Charles Alexander (3)


This past fall we bought a new house in Gallatin.

This is our fourth house (and last) we have bought since we’ve been married, and all have been fixer-uppers, because raising three kids and working full-time just wasn’t stressful enough.

This house was the epitome of a needle in a haystack. The market was hot, the house was in the best location, and it had great “bones.” And if you don’t know, great “bones” means it’s a good house, but’s also a hot mess right now.

After about a month straight of rehabbing, the house was ready to move in. All it needed was carpet, paint, refinish the floors, windows, appliances, countertops, tons of new fixtures, woodwork, gutters, etc. You know, basically everything.

We still managed to stay on budget and walk in with enough equity to make it worthwhile. This is what happens when you don’t reinvest in your home.  You end up selling it at a below appraisal price in a hot real estate market.

It’s pretty easy to understand when it’s a house. You can see the windows falling out and the gutters hanging by a thread.

It’s harder to see with your business.

But you know what…I see it all the time.

  • The website is out of date.
  • Your bookkeeping is six months behind.
  • The equipment is in constant need of repair.
  • Employees are kind of doing their own thing.
  • You are putting out fires instead of working “on” your business.
  • The CRM you bought to keep up with all of your contacts has never been installed.

You get the idea.

It’s just like this house we bought. The previous owners got busy with life and never really got around to the house maintenance. 

And in your case, you get busy with the day-to-day grind and really don’t have the time to reinvest in your business. However, this becomes a big problem if you want to sell the business or just regain your sanity.

The key is to treat the reinvestment in your business the same way you would reinvest in your home.

  1. Schedule time for regular updates to your business and don’t let anything interrupt it, the same as you would not let anything interrupt you getting a plumbing leak fixed.
  2. Take stock of your business today and look at every area that needs to be updated.
  3. Then make a list, prioritize it, assign a budget for time and money, then figure out who’s gonna do it.

Yeah, I know all of this is easier said than done, but that’s owning a business. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

And if you decide you are just too busy to do this, you may end up with a nice little business with great “bones” that someone else buys for below market value.

Charles Alexander is the director of the Small Business Development Center at Vol State.

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