Money to Grow On–10 Spending Guidelines for Speakers
One of the biggest decisions in most businesses is how to spend profits wisely to grow the business, and how to stay profitable when the economy slows and clients cling to their cash. For speaking businesses of almost any size, consider these 10 key guidelines in deciding where to cut corners—and when to invest the rest.
1 Will it improve the quality of your product, service, or client experience?
Our company has 20 full-length (two-day) communication training programs, in addition to my keynotes. That means as soon as we finish the updating cycle, it’s time to start over again! Updating costs money, but our clients value quality and up-to-date research.
2 Will it positively or negatively affect the customer’s decision to buy?
Some decisions are about image. I recall hosting a two-day event in our training center for which registrants had paid several thousand dollars. A new team member was handling the details. At noon on the first day, I noticed that the caterer had delivered the food and left plastic utensils! By the next day, we had switched caterers—upgraded food, flatware and table décor. Impressions count.
3 Is this a short-term or long-term solution?
Maybe you can spend $5,000 today to solve a problem for a year—or $10,000 today to solve a problem (or extend your growth) for five years. Understand cash flow and know your long-term strategy.
4 Where’s the leverage in this expenditure?
As a new business owner, if I had the cash, I typically made the $10,000 decision in the previous situation. Later, I learned to consider when the short-term option might be better—if I could leverage that remaining $5,000 to grow the business.
5 Will it increase productivity?
Far too many speakers fail to take into account the time spent “for the little things.” So, instead of creating more content, writing the next book, developing the marketing campaign, improving their keynote, they’re sending out invoices or opening mail. Hire someone to help with this.
6 Is the expenditure revenue-related or forever overhead?
Ben Franklin was right: A penny saved is a penny earned. Watch those expenses that improve your operations (an additional staff member here, a gadget upgrade there) yet gobble up cash that could go into revenue-producing projects.
7 Is this a fad or a trend?
In spending money, stay away from the bleeding-edge. Technology prices today come down, they don’t go up.
8 Will it develop your people?
Train the long-termers. My rule of thumb is three years. If someone has been around longer than that, I invest.
9 What are the tax implications?
Taxes impact everything. Go figure.
10 Is this about ego and comfort?
Personal preference here: I never spend money just to feel good about myself or to create an image. But with regard to comfort, I’ve discovered that following guidelines 1 through 9 above allows me to ease the stress of travel and a hectic schedule, and to enjoy a comfortable, healthful life.