What I’d do with £500,000

Successful entrepreneurs have that magical touch when it comes to investing their money in both business and pleasure. We asked six owner-managers how they would choose to spend a £500,000 windfall.

UPDATED: Successful entrepreneurs have that magical touch when it comes to investing their money in both business and pleasure. We asked six owner-managers how they would choose to spend a £500,000 windfall.

Deepak Shukla, founder of Pearl Lemon

What would Deepak do with £500,000?

Well, I definitely wouldn’t spend it all at once. I think that the problem with money – that isn’t talked about all too often – was well highlighted by Mark Cuban from Shark Tank, funnily enough. He said something along the lines of businesses not having a lack of money but having a lack of IQ.

I think money comes in the absence of IQ, ideas, and need to venture forward and continue innovating and learning. People throw money at a problem, which you probably realise doesn’t actually solve the problem.

I imagine that business problems are more like a symptom of an underlying issue. If you try to mend one symptom that won’t fix the whole problem, it might even create more in the future!

With that said, if I had £500,000 handed to me, the first and foremost action would be to invest a proportion of it into training and education for myself and my team.

You’re only as good as your weakest link, so I would try to build up everyone’s knowledge and expertise. This way, we use finite resources to produce exponential results. So yes, that would definitely be step one.

The second thing that I would do is dedicate around 30 per cent of the amount towards a rainy-day fund. I can’t put all my eggs in one basket, so if my business were to have some cash flow issues down the line, I would be secure knowing we can weather any setbacks.

Finally, the third thing I would do with the amount of money that is left is to start aggressively split testing short-term strategies to drive positive ROI through outreach advertising and similar stuff. Find out what ticks the boxes and works well so that I can get as much optimisation for as many aspects as I can.

Fabienne Fredrickson, founder of Boldheart

How would Fabienne spend £500,000?

There is no such thing as a self-made millionaire business owner. You must surround yourself with world-class support to take your business to the next much bigger level.

With a newfound windfall of £500,000, the wisest move would be to strategically invest it in building a qualified team of uniquely brilliant people to give them more time back to think and innovate. How? Most business owners, no matter what entrepreneurial plateau they are currently experiencing, are caught in the day-to-day operations of their business. They are stuck in the doing rather than the thinking and innovating.

They have become the Chief Bottleneck Officer. There are not enough hours in the day or days in the week. They are overwhelmed and frustrated that can’t grow further (in either impact, reach, revenues or quality of life) because there’s no more of them to go around, and no more time to grow exponentially. The feeling of being stuck is a daily battle.

Instead of staying stuck, this new resource of money can facilitate a strategic investment in skilled support that allows them to now delegate the mundane, non-money-generating tasks, so they can focus on exponential growth activities that produce unprecedented results. Think implementing new technologies, having time to 10x their marketing, increase their online presence, create new programmes, services or products – anything they’ve dreamt of doing before but never had time to do.

By being surrounded with process-driven individuals with think in terms of systems and automation, the business owner/manager can finally stop generating everything themselves and start implementing repeatable processes that will scale their business, and as a result, no longer be required to work on things that aren’t truly moving the needle forward and instead.

This is the ultimate leverage: investing in team and systems, to then leverage their precious time to scale the business exponentially, so that it becomes a self-managing company. The unexpected benefit? The business owner not only greatly increases their revenues (and eventually makes their £500,000 back) but also gains back their evenings and weekends, isn’t forced to bring their laptop on vacation again, and no longer has to tell their children, ‘One more email, and I’ll be right there.’ That is how you truly leverage your business.

Bridie Gallagher, managing director at Glass Digital

What would Bridie do with £500,000?

Our main aim is and always has been to continue to expand and improve our company in a range of areas. With a cash injection, we would prioritise looking at our marketing efforts and how to grow the business to access new territories, to help us reach more clients.

We place a lot of emphasis on using various tools to help us better our services and give our team the information they need, so investing some of the money into new tools and APIs would also be high on the priority list for us. With these, we could streamline and potentially lessen the amount of manual work in some areas, giving our clients a much better experience and ROI. With a more developed service offering, we’d hope this could help us to build up our client list and boost our turnover in the long run.

