How to Keep Startup Costs Under Control
Great! You have your own business. So… how are you gonna pay for all the crazy startup costs? You need a team to do some of the work for you. You need a Web site. You need a work computer. You need an office (or a home office). You need…
Well, damn. You need a lot. You probably already know you have to spend money to make money, right? Well, when you start your own business, you’re probably going to have to spend money before you see a dime from your efforts come back into your pockets. But that’s OK, because that’s how business goes.
But before you spend $20,000 on stuff that you don’t need, you should know that you still need to keep costs under control. Just because a bank loans you a bunch of money doesn’t mean you need to spend it all in a few months, and budgeting will do you a lot of good—even if it’s not really all that sexy. Here are just a couple of ways you can keep spending costs under control when you’re just starting out (so you still have money to feed yourself tonight).
Hire the Right People the First Time
You’re probably not a hiring expert and no one really expects you to be. But you do need to know one thing when you’re looking for people to join your team: You’re looking for attitude more than experience. I’m not saying you should hire the drunk hobo that hangs out in front of your office eating sandwiches all day because he’s a “free spirit,” but you want to look for scrappy, positive people who will get the job done even if they don’t do it perfect from the start. Having a newbie who wants to please you is better than having a veteran who flips the bird at all of your requests because “he knows what he’s doing.”
Honestly, You Don’t Need an Office
We all want to strive for the right things so our business flourishes and we can sit around and drink expensive scotch all day—and we usually think that means we need a fancy chair with a fancy office and a fancy desk. But honestly… you don’t need it. If that office space is going to cost you a thousand bucks a month to maintain, pass on it. Instead, find the nearest Starbucks and set up an office there for the price of a delicious coffee full of energy-boosting sugar. Your employees can work from home or they can join you at Starbucks, too.
This point deserves an exclamation point in the title because it’s incredibly important. I don’t care how much number crunching you do, your budget will not always come in right where you’d like it. If you don’t allow for some flex in it, you’re going to get screwed when all of those “little things” you forgot add up to more than you have in your account. This goes for things like business strategies, too. Kick your business plan and five-year success strategy to the curb if you know they’re not going to work for you, and start again (practice makes perfect, you know).
Bring in the Bucks
You’ve built the service or product of a lifetime, and now you’re playing the waiting game. The very, very long waiting game. Yep, there’s still money bleeding out of your pocket as you read this, and you’re still waiting. Screw waiting. It’s time to find some income, stat. If you can put something out there, do it. Most people make money doing something fulltime while they run their business on the side until the business can actually support itself. That’s just the way it is. If you don’t have anything on the side, you best get out there and start MARKETING yourself and your product. Something isn’t going to magically happen while you wait for it. You have to make it happen.
And Finally, Learn to Negotiate
Don’t know what negotiating is? Look it up. Basically it translates to “save big freaking dollars” and more money in your pocket. Take classes. Read books. Figure out how to make prices go down for you, and you’ll be better off in the long run.
There are countless ways to save money when you’re starting up a business, and it’s up to you to find those ways. But the tips above can get you started off on the right foot, at least. Last word of advice: Don’t take that pretty girl out to dinner only to blow your capital on a round of drinks for everyone at the bar. Grab yourself some Chinese instead.
I want more stuff like this!