Where would you spend $50K, $500K, $5 million?

A few days ago I attended Analytics Camp. It is an “unconference” on analytics organized by Nathan Gilliatt. I know what you you are thinking, nerdville, right? True, it was a geekfest, but a good one to boot. One of the best sessions was from the CEO of an emerging NC software company on things he has learned launching a start up. One of the questions posed to him (asked by the wicked smart Tom Webster) was, If you were given $50K, 500K, and $5 Million, where would you spend it? Many in the room probably missed the weight of this question. If you were asked this question about your business or company what would you say? Your answer would tell you a lot about your priorities and goals.

This start up is in the fundraising phases of growth and knowing where this money would go is crucial. Even if your organization isn’t seeking capital, asking yourself hypothetically what you would do with it should tell you what your business needs to move forward.

Money Bucket Exercise:

First, list which buckets of your business, if given additional resources, could move the needle forward. Is it sales, product development, lead generation, customer service, infrastructure, paid media, paid intelligence, tools, etc? Notice I didn’t list marketing as a bucket. Marketing is philosophy of business and should be “baked in” to every department of your organization.

Second, rank the buckets in order of current importance. Which ones will have the highest business impact for the highest priority objective?

Third, spend (invest) each of the amounts into the assigned buckets.

If you are having trouble with answering then you need to establish clearer goals. The amounts, $50K, $500K, and $5 Million address short term to long term objectives and how they rank in importance. Your amounts may differ in size depending on scale. You could replace it with $500, $1,000, and $5,000. The important thing to answer is, “What would you do with it and why?”

How would you answer these questions for your organization? Does the exercise give you any other insights?

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