One big decision when starting your business is where to spend your money. This is especially true for start-ups that need to make their money count. To that end, here are some ways you can save money when starting out.
1. Your company’s website
You need a domain, hosting for that domain, and a platform like WordPress or Squarespace to build your website with. Those things don’t cost much, and you can even get them for free from some companies. You can also save substantial money at this point by not hiring a web developer to make you a professional website. Professionally designed sites can cost $1,000-$10,000 and beyond. You’ll want one eventually, but it may not be imperative from Day 1.
Get a very basic website up yourself using something like WordPress or Squarespace, or use website builders like Weebly or Wix to make something simple. When you start making money, then you can put it towards a slicker online presence.
Do you need PPC, SEO, social media, or any other type of marketing? These services can be very expensive. Instead, consider learning about them and implementing them yourself. Marketing is a skill that will help you throughout the life of your business.
3. Professional Services
You should probably work with a bookkeeper or accountant in your first year (but skip the CPAs). Tax returns are required and you need to make sound financial decisions. A good accountant is invaluable, and I recommend you start working with one early in the life of your business. You can save money if you handle simple bookkeeping yourself and work with an accountant only at tax time.
What about an attorney? This may surprise you, but for many companies, I don’t recommend hiring an attorney at the start when money is tight. Spend the money on business development instead. Save money elsewhere (see Dave Ramsey’s money saving tips). There are plenty of things you can do on your own as long as you go the right place, without the help of an attorney. However, if you’re in an industry with high risk and lots of liability, or you’re investing significant amounts of money, then yes, you should speak to an attorney.
With the cloud, you can avoid the large cost of desktop versions of word processors such as Microsoft Word and bookkeeping software. Google offers very inexpensive business email options, too. Choosing these monthly options is a great way to start off and avoid large upfront costs.
Exercise good judgment in balancing the need for professionalism with the need to keep costs low.
- Create a detailed budget with all of your expected expenses. Are there any areas you can find less expensive or free options to save money now?
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