4 business upgrades to finally invest in this summer
Been holding off on business investments? Here are 4 upgrades that could be well worth the cost.
Sponsored by the American Express Platinum Business Card. Earn 200,000 Membership Rewards® Bonus Points when you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new American Express Platinum Business Card within 3 months of your approval date. Available for new American Express Card Members only.
If you're a business owner, you'll know first hand just how challenging the last 18 months have been. But with normality in sight, businesses may have some time to pick up a few projects that were put on hold due to COVID. For some, that could mean making some long-awaited business investments. But what should you splash out on first?
Of course, the most suitable investments will vary between businesses and you're going to have the best insight into which ones are right for you. However, there are a few areas that are always worth paying attention to, no matter which line of business you're in. Here are just a few of them.
Depending on the specific upgrade, new equipment could expand and diversify your offering or it could improve productivity and efficiency within your business. It can also help with staff morale, particularly if your employees are frustrated by outdated tech or tools.
Sarah and David Megginson experienced this first-hand recently, when they invested in a new dishwasher for their business, Easy Street Diner, on the Gold Coast.
"It was quite a big investment but it impacted every area of the business – from food preparation through to customer service and even staff morale," said Sarah. "Plus, whenever the old one stopped working, we'd be paying skilled workers to hand-wash dishes, and the cost would have quickly outpaced even the fanciest of dishwashers."
The duo initially put the expense on their business card, collecting points on the purchase (which they usually redeem for flights) and making use of the interest-free repayment period.
These interest-free periods give credit and charge card members some breathing space between making a purchase and actually paying for it. You'll have to pay the account balance off by each statement's due date though, to be eligible for the interest-free days.
For example, the American Express Platinum Business Card gives Card Members up to 55 days to pay for purchases as long as they're not carrying forward a balance1. Business owners can also earn up to 2.25 points for every $1 spent, so if you use your Card to pay for the equipment you'll collect points on your purchase2.
You can then redeem those points for a wide range of personal or business rewards. For example, you could swap 20,000 points for a $100 gift card to a major retailer such as Amazon, David Jones or Myer3.
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Whether it's for yourself or your employees, investing in professional development can ensure your business is delivering the best service possible to customers.
"People expect businesses to be rolling out the latest techniques and product offerings," said business consultant Jody Nichols. "That may mean investing in conferences or trade magazines or subscriptions – whatever keeps you informed of changes in your industry is worthwhile."
Even if there are no trade-specific skills that are appropriate right now, there are plenty of skills you can work on to improve your own abilities as a business owner, such as IT courses or leadership workshops.
"We have seen clients with shockingly poor IT knowledge who cannot keep up in our increasingly digital world. But with some training, they absolutely could," said Jody. "It would fundamentally improve their business – and their customers' experience of their business."
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Although it might feel comfortable, old technology could be holding your business back. While implementing new technology and processes can take time, it's essential to long-term success.
In fact, Telstra's 2020 Business Intelligence Report found that 70% of small businesses recognise technology as an essential part of remaining competitive. Two-fifths (40%) admitted they are worried they need to catch up with competitors when it comes to technology.
Jake Munday is the CEO of lighting retailer Custom Neon. He told Finder that investing in innovating technologies is a must for ambitious businesses – but it's a constant battle.
"The digital world is constantly evolving, and consumer expectations often advance faster than a lot of businesses are able to keep up with," he said.
"This reality has led to the proliferation of numerous new tools, apps and technologies, all developed to help businesses gain or retain an edge against the competition. It's very much 'innovate or stagnate' in this sector, meaning constant investment is required."
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Have you heard talk about "The Great Resignation" in the media recently? Some experts claim we're in a rare moment in history when employees are leaving their workplaces in droves. Combined with severely suppressed immigration, finding valuable workers – and keeping them – has become harder than ever.
Even retaining long-term employees is tough. During the pandemic, many either lost hours, faced job insecurity or, in some cases, were overloaded with work during a mentally draining time. Now that things are getting back to normal, ramping up your employee perks could be an important step towards ensuring workplace happiness.
Flexible work practices, mental health days and employee rewards can all help.
It doesn't have to be expensive either. The American Express Platinum Business Card offers members up to 99 Employee Cards for no additional fee4. You can also extend certain perks and privileges to employees, including access to airport lounges and VIP benefits at partner hotels.
You stand to benefit as a business owner too. By having all your employee expenses in one place, you can streamline your finances and get real-time data on employee spend.