5 Expenses To Think About In Your Small Business or Start-Up

Small Business ExpensesMost people will tell you to ‘boot strap’ and to not spend a dime! Other people will tell you to cut costs. Some, will attempt to encourage you to spend. What’s right?

For small businesses, entrepreneurs and any organization with an eye on growth, there is a need to spend some money. To invest.

It’s a question of on what, right?

It is widely regarded that a growing businesses needs to focus on sales. Increasing the volume and/or spend per customer is the key to making this happen. So, with that in mind, how will you make that possibility become a reality? Oftentimes, regardless of your business structure, it is about working on your business not in your business. 

You may have heard this term before.

You may have also heard, “You have to speculate to accumulate“. The terms aren’t interchangeable, however, I have uttered the words under my breath at the same time more than once!

With the internet and with our networks, we can find answers to just about anything we have questions for. The accessibility to knowledge and information is only a click away. Why wouldn’t we try to do things ourselves?

The reality is, that there are a few expenses a small business and/or start-up can expect to write into the budget. There are some that can make a big difference. Ultimately, it’s about saving time. It’s about giving you the opportunity do to what you’re best at and what you love. (That’s why you went into business in the first place, right?)

Here are some expenses that can be seen as investments for what opportunities they can bring to you and your business. When thinking about the ‘expense’ in terms of actual costs, think about how much your time is worth and if there is a possibility that any of these items would be a worthy investment.

1. Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Business owners (and sales people) are burdened with administrative tasks, non-business critical activities and, at the least, to-do-items that aren’t in their core genius or realm of expertise. These activities add up and I’m positive that if you recorded a time log of how long you spend on these items it would shock at just how much time you are using up each day/week/month.

The tasks and skills they bring to the table are probably greater than you would expect also. A Virtual Assistant could do anything from helping you buy loved one’s birthday present(s) to assisting with your marketing. They are also a great asset for holding you accountable and improving productivity.

If you’re unsure about how a Virtual Assistant could benefit you, have a look at Ace Concierge (Disclaimer: This is not an affiliate link and I have no benefit in mentioning this. I just like they way they do business). Their website details a portfolio of areas that support can be provided in.

Expected Investment: $300-$500 per month (rates may vary and increase depending on needs).

Benefit: The gift of time, professional support and a direct correlation to increased revenue.

2. Hiring IT/Web Support

I’m putting these two different services in the same bracket as they fall under technical support to me. Also, they are two areas that are also looked over when budgeting. There are free websites, you can build your own with tutorials all over the internet, and you can go to a magnitude of forums to find answers to your technical problems.

With anything technical, unless you have working skills, and confidence, it is likely to take you a lot longer to do something than a professional. Also, if you tried to do any of this ‘stuff’ yourself, you’ll probably have come close to throwing your computer against the wall!

Me, guilty as charged!

The way of the world is that their is a likelihood of you experiencing at least one ‘challenge’ in this area every year. My advice; have someone on hand to call OR if you have more than 3 employees, have someone proactively managing your website and systems.

Expected investment: $80 per hour for IT and Technical support. $300 per year for website/hosting support.

Benefit: Peace of mind, the gift of time and working systems. Priceless!

3. Book Keeping, Payroll and Finances

Even if you’re great with numbers and spreadsheets, do you really want to do this?

This is one of those items that, for me, small businesses are unaware of the cost effectiveness this service can deliver.

When Tax season comes, would you agree that it would be great to have your affairs in order?

If you have employees, do you want to allocate time every week to running payroll?

Friends of mine at the Small Business Development Center (Link to the Government site to search your local Center) would stand up every month and say that this would be the first investment they encourage their members and clients to make.

At the very least, look into a book keeping solution like Freshbooks to track your incoming and outgoing money.

Expected Investment: Book keeping and Payroll from $45 per month (depending on circumstances and provider). Fresh books ($19 per month). Tax support and Filing $200

Benefits: Professional advice, peace of mind and, when it comes to taxes, the rebate you deserve.

It is also more affordable than you might think.

4. Professional Services, Coaching and More

One of the biggest challenges a start-up, small business or entrepreneur faces is being alone. Seeking professional advice (e.g. Legal), coaching and consultancy can be a game changer. Why? Surrounding yourself with people who are experts in their field and/or have ‘been there done that’ can save time and help you make informed decisions.

I would always recommend seeking legal counsel when starting a business and making any ‘big’ decisions. A big debate for small businesses revolves around ‘do I need client facing contracts?’. I’m not going to answer the question here, that’s a topic for another post, although creating your own contracts is a possibility that I would encourage you not to explore.

There are many ways you can gain information on what a contract should/could include, without expense. Do you really want to take this route?

The same applies for other business decisions. Seeking private consultancy or joining a group mastermind is an investment that could make a big difference in your business.

Expected Investment: Professional consultancy/counsel $180+ per hour. Private coaching/mentoring $350-$1,500 per month. Group Masterminds $0-$200 per month (Yes, $0 if you start your own peer network or are invited to one).

Benefits: Resources, time and informed decision making.

5. CRM Support

This may catch you by surprise. I’m including it because CRM is a topical discussion for small businesses, it is becoming more affordable and it is both one of the areas of business that can take up more time to manage than expected as well as not delivering the results if under/improperly utilized. (Disclaimer: I am biased also as President of Alderbest Solutions)

If CRM is leveraged properly their is a very high chance that you will see increases of revenue of up to 30%. How do you maximize the chances of success? Hire the support of an expert(s).

The point is, that CRM solutions like Zoho and Salesforce, to name but a few, can be customized to the point of meeting your business needs and matching your businesses processes. This can be done ‘in-house’ but like anything technical, the time and burden it could put on you or your business trying to set it up and then fixing it may outweigh the initial benefits.

Expected Investment: Implementation, setup and training $2,000-$10,000 (depending on the size of your company and needs). Maintenance and Administration $80 per hour or $1,000+ per year. CRM License fees $0-$125 per month/per user (depending on the solution adopted).

There you have it. These are 5 of the expenses a growing small business could think about investing in to improve productivity and ultimately see an increase to the bottom line. Most of these areas I would suggest looking to a local source, especially when thinking about professional, finance and legal support.

My advice, think about your skills and weekly to-do-list when trying to prioritize expenses and investments. You may be looking at something else not on this list. That is more than fair, you are unique and so is your business. The important thing is that you are thinking about where to speculate to accumulate.

Don