What’s the Best Investment an Owner Can Make for Their Business?

What’s the Best Investment an Owner Can Make for Their Business?

Building Indiana Business was curious about how business leaders from throughout the state felt about where an owner could make the best use of their money. So we reached out to folks and asked them, in your opinion, what’s the best investment an owner can make in their business? Their responses, much to our surprise, were oddly in sync. Take a look at what they said below.


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Scott Bening, President, CEO
MonoSol, LLC

Business owners’ best investment is in the people that surround them. Not to be cliché, but we are as good as the people that we rely on and trust. Yes, it is important to have dedicated, trustworthy, hardworking, loyal employees. If you take care and reward your people, they will serve you well. Be ready to make tough people decisions as you grow and expand. Remember to honor and pay for loyalty and trust, but don’t let the Peter Principle impede your success.

As owners and leaders, one should also have contemporaries who you can rely upon for honest, blunt, decision-making contributions and advice. If you portray a sense of humility and eagerness to learn and absorb different vantage points, it will pay off enormously. Build a subject matter expert advisory team; uncompromised, one you can depend on. Going it alone often leads to disaster.

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Erica Dombey, President, Executive Director
Regional Development Company

As someone who works in hard asset financing, I am supposed to say that real estate is the best investment a business owner can make. However, I truly believe that human capital is the greatest asset of a company, and it’s where a business owner should spend the majority of their capital.

A big, beautiful building or the highest-tech equipment is worthless without the right people in place. Salespeople, bookkeepers, laborers, chefs, managers, production line workers – these are the folks that bring value to your company. These people make your product, sell your product, and keep you in compliance. Invest in their salary and benefits, in ongoing training, and in safety and wellbeing. I promise it will return in spades.

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Michelle Maravilla, Director of Human Resources
Centier Bank

To put it simply: People. Invest in recruiting the top talent, invest in developing your current talent, and invest in every person who walks into your organization. Centier Bank was once again recognized as the #1 Best Bank to Work For in Indiana by American Banker, due in large part by surveys filled out by our associates.

When associates feel valued, cared for, and integral in the organization’s success, we are ensuring they are happy to come to work every day, and provide personalized, world-class banking services to our clients. We place an emphasis on letting our employees know how important they are, through words and actions, benefits, celebrations – down to a personalized card on their annual work anniversaries. When someone feels seen, they are motivated to bring their “A” game, which in turn creates a feeling of family and a strong culture within the company.

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William Payne, CEO
Fanning Howey

As a business owner you should always invest in people, process, and technology.

Fanning Howey is an architecture, interiors, and engineering firm specializing in learning environments. Before the pandemic, competition for design talent was fierce, and investing in employees was critical for retention. Now, with the labor market cooled, we still see our employees as our most valuable resource. That is why we are investing in their health and well-being by keeping everyone working remotely for the foreseeable future.

Technology and process go hand-in-hand. In 2019, we invested in a cloud network. When the pandemic hit, our 100-person staff went fully virtual in just three days. While our K-12 and higher education clients were experiencing severe disruptions, we kept their projects moving forward. Our challenge now is to dig deeper and uncover the next generation of technologies and processes that will help our clients succeed in the “new normal” of 2021.

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Jim Schellinger
Former Indiana Secretary of Commerce

The most important investment a business can make is in their people – whether it’s growing their team, upskilling their current workforce, or offering benefits to improve their employees’ lives. People are what keep the wheels turning and the company moving forward. Investing in your workforce is investing in the future of your business.

In Indiana, we’re focused on providing a stable and predictable business environment so job creators can focus on what matters most – their employees and their growing businesses. We’re making Indiana the best place to work, live, and play, which in turn, has attracted and retained a highly-skilled workforce. Through programs and initiatives like Next Level Jobs, Regional Cities, 21st Century Talent Regions and programming from the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, we’re investing in the growth and development of Hoosiers, helping them skill up and setting them up for success in our state. Investing in knowledge, skills, and health is key to having a productive, engaged, and successful workforce.

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Michael Schneider, Market President, Northwest Indiana
First Financial Bank

Invest your time in creating an exceptional team. Build a team based on attributes like enthusiasm, resolve, willingness to learn, and kindness. Hire problem solvers, as opposed to problem finders. Then invest to build comradery within your workforce. Invest the time to really get to know your people, what drives them, and what makes them happy. An engaged workforce is exponentially more productive and will stick together through challenging times. While you’re investing in your people, don’t forget to invest in yourself – particularly your health and wellness. Take care of yourself, so you can be a dynamic leader and motivate your team to its highest potential.

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Matt Vessely, Regional President
1st Source Bank

While it may be difficult to measure the ROI on an investment in people – it is in my opinion, the best investment any owner can make in his or her business.

Investment in people takes on many forms. Sure, it’s important to hire the right people and to compensate them well for the work they do. However, it’s just as important to provide people with the tools they need to succeed and find fulfillment in their work. Oftentimes, it’s the intangible investment that an owner makes in people that matters most. Coaching, mentoring, or building skills through training and development are great examples of how the investment of time and energy in people can really move a business to another level.

And perhaps the most critical “people” investment a business owner can make is an investment in themselves. Finding ways to learn and grow, while making time to balance work with other life commitments are essential to ensuring the future of their enterprise.

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Category Features, Pro Voices