When to Reinvest in Your Business

It can be hard to know when and how to reinvest in a business. But, as Brad Harris of The Wash House in Springfield, Missouri says, a lot of the decision is based on gut feeling and industry trends.

By Ettie Berneking

May 2020

Brad Harris of The Wash House in Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsBrad Harris, owner of The Wash House Purchase Photo

You might think of the laundry business as a quarter-based operation, but Brad Harris, owner of The Wash House, just spent close to $300,000 remodeling one of his three laundromats. Now he’s sharing advice on when to reinvest in your business.

Tip 1: Always look for ways to reinvest.

If you're committed to staying in your industry long-term, Harris says you have to look for ways to refresh and reinvest in your business everyday and give your customers a reason to interact with you on a regular basis.

Tip 2: Don’t settle into the status quo.

“If you’re a business owner, a lot say if it’s not broken why should I fix it? Well, you might not think it’s broken, but there might be a section of our business that’s withering away that you’re not seeing.” To keep his customers happy and coming back to do business, Harris reinvests in his equipment and store atmosphere every few years. As he sees it, that reinvestment shows his customers he’s there to stay.

Tip 3: Don’t put it off. 

Harris shut down one of his locations for seven days, which in the time before COVID-19, felt very unnerving. But he knew it was the right decision. “It’s scary to do that because any time you give consumers the opportunity to experience your competition, many owners have the mindset they’ll never get that consumer back,” he says. “But if you’re doing something that at the end of the day helps the consumer, they’ll come back.

Tip 4: Evaluate your feedback. 

While Harris looks at customer reviews to make sure his stores meet customer demands, he doesn’t base upgrades on customer reviews. Instead, he looks at the industry nationwide and chooses programs he thinks will fit. “Unfortunately, consumer feedback will often lead you the wrong way,” he says. “That’s because 20% of the people speak 80% of the time, but that 20% is not representative of your customer base, so if you base your decisions on that 20%, it’s a dangerous game to play.”