Article

Darren Boyd-Annells
Darren Boyd-Annells 22 July 2016

Start-up on a Budget: Cut the Cost, Without Cutting Quality

You really don't need much money to start a business these days. Best-selling titles such as "Be A Free Range Human" and The "$100 Start-Up" encourage entrepreneurs to launch their dream businesses, even if they have very little money to their name.

Any time is a good time to start a company”— Ron Conway, Noted start-up investor, SV Angel

That quote echoed around in my head for months, and then, Joosr was born.

However, once your business does start generating revenue, it’s important to remain savvy with your spending—especially in the early days, as one of the most common reasons for start-ups failing is due to them running out of money. Read our top cost-cutting tips below, to avoid unnecessary overspending, and get more from your money.

Computers and laptops

It’s a fair argument that a better computer will make things easier for your team, but realistically, not all of your staff will need a top-level computer to do their jobs effectively. Here are some quality alternatives to avoid unnecessary overspending:

Mac Minis (from $499)

Before you spend over a thousand dollars per MacBook—consider Mac Minis; hook them up to a monitor and cut a few hundred dollars. They’re powerful, portable, and in most cases, more than enough to do the job.

Google Chromebooks (from $199)

For members of staff that only require basic office applications, Google Chromebooks are an excellent option. As all of your documents will be stored in the cloud via Google Drive, there won’t be any files saved on your machine to slow it down. They’re also ideal for hot desking, as you can restore them to factory settings, ready for a new user, within just a few minutes.

Ask staff to bring their own laptop

If you don’t have the budget to buy any computers at this stage, when advertising your vacancies, write in the listing that they’ll need to work from their own laptop. There’s a fairly high chance they will prefer this, plus, it would be awfully upsetting to spend lots of money on a high-spec laptop, only for your new starter to show up wanting to use their own.

Website

Companies can waste thousands hiring designers and web developers as they try to make the perfect website from scratch; web designers and developers aren’t cheap.

In your start-up’s early days, a simple website is enough to get going. Hiring a web developer to modify a WordPress theme or building your own website using services like Squarespace or Wix is a smart move. Your website can grow with the rest of your company.

Staff

Freelancers on short-term contracts

The last thing any company needs is a team of employees with nothing to do all day. A start-up’s workload is often up and down in the beginning; it’s common to have a manic few weeks, which leads to hiring new staff—but when things cool down, you’re left with unoccupied individuals just twiddling their thumbs. Hiring a freelancer experienced in the applicable areas involves much less financial risk.

Freelancer websites for small jobs

The working world is wising up to the fact that you don’t need everyone in the office to run a successful business. Occasionally, you may be presented with a task that doesn’t demand a freelancer's daily fee. For these smaller ad-hoc jobs, hire someone from a site like Upwork or PeoplePerHour. Search for the skills you need and you'll get a list of potential candidates, each with their own hourly rate.

Office space

There’s no shame in having your first office in your own home or in a rather basic space. Start small and avoid pricey rent fees for as long as you can! Besides, fancy open-plan offices aren’t for everyone—some will like the laid-back, cozy office feel, and as discussed in the previous few paragraphs, you may not require all of your employees to work in-house anyway.

Marketing

“How much should I spend on marketing?” (Eeek.) It’s one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to starting a business. Before you invest heavily in a marketing plan, ensure you’re making the most out of available resources and not spending your money needlessly.

Materials

For flyers and business cards, order small quantities at a time, as your office address, logo, or color scheme could change—leaving you with dead weight materials, and wasted cash.

HARO

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a quick and easy way to get free press. Each weekday you’ll receive three sets of emails with queries from reporters on a range of different topics. Answer any you can help with, and leave your website’s URL plus a brief description about you and your company. If they use your response, you’ll be mentioned in their publication.

Social media

Just hiring one person to manage your social media accounts can do wonders for your business. Investing the time to find and secure the services for someone to manage your social media accounts could be one of your most effective hires of all. Finding staff to run your social media isn’t usually too difficult; fresh graduates, with active social media profiles, make great candidates. Engaging in conversations, keeping your fan-base informed, and ensuring your voice is heard, will help boost your sales and grow your business—without spending heaps of money.

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