Organizational tools – Organizational tools are essentially anything that helps you run your business more efficiently such as cloud storage services, email services, calendars and scheduling. Without these fundamental tools running a business can become chaotic. Usually, the more you’re paying for these tools is equal to the quality of the services that these tools are offering your business, as well as their popularity. So do your research and spend up if you have to.
Accounting – Knowing where your money is coming from and going to, and having accurate records of this is important not just for legal reasons, but for ensuring it’s going to the right places. Having the right people and using the right tools for the job can save your company a lot of money in the long run.
Marketing – marketing achieves recognition from prospective customers. It’s what attracts them to your brand and ultimately what puts you above the rest. Therefore, it’s crucial that your business does everything it can to market itself effectively in order to drive traffic and boost sales. While you can still save big by taking advantage of less costly marketing avenues such as social media – the most effective marketing strategies involve spending money in the right places.
Networking/ Trade shows and conferences (large and strategic) – Networking and trade conferences are a prime example of effective marketing. Here, you physically present yourself to prospective clients and associates, demonstrating your industry authority and worthiness as a business. These events are riddled with opportunities for you to connect with others, build partnerships and generate new ideas and will ultimately be a great investment for your business. Again, with trade shows and conferences- you get what you pay for. If your booth or ticket is cheap, you can expect a small turnout and a booth in the back. If you spend big, you can expect a good turnout and a prominent booth.
Hire a CFO – Experienced CFO’s know what they are doing, which makes them a perfect hire if you’re a business that’s just getting started. While they might be more costly due to their expertise – you wouldn’t want to hire someone for the position that didn’t have the qualifications anyway. They’re professional, seasoned budgeters that can really stand to save you a lot in the long run. Financial errors or irresponsible spending can do some real damage to your business if you’re not careful. So by hiring a CFO you’ll eliminate any chance of carelessness.
Legal advice – Legal advice is such a necessary component of running a successful business. If you don’t have everything in check (or at least someone keeping it in check for you) you could end up in a lot of trouble. That’s what makes it something that’s worth spending the extra money on, because it’s often reflective of the quality of the service you’re going to get.
Customer Service & Tech support – Customer service and technical support is extremely important for an online business. It’s what retains customers and what drives your business. Unfortunately, this comes with the sometimes expensive task of training staff. The alternative however, is lower quality support staff, reduced sales spending lots of money fixing the errors caused by under trained staff. Therefore, although it may seem like a lot at first, the financial strain is far higher if you don’t invest money into effective training.
Office Space/ Real Estate – Your office space can often be the most expensive part of your startup budget. Luckily, because you’re a start-up, your office might not be too big anyway. Your office space should always grow with your business. There’s no point having a large office if you’re not using most of it anyway. If you’re a store – you’ll need to put yourself in a space that has lots of foot traffic so you’re seen. If, however, you’re a business that doesn’t rely on walk by’s you can rent a space almost anywhere – especially if you’re an online start-up. Consider what you really need in an office space and remember that in the early stages, they are often only temporary.
Online Software – A great advantage of running a business in this day and age is the plethora of FREE software available to business owners of every size. This is a cost reduction of 100% so it’s definitely worth investigating some free online software that you might be able to substitute in. Free software doesn’t mean lesser quality, it usually just means less features – which is typically not an issue for small businesses.
Staffing – Freelancers currently make up 34% of the US employee market. They are a fantastic way for you to get high quality, from skilled workers, at a tenth of the price it would cost to train a staff member. And these days, you can hire a freelancer/ contractor to do anything and everything from marketing and sales to web development to cleaning. If you’ve got a position available, try hiring some interns. This way you can trial them before they are employed, cut down on costs it would take to hire someone new and get them to take care of some of the work you’re too busy to complete.