom you’d like to share about how to make smart business investments?
I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got in the comments below!