In the first post of this series, Steps to Starting a Small Business: #1 – The Idea, I covered what is perhaps the most IMPORTANT part of starting a small business – the idea behind your business.
Once you’ve got an idea whose passion has taken you prisoner, it’s time to get down to the next step which is the implementation.
You know – the BORING stuff like the legal FORM of your business, choose an accounting method, apply for an EIN, set up a business checking account, order business cards and stationery – yada, yada, yada!
One of those “yadas” may be to apply for a line of credit or a business loan. There’s been a lot of debate over years over the cost associated with starting your small business.
In one online debate, the two sides are arguing over how much it really costs to start a freelance business. One side says plan on spending a couple of hundred dollars, while the other puts the figure quite a bit higher in the $1,000 – $3,000 range.
Remember, I’ve worked with HUNDREDS of wanna-be small business owners and I have to say, the $300 or less plan is a very dangerous point of view to adopt.
When you’re starting your own small business everything is going to take longer and cost more than you planned.
Chances are, you aren’t a MASTER at all of the jobs you’re going to need performed in your small business, so you should probably plan on farming out at least SOME of the work.
- If you’re not a web developer, you’ll probably need to hire one to create your website or blog.
- If you’re not an accountant, you probably need to find one to help you set up the book keeping for your business.
- If you’re not a graphic artist, you’ll probably need to hire one to create your logo and identity package.
The list goes on and on. (Trust me!)
Without a doubt, the biggest obstacle you face as you start your small business is trying to do EVERYTHING yourself.
Several years ago, I wrestled with a client for almost a year over the opening page to her website. That’s right, it took 12 full months to create a single page. She was obsessed with not only controlling every aspect of the appearance of her website, but she was EQUALLY determined to spend as little as possible.
The thing is, she had a GREAT idea for a small business. Unfortunately, putting up the site was quickly turning into a decades long ordeal and during that time another competitor came to market offering a similar service. My client lost her opportunity to be “first to market” and the last I heard, she had given up on the idea all together. Meanwhile, her competitor is enjoying the accolades and success of being “first” to market.
Time is NOT money. You can always make more money. You can’t make more time!
Time is constantly ticking away. Ooops! There went another second. No matter how much money you have in the bank, you can’t get back that last second.
This is important. If you’ve got a GREAT idea for a business – one which has captured your every waking moment, every day is precious. Trust me, if it’s a GREAT idea, someone else is working on it.
Every hour you spend trying to piece together your brochure or trying to create a header for your blog in Photoshop, is another hour you postpone the grand opening of your business.
If you’re charging $50 an hour for your services – start viewing the job of designing your business cards, designing your header, setting up your blog via that lens.
You may pay $750 to have a talented graphic artist put together an identity package for you, but in all probability that is probably the BEST use of your time and resources.
See, If you spend 40 hours trying to learn how to create a logo in Photoshop – that means you’ve invested $2000 of your time in creating your identity package. Unfortunately, the logo YOU design probably won’t look as professional as the one you would have HIRED someone to create and may actually PREVENT you from signing clients.
I believe this is what my mother would call being, “Penny wise and pound foolish.”
Meanwhile, if you’d hire an experience graphic artist, you’ll get a professionally designed logo which communicates without words all that your business is and does.
That’s why I cringe when I hear someone tout “ultra shoestring” budgets for launching any business. Create a business plan. If necessary, take out a business loan or better yet – start it after spending a full day at your ‘real” job for a while.
Whatever your do – don’t start your business under capitalized. Plan on everything taking longer and costing more than you think it will.
Now, I’m not advocating getting VC style funding which enables you to splurge on polished marble floors for your office and a hiring half naked, well built men to massage your shoulders as you work.
[Wow – all of a sudden, I’m wishing for some VC funding. I believe I just unwittingly set a GOAL for myself with that previous sentence!]
Get enough cash so the desperation doesn’t ring in your voice as you go out and try to drum up clients. If you can do that without a loan, all the better! However, while”balls to the wall” isn’t usually isn’t the preferred mode, some people NEED that kind of pressure to get started.
Your comments – as always – are welcome!