One of the greatest challenges you’re likely to face as a start-up is having limited financial resources, in the early days, meaning you will have to do everything on a budget.
In the early days it can be very tempting to go on a start-up spending spree even with a digital business. Indeed, we often feel the need to launch an overly fancy website before we have even built our email list. There is a question, as to the chicken and egg dynamic around this, but the reason subscribers will subscribe is due to the value you provide from your content; not the fact you’ve invested in a fancy image slider or AI customer service messenger.
In this article you’ll find three ways startups can save money, in the early days, by shifting their paradigm away from the need to impress and toward focusing on creating more value - which is what really matters in business.
- START OFF WORKING FROM HOME
A common mistake that many startups make is they feel the need to secure premises, even with a digital business.
It’s emotionally understandable as there are clear benefits to having the space to focus in a distraction free environment, yet if this isn’t absolutely necessary to your business functioning (i.e. you employ a team of people or often have physical rather than virtual meetings) then you’ll want to try to avoid acquiring premises as it will put a significant strain on your start-up budget.
- KEEP YOUR COSTS DOWN ON ESSENTIALS
There are certain essentials every entrepreneur needs, for instance printer ink, yet there are ways you can keep costs down by shopping around and/or looking for cheaper alternatives. In the example of printer ink, for instance, you could visit 123InkJets for discounted products or even consider refilling used cartridges for a fraction of the cost of what you pay for a branded new ink cartridge.
- DON’T HIRE STAFF, JUST YET
The majority of entrepreneurs feel the need to do everything on their own, but when business starts picking up one of the first things they’ll do is go out and hire more people than necessary. A much more cost efficient strategy is to hire virtual assistants to outsource tasks to, as they tend to operate on a more flexible freelance basis meaning the workload (and therefore, the amount you pay them) can change with your needs.
- STOP TRYING TO IMPRESS
It’s very tempting to feel the need to impress, when starting out, but often this comes from a place of insecurity in the terms of the value you are offering. If we look at life coaching, for a moment, one of the world’s highest life coaches has a very simple website that looks like it was put together in a couple of hours… yet, they remain one of the highest paid people in their industry with a long client waiting list. Why, because they create value - and they focus solely on creating value to their customer base.
Sometimes we rely too much on symbolic statements of success in the material world such as pulling up to a meeting in a fancy car or pulling out a Mont Blanc pen in order to sign a contract.
The truth is, most business people don’t respect this stuff nowadays - they care more about tangible metrics of social proof such as how many followers, likes and so on you have. In today’s world you can’t use this type of puffery to hoodwink people into believing your established if you’re just starting out, as everyone checks digital resources like Facebook and LinkedIn to work out where you’re really at.
- WHEN YOU DO HAVE TO MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION
Sometimes, it can be important to make a good impression however… even if you’re meeting business people for a lucrative deal you can save a lot of money by meeting in the coffee lounge of a five star hotel - rather than feeling the need to rent a meeting room, for instance.
In summary, when starting out it’s all about keeping perspective and focusing on what really matters - which is creating value for your end user.
That’s the one most vital currency in any business; create value and everything else will fall into place. Indeed, the only way to reliably earn respect as a start-up is to focus on creating value that your successful trajectory speaks for itself.
Remember, everyone has to start somewhere and the journey to major success often starts from a very humble and small beginning.