We are in the midst of tax season, and if you played your cards right throughout the year you may have a big refund coming your way. Rather than waste it on short-term fun, think about how you can invest back into your business for a long-term gain. If you don’t know how to use the money to benefit your business, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Upgrade Your Branding

How do you present yourself to prospective customers or clients? How do you want to be perceived by others in your industry? First impressions mean a lot in business, and in online business you may only have a moment to demonstrate why you are awesome and they shouldn’t click the back button.

Is your logo some lame default text or something professional that shows off what you’re all about? If you have never put thought into your branding, consider investing in a new logo design or branding package that you can use on your website, social media, business cards, and anywhere else you are working to get the word out.

Improve Your Website

Speaking of first impressions, if you are trying to run a successful business, you need a website that looks the part. This goes for both brick and mortar businesses and online businesses. I recently looked at ordering a pizza from an old fashioned pizza shop near me, but they didn’t have a website so I just ordered from Dominos instead.

Don’t lose customers like that pizza shop lost me. Make sure you have a website that is high quality, easy to navigate, and converts visitors into clients. Think about your number one goal when someone lands on your website. Design your site’s user experience around that goal. And don’t forget mobile responsiveness!

Outsource Bottleneck Tasks

In a recent call with my mastermind group, one of the guys shared that he has a backup of tasks and may be losing customers to competitors because he was not able to respond fast enough. He also had a big website project to take care of, but didn’t have the time to go through the manual, tedious process. Enter outsourcing.

If you are the bottleneck that is causing inefficiencies or costing your business money, it is time to recognize and remove the bottleneck. Create processes to improve your productivity, and outsource the rest. Using sites like UpWork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com, you can quickly send projects to remote workers in the Philippines, India, Eastern Europe, and other parts of the world where you can hire qualified labor at a fraction of the cost of US based support.

Attend a Conference

I can say confidently that I would not have the amazing job I have today if it were not FinCon, an annual financial blogging and media conference. While your background may have nothing to do with blogging, media, or finance, there is a conference out there for just about every profession. In fact, next week I’m headed to Las Vegas to accompany my brother-in-law to a construction industry conference. A little fun in Vegas networking never hurt anyone!

Conferences can be pivotal to any business, particularly solo entrepreneurs. I leveraged my conference experience to both earn money at the conference, add new clients, and make new friends. Hanging out with people in the same industry can be a big boon to your mental state, plus you can learn a lot to improve your business at the same time. Conferences are a huge opportunity.

Advertising

If you have a Facebook account, odds are you have come across The Penny Hoarder. Through smart Facebook advertising, Penny Hoarder founder Kyle took his small personal finance blog and built a fanbase of more than 10 million follow. That is seven zeroes!

While we can’t all expect the same success as Kyle, we can reinvest a tax refund into advertising. There are many advertising options for your business including Google AdSense, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. If people have not heard of you, how can they become your next big fan?

Hire a General Virtual Assistant

Outsourcing a few jobs here and there is a great way to dabble in the world of outsourcing, but if you want to go all in, the best option is to find what outsourcing expert Chris Ducker calls a General VA. A general VA can take the easy but time consuming tasks off your plate so you can focus on managing and growing your business.

General VAs can help with email, social media, transcribing, editing, basic graphics, and much more. Sometimes you’ll want to pay extra for expert help in these areas, but for general day-to-day operations, a General VA can save you a ton of time. A full-time Philippines based VA costs around $600 per month, but you can start with just a few hours a week.

Don’t Blow It!

It would be easy for me to take my tax refund to the construction conference in Las Vegas and put it all on black, but that investment yields a 52.6% chance of ending up with nothing. If I invest in my business, I get much better than 50/50 odds.

Don’t blow your tax refund on new shoes, a vacation, or something else you may regret down the road. Leverage your dollars to earn even more. You only get a tax refund once per year, and that’s if you’re lucky. Don’t waste the opportunity.

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer originally from Denver, Colorado living in Ventura, California. When away from the keyboard, Eric he enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers, and spending time with his wife and baby girl. You can connect with him at his own finance blog Personal Profitability.

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