Small Business and Developmental Investments

Every progressive individual knows the importance of making futuristic investments. But when it comes to business most entrepreneurs rarely invest in themselves and their people as much as they make investments into machinery and technology. The primary reason being the latter is more tangible than the former. But aren’t entrepreneurs the right people to prepare for the future? Is it sensible to run a business with under prepared resources? Why is it so difficult for entrepreneurs to make developmental investments? Why do they find it difficult to make investments into strategy and planning, learning and development, and research and development?

I am not sure if entrepreneurs really spend time strategizing their growth plans regularly. If you are one of those who do sharpen your axe every year (if not more frequently) then as part of the exercise also look at what investments you would love to make this year towards developmental initiatives. The quantum is less significant than the intent. While spending money seems to be the primary stumbling block in making these decisions – ideally they should not be! Why? Because typically in every enterprise there is already a lot of resources deployed but not used! Surprised, here is a quick example: An entrepreneur incubated at any reasonable university campus typically has access to faculty, classes, library, and workshops. Have you attended any of these? Have you nominated any of your people to attend these and bring some value back to your enterprise? Does that require any money at all? In most cases it doesn’t and even if you have to spend some money it is too little to warrant even a discussion – then why is it that entrepreneurs don’t push themselves or their team members towards development? It is primarily because of a lack of understanding, rather than all the reasons being voiced. First get the intent right – then the decisions will be much easier to make. In some cases when the enterprise has grown bigger, one may be required to hire a coach or a mentor for the CEO or the senior management team – even this investment if rightly channeled will lead to improved leadership.

Hence this year please look at what initiatives you and your team will take to develop yourselves into a much stronger team so as to use the engine you have developed and fine tune it into a much more capable vehicle so that you can take it to greater heights. I have met a few forward looking CEOs and they focus on this area as an important aspect of their growth strategy. Their advice is strictly never to measure these investments in the short term. But that does not do away measuring them. They have to be done right so as to derive the relevant benefits.

So what are you investing in this year?

Think about it!

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