We’re big on staff wellbeing at Glass Digital, and it’s especially important right now as we’re all working from home and dealing with the effects of the pandemic. So, we’d also spend a large proportion of the money on our staff, helping to improve wellbeing and enhancing training and development efforts to make everyone’s roles more efficient. We recently implemented a new remote working policy that allows staff to work from anywhere they want, and we’d love to use the money to improve company life by adding more perks and policies to our ever-growing list.

As a business based in the heart of Newcastle, we’re really proud of our local community and we like to do all we can to help support it. We’d love to use some of the remaining money to develop our own community service programme where our staff can be paid to go out and help charities and support local causes.

Lucy Shrimpton, owner of Dreamwork Consulting Ltd

What would Lucy Shrimpton do with £500,000?

My first thought is, ‘How do I make smart investments that mean I can grow the £500,000 and make this windfall work for me long-term?’

I would invest £50,000 in my business to accelerate growth through refining marketing strategies and funding advertising. This would include copywriting and funnel mastery as well as online ad spend on Google and social media for even greater reach.

I would use a further £75,000 to fund the first year of hiring additional team members for my business operations. With more high skill professionals in the business, we could grow faster and achieve a lot more. It would free me up to focus even more on my high skill areas and hand other aspects over to people who are more skilled than me at those things. My priorities would be a technical support manager, a personal assistant and a customer relations executive.

I would put £250,000 into investment property. This is one of the safest investments I could make for our children’s futures. Perhaps some HMOs where there would be a good monthly yield as well as a long-term capital growth.

I would enjoy some of it! After all, life is for living and, whilst I would absolutely invest for the long term, I also believe that you have to live life now! If you wait until you’re old to enjoy the fruits of your labour, you may be too old or not able to do the things you dreamt of. Or worse, you might not even be here! I want to enjoy life to the max now and it’s about enjoying the best experiences possible while also making an impact and leaving a legacy.

I would also invest in creating an app to help parents to figure out the best rhythms and patterns to optimise healthy sleep for their children. I have an idea for this and it would be amazing to be able to develop it.

Honestly, £500,000 would easily be put to great use! I think it could make a massive impact, not just to me and my business but to the work I do and the difference my work can make to millions of people. There would be a huge ripple effect.

Andrew Dark, co-founder of Custom Planet

How would Andrew spend £500,000?

With £500,000 we would invest in more machinery, marketing and staff in all areas of the business. It would allow us to grow at a much faster pace and bring forward plans we have over the next ten years. We would likely use a large portion of this to buy or build a premises for the business which would give us more income to invest in staff training, wages and development

> See also: Going in for the upskill – is it worth training your staff?

Patrice Archer, founder and CEO of Appy Ventures

What would Patrice do with £500,000?

With the uncertainty brought on by Covid, having a large cash injection would be a welcome opportunity to reduce risk in a few ways. What 2020 has taught me is needing to have cash reserves to survive worst-case scenarios such as losing half your revenue overnight. This would give time to adjust, adapt the business model and pivot towards new revenue sources.

With this in mind, I would take this £500,000 cash injection as a way to make the business more ‘anti-fragile’.

Firstly, I would repay existing business loans to minimise fixed monthly outgoings.

Secondly, I would look at our operations, and potentially hiring a professional to help us create an optimised operational setup to ensure we can deliver efficiently our current projects and support the organisation to grow without growing team costs by having efficient and automated process.

With those measures in place, I would then focus on new business. For our business, what we’ve found works well is developing our network of referrers and for that we would hire a partnership manager. A cash injection would give the confidence to take the risk, which has a time delay before paying off. Referrals are ideal and well worth exploring, instead of competing through numerous RFPs for digital projects.

Finally, we would consider some content-based marketing through LinkedIn. By creating value added content, sharing and engaging proactively with people who engage, it’s a great way of putting yourself out there. Having clarity of message on LinkedIn is key to get qualified inbound interest.

So, a £500,000 cash injection would enable us to secure the foundations of the business, optimise operational efficiencies and set ourselves up for the next chapter of growth.

Read more

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Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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