Starting a small business sounds like a piece of cake. You have a brilliant idea, and the world is ready to buy what you’re selling. In principle, it is that easy. You build a website, fill it with content, make connections, and grow. It sounds like quick profit, or a lifelong ambition to fulfil as you watch your company grow, flourish, and attract more and more business. But there are many costs you have to consider when you’re just starting out, which are a lot easier to manage when you plan them in instead of letting them take you by surprise.
Websites and phone costs
There’s more than meets the eye to website costs. From the very basics, there’s several elements to making and maintaining your company website. You’ll need to buy a domain, buy web hosting, and if you’re not gifted with coding yourself, find someone to create a website for you. Building an attractive, easy-to-use website that has all the content and pages you need on it can become quite expensive if you have a lot of ambitions, and on top of that, can be quite time consuming, so you can’t expect it to be done in a day! So it’ll either take planning to have it custom designed, or your second option is going for something a little simpler. Some domain and web hosting providers will provide you with some quick and easy tools to build a website, which may be a good place to start if you don’t want to invest in a web designer just yet. However, access to these tools can drive up the cost of the package you’re interested in, and on top of that, you may need to upgrade to a plan with more allowance when your website starts attracting a lot of traffic. And the more traffic, the more contact. While you can use your home phone for business a lot of the time, setting up a different service is often the best thing to do to keep personal and professional life separate, which means a new phone, a new plan, and new costs for your business.
When you’re starting a new business, you want to get your name out there, and in a lot of cases, this means visiting conventions. If you’re lucky, you’ll be in a big city, and find events close to home, but in a lot of cases (and a lot of smaller industries), the events tend to be further away. In those cases, you need to factor in the cost of obvious things like trains, planes, and hotels (and comparing them may take up a lot of your time!) you’ll also need to consider food and drink while you’re there. This may sound obvious to start with, but there’s other costs you may not think of when building up a budget. For example if you meet the right people who decide to talk business over dinner, there’s a big chance that you’ll go to a nice, more expensive restaurant, which will need to come out of the budget! On top of that, if the trip is longer than a few days, you’ll have to look into dry cleaning facilities for business wear, which in some hotels can cost quite a bit. Luckily, many of them offer travel irons in the rooms, meaning that upkeep of your clothing can be a little bit less stressful than usual. Beyond that, you’ll also need business cards, which any starting business should have plenty of!
Company upkeep costs
Depending on how quickly you move, these may be the first thing you run into. In many countries, licensing a business means jumping through hoops, but it also means more costs on top of the expenses you already have! In the vast majority of countries, the government website can offer you everything from costs to how to order your forms to how to fill them in, simplifying the cost. What isn’t quite so easy or transparent, though, are the accounts. Finding and hiring a trustworthy accountant can be a pain to start with, but many companies will carry their relationship with the accounting firm they choose for many years. Finding a good accounting firm can be tricky, so make sure you ask around and look around to find the best deal – price balanced with the quality of work they do. Accounts need to be submitted and looked at every year, but might also be able to give you valuable insight as to exactly how well your company is doing, and at the end of the day, that might save you a little bit on costs, too.