By July 30, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Keep Starting Costs Low

Keep Starting Costs LowA key to survival while you test your product idea and grow your business is to minimize your starting costs. This gives you the chance to try different business ideas, if necessary, without too big a drain on your family finances.

As long as you possibly can, work entirely from your home using your family computer and inexpensive software. Stay away from any non-essential services that charge a monthly fee, and especially avoid those that charge a percentage of your sales.

NoteWhen you open your first web store you should expect to pay less than $10 per month to your web host, less than 3% in transaction fees to your payment processor, and that’s all.

Consider taking on additional expenses only after you’ve proven that you can sell profitably and satisfy your first few customers. Once you’re confident that you can grow your business, your next investments might include more online advertising, along with basic items to help you work efficiently.

Equipment for Selling Physical Goods

If you ship physical goods, you’ll need basic equipment to fulfill orders.

  • Inexpensive tables and shelves to store and prepare products
  • A reliable laser printer to make shipping labels and packing slips
  • Dispensers for packaging tape and wrapping paper
  • An accurate postage scale

Business Software

Software can be a big part of your startup costs. I recommend searching online and in warehouse stores for the best deals – and even buying discounted versions that are slightly out of date – but always find a way to license your software legally. Software that you might need early-on includes:

  • Spreadsheet and word processor programs
  • Image editing software to help make images on your website look more consistent
  • Once you start to generate sales, accounting software like QuickBooks

If you search online for open source image editing software you’ll find free alternatives to Photoshop, the program that many professionals use despite its great cost and complexity.

You’ll also need up-to-date antivirus and a way to frequently back up your computer files, as discussed in our story about keeping your money safe.

Part of growing your business is striking the balance between making investments to help you work more efficiently, while conserving your personal funds until you know that you can succeed. We’ll talk next about a few key services you can buy that will make you look bigger than you are.

Next: Look Bigger than You Are

Posted in: Your Money

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