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Business Investments that Pay Off

Written by Chandler Austin | Tue,Mar 15, 2011 @ 04:00 PM

From Entrepreneur magazine, here are ten of the top investments in which business owners can get the best return for their money.

Publicity
Prior to opening a bakery called Cinnaholic, the owner launched a blog chronicling the details and challenges surrounding the process of opening. This led to coverage in popular regional publications, and the opening was a huge success.

Customer Research
Before launching the online scrubs and medical uniforms retailer Scrubadoo.com, the owner used online-survey services to poll healthcare professionals about their preferences. This lead to better decisions about inventory and marketing.

Automation
Scrubadoo.com made a $1500 investment in software to automate the ordering system that paid for itself in three to four months.

Outsourcing
Not every task needs to be done in-house. If you can generate more money in an hour spent doing these tasks than it would cost you to pay someone to do it for you, you're losing money.

Better Bookkeeping
Keeping your books well organized, via a freelancer or accounting software, can keep your credit history sterling and help when negotiating for better terms with vendors and rates on lines of credit.

Training
Essential to tasks you keep in-house. Business-intelligence consulting firm, Piraeus Data upped internal training and productivity surged.

Technology
Cinnaholic opted for a $600 iPad equipped with Square, a free app and reader that turns iPad, iPhone, and Android devices into credit card payment systems with no contracts or merchant account required. Not only cheaper than a cash register, the novel approach got them publicity.

Sales Data
Piraeus Data uses a customer-relationship management tool from Salesforce.com, resulting in more comprehensive and current customer data. This increased the frequency of customer contact, client meetings and revenue.

'Scope Creep' Curbs
Piraeus Data spent approximately $20,000 in billable hours to analyze and evaluate projects that grew beyond original expectations, saving them nearly $200,000.

Quality Suppliers
An ideal vendor will not only work to keep your business by keeping prices reasonable and provide timely deliveries, you may even benefit from pitching their products or services.

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