If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you probably have a business plan which defines what you plan to invest into your business. This usually includes things like materials, equipment, staff costs and a marketing and advertising budget.

But what about investing in yourself? Do you have a budget for that? If not, you could be failing to invest in the most important tool for growth your business has – YOU!

Remember ‘You are your business‘ and a business grows in direct proportion to the amount you grow as an individual.

In the late 17th century, Louis XIV of France, also known as The Sun King, is reported to have declared “L’etat, cest moi” – which translates into English as “I am the State”. In part, Louis was simply saying that he was in charge of everything – no surprise in an absolute monarchy! But he was also saying something else – that the state depended on him for its wellbeing: when Louis thrives, the state thrives, when Louis has a problem, the state has a problem.

If you’re an entrepreneur, sole trader or director of a small business, it would be very true to say, “The Business is Me”. Without you driving things forward, in the early stages, literally nothing happens.

So the question we have for you today is:

“How much are you currently investing in your business’ number one asset – you?”

To grow your business all you need is four things

1. Clear, definable goals

2. A strategy to make those goals happen (e.g. effective marketing to win more business)

3. Consistent implementation of the strategy

4. The ability to adapt and tweak the strategy for more effective results

This is good news – but it’s also bad news.

The bad news is that as owner/director, all of these things depend on your knowledge and mindset. If you don’t have that knowledge – or you have incomplete knowledge – your progress will be extremely limited.

The good news is, the knowledge you need can be acquired quite easily – it’s not rocket science. But it needs investment – of time and money, to learn what you need to learn, in an efficient way so you can start making a difference in your business quickly.

You may be thinking Can’t I Just Delegate or Outsource?

A key skill in management is the ability to hire people with the skills you don’t have, and make them responsible for delivering what’s needed, whether that’s products and services to your customers, or growing the business.

But in the early stages if you are the only person in your business, who are you going to delegate to?

The ‘growth trap’ is a common problem for a lot of businesses: you can’t grow the business until you employ more people but you can’t employ more people until you grow the business and make money to pay them.

Outsourcing is a good idea for ‘housekeeping’ functions like accounting, IT or cleaning. But how do you outsource your vision for the company, setting strategic goals and winning new business? These are things that really cannot be delegated to someone else.

Investing in your number one resource is key. It’s essential to stop thinking about business training as an indulgence or an add-on extra ‘when you get time’ and to start thinking about it as a vital investment in your business.

Counting the Cost

When you’re starting out it’s understandable to try and avoid unnecessary business costs. But you need to weigh up the benefits that business training will bring against the cost to your business of NOT training.

One way to evaluate this is to ask yourself how much you would pay to see your business growing the way you want it to grow? The answer should give you a clue to how much your self-investment budget should be.

Return on investment longer term

Remember when investing in yourself the long term skills acquired can pay you back for many years to come, take marketing for example if you invested to improve in this area, the skill sets stay with you for many years to come and can add value in future business ventures by expanding your knowledge it always provided long term gains.

Becoming a person of value

A final thought that can help you to gain more success and growth in your life, is that in order for you to gain more success you have to become a person of value to others, with every skillset added you become more valuable to others because people buy solutions and results, you add to your ‘value’ with every new skillset you acquire. Remember when you have more value to add to others, gaining recognition for your value brings you new clients and ultimately more sales for your ventures becomes easier and more simple.