Monday, March 9, 2009


When we think about investments, we normally think about them in terms of property,equities or bonds. The current economic climate dictates that the market for these investment assets is very weak at present. When you couple this with negative consumer sentiment and the continuing uncertainty, immediate new opportunities for these products looks bleak.

That said, it is probably a good time to review your existing investments. If you were running your own business, you would certainly be scrutinizing your cost-base at present and be looking for more cost effective solutions to reduce overheads.

The 'easiest' investment opportunity is the one where the least amount of effort is required. We tend to pass our hard earned cash on to someone who will advise us on where we should be putting our money for future growth. In the current environment, it may be a good idea to consider investing more of that money, in yourself.

If you ask yourself the question "How can I add value to my business/career for the long term?", you will probably come up with an answer that incorporates some sort of immediate sacrifice and hard work. The trouble with this is that the results may not be tangible or easily measured any time soon, but if you have a plan and put the effort in the long term pay-off will be worth it.

If you are a business owner you may need to sit down and write a 5 year plan. Running your business on a year to year basis is not a good place to be at. In boom times this may work out fine but when things start to head south, it is hard to adjust to the circumstances with any degree of pace. It may even be necessary to alter or change the current business model that you adopt.

So, what can you invest in? Perhaps it is a good time to (i) promote staff development (ii) invest in new technology or equipment (iii) get to know your customers better (iv) advertise or (v) diversify into a totally new uncorrelated business. Any one of these has the potential to add to the value of your business assets.

If you are an employee, you could just as easily substitute the word 'career' for business and diversify your skills to include things like (i) an additional language (ii) computer literacy (iii) personal finance education or (iv) work on any perceived weakness that you may have.

Irrespective of your trade or profession, now is a good time to take stock of your life and invest in something that will add value to your earning potential in the years ahead. Others will be just marking time/trying to survive at present so the opportunity is there to try and steal a march on the competition by being proactive in your approach to your business/career.

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