I pride myself on being tight with money.

When I bought my first car, an AMC Javelin, it was a wreck that I fixed up myself and came cheap. Before I got married, I saved up for two years to buy a house without a mortgage to avoid title insurance and interest expense. When I started TempWorks, the first year was spent in our finished attic room.

Nevertheless, there are things I will spring for that might seem frivolous but I see as essential for business success:

1. Bookkeeper. Junk mail is just the beginning. When you start a business, there is no end to the complex paperwork and accounting involved. Some staffing owners I know insist on doing all that themselves, but that’s just plain dumb. Even if you use a bill-paying service online, the details steal precious time. Save that time for your customers and employees.

2. Workshop game tables. Ping-pong and pool tables at the office get the programmers up out of their chairs and pumps up the heart rate. They get different teams of people meeting more casually, erasing unnecessary and unhelpful communication boundaries.  Exercise improves health, reducing employer healthcare costs long-term.

3. On the road gym club, professional trainers. When I’m on the road I avoid high-end hotels which often don’t have good gyms anyway, but I’ll spend $20 or more to go to the best workout place I can find or $90 to get an hour with an experienced trainer. Getting out and meeting customers has the best payback of any activity a business owner can do, so that means traveling for me. The worst part of traveling is that it can interrupt my workout schedule and increase physical stress. Anything that combats that is worth the money.

Tags: Business