When you decide to buy or develop content, assure that you respect your own money, time, and effort as investments, rather than expenses. Learn to recognize an investment versus an expense, and learn to think in terms of investing your business’ money, rather than just spending it. Once you train yourself to see the investment value of your content, you will enjoy greater focus and precision in your content purchase and development decisions.
Learn to Distinguish Investments from Expenses
Investments, when properly managed, yield returns (return on investment, or ROI). Expenses, on the other hand, yield a null or negative ROI, draining your resources.
By reviewing your past content’s ROI, formally or informally, you will learn to discern between content that yields a high, versus low ROI. For example, content that I developed to contribute to our own business, in the past, sometimes took the form of cold call query letters or emails. This time-consuming process rarely led to larger, high return projects. We wrote them off as expenses and stepped back to see how we could better invest our resources.
We quickly saw that our highest returns came from repeat customers and referrals (new customers who had heard about us from our existing customers). Less than 30% of our overall income came from cold call query efforts. In addition, we noted that our most difficult clients… the late payers, poor communicators, rambling chit-chatters, and rule-breakers… all came from cold call queries.
We decided that those clients would best find satisfaction elsewhere. Focusing on different clients increased our ROI and surely benefitted those clients who were poor fits for our services.
Once we focused only on high ROI clients, whether through referrals, cold call queries, or new marketing strategies, we found ourselves enjoying more income. Additionally, we now benefit from working with more responsible, focused, enthusiastic, productive, and proactive clients. They are our best investment.
Investment Driven Decisions
Sherré DeMao, the Founder, President, and Chief Marketeer of SLD Unlimited Marketing/PR, Inc. warned against an expense-oriented vision of resource management:
“If everything is viewed as an expense, then decisions are based not on a growth model but rather a survival model… The key is to know and understand the difference between what is an expense to your business and what is an investment in your business. In research…comparing high-growth companies to stagnant or negative-growth companies…after 9/11 and the 2002-2003 downturn, growth companies continued to invest… In spite of the economy, … [they] … simply continued doing what they knew was essential based on their growth strategy. The result literally cushioned the economic blow and allowed them to grow” (DeMao, 2010).
Keep investment driven decisions at the helm of your business. Consider the words of executive entrepreneur and mentor, Mike Harden (2015), from his post, “Understanding the Difference Between an Investment and an Expense,” in the Huffington Post’s Blog. He summed up investment driven decision making for business: “Viewing all spending as investments instead of expenses will help guide better decisions.”
Your Turn: Investment or Expense?
Before you and your business invest in content, think about the return that it will yield. If it will not yield ROI, consider it an expense, rather than an investment. Ask yourself some questions about your content, in terms of its investment value:
- Are clients clicking away from your content without reading it?
- Are they responding to your content’s call to action?
- Does your content attract traffic that generates unprofitable work for you?
- Do you have content that simply receives no visitors?
If you can answer, “yes,” to any of these questions, you may have an expense, rather than an investment. If you want it to sustain your business, you will need to decide how to modify it to turn it into an asset, or simply dump it. Look carefully at your existing content and make sure that you have a winning investment.
Look carefully at your existing content and make sure that you have a winning investment. Make your content development decisions, whether in-house or purchased from third parties, with an investment-driven mindset, and your content decisions will support your business goals.
- DeMao, S. 2010. When Expenses Are Really Investments: Companies that grow during tough times know the difference. Entrepreneur (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/206186), Reviewed 24 May 2016.
- Harden, M. 2015. Understanding the Difference Between an Investment and an Expense. The Huffington Post Blog (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-harden/understanding-the-differe_b_7176312.html), Reviewed 24 May 2016.