Quote: When you're starting a new business, the key is knowing both what to spend money on and why to spend it.

Where a Smart Entrepreneur Spends Money

By Andrea Jacques

As an entrepreneur, how do you know when is it best to spend, and when is it best to save? How do you know how much to invest and in which types of services?

Unfortunately there’s no easy answer, no golden rule for when and how to spend money on your business. Some things can and should be bootstrapped for a few hundred bucks. But be aware: this is nearly always slow going. Depending on your industry, you may need a six figure investment to get the equipment and staff you need. The key is knowing both what to spend money on and why to spend it. For a new entrepreneur living in a world increasingly saturated with B2B services and SaaS platforms, this can be daunting and confusing.

The following list represents a few of the things to consider doing yourself or accessing cheap or free options in the early stages of your business. This comes with a big caveat – it is not appropriate for every type of business! The items mentioned below are essential for starting to get your first customers.

Do it yourself or access for cheap/free in early stages:

  • Basic business cards (e.g. Vistaprint)
  • Basic first website (e.g. WordPress.com, Squarespace, Blogspot)
  • Tools to track leads and sales (a CRM) (our current fave is Pipedrive)

While you can do the above yourself or get them done for cheap/free, because first impressions really do count, we recommend investing in your branding materials early on. If you are thinking of starting a business and have not set aside money for things like building a website, getting a logo, and having business cards and other marketing materials designed you are setting yourself up to fail. These days, one of the first things people do when they are considering purchasing your product and services is to check out your website. If it doesn’t capture their interest, they will go elsewhere to start checking out your competition.

As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to discern which areas you should spend in and which you should not, so we recommend that you find a qualified business coach, mentor or advisor to do a thorough review of your business concept (ahem). [link to services]

Be mindful, however, that depending on the type of advisor you get to help you, it might be wise to have your plans reviewed by several people. An accountant is going to see gaps in financials but may completely miss weaknesses in marketing strategy. Likewise a marketing expert will see high-leverage opportunities for you to invest in marketing strategies, but is likely to miss the human resource concerns and legal issues that could sink the business.

Beware of free advice. The opinions and perspectives of your friends and family might be worse than worthless if they have too much (or not enough) invested in your business or your life. Entrepreneurship is a harrowing journey. Some family members might voice support, but provide recommendations that are colored by their real desire for you to give up on your business dreams and return to your secure paycheque as a worker bee.

A professional coach or advisor is more likely to provide you with and objective perspective on how to achieve success. Rather than telling you what you should want, they will help you get clear on what you actually do want for your business and your life – and stay on track to get there.


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