A man, seen from above, looks at a series of charts on a laptop screen. On the table next to his laptop is a smart tablet.
A careful investor will examine the tax implications and earnings potential of each investment option. — Getty Images/FG Trade

There’s no better feeling than the satisfaction that comes from growing a healthy profit margin at your small business. If you’ve reached the stage in your business life cycle where your revenue is more than covering your expenses, congratulations. Your hard work is paying off!

However, there is such a thing as “too much” profit—such as when there are excess funds in your bank account that could be used to generate additional income.

“By keeping the cash idle, the business loses an opportunity to generate additional returns,” wrote Small Business Chronicle. “Therefore, the major disadvantage of too much cash on hand is that it lowers the return on assets.”

If you have money sitting in your small business bank account, there are ways to invest it. However, these investment options have tax and other business implications. Here’s what you need to know about investing your SMB earnings.

What are some ways to invest small business earnings?

Just as there are many ways to invest your personal finances, there are a number of options for investing your business’s earnings. Each comes with a different level of risk and potential reward. Here are a few examples of things in which you could invest.

[Read more: One Quarter of Small Businesses Plan to Reinvest in their Enterprise]

A rainy day fund

Some experts recommend shoring up savings in an emergency or rainy day fund before expanding your investment outlook to any of the options listed below. Most experts suggest shoring up six months of operating expenses that you keep separate from your regular business account.

To set up an emergency fund, consider moving cash from your business checking account into a different, low-risk financial vehicle. “For best results, small business owners should seek out safe savings and investment options that can be cashed out with little notice,” wrote Quickbooks. “Low-risk municipal bonds and short-term CDs (Certificates of Deposit) are generally regarded as good choices.”

If you’re not familiar with bonds or CDs, speak to your bank about opening a savings account for your small business.

By keeping the cash idle, the business loses an opportunity to generate additional returns.

Small Business Chronicle

Repay existing debt

Next, many business owners, at some point in their business lifecycle, use debt to get their operation off the ground or to expand to a new market. If this is your first venture, there’s a good chance you may have a relatively high interest rate. Excess profit can be used to refinance or pay down some of your existing debt, which will save you money in the long run. However, if your interest rate is more favorable, you may want to invest your earnings elsewhere to optimize how you’re utilizing your profit.

Marketing or employee training

One way to make use of a profit is to reinvest it back into your business. Many business owners, for instance, use earnings to try to reach new customers through marketing campaigns or advertising. Other merchants invest in their employees with training or professional development. Both options allow you to build upon your existing success in a way that’s low-risk, and potentially high-reward.

Purchase new equipment

In addition to helping your business grow, the purchase of new equipment can be used to reduce your tax burden at the end of the year. Maybe that means investing in a new espresso maker at your cafe, or providing employees with new headsets to work from home. The purchase of assets should be beneficial to serving your customers, working effectively and helping your business grow.

[Read more: A Complete Guide to Filing Your Business Taxes]

Equities or bonds

Lastly, small businesses are able to use business earnings to buy equities or bonds. The method for doing so depends on how your business is structured. “An LLC's operating agreement can give just one of the owners/managers the authority to purchase stock on behalf of the company, or it may give this power to several or all of the parties involved,” explained The Motley Fool.

S-corp and C-corp companies can also buy equities, but be aware that any capital gains will be taxed. Bonds are less risky, but they also typically have a lower return. Speak to a tax professional who can help you understand the financial obligations that you may face—both personally and as a business—by investing company earnings in equities or bonds.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published February 26, 2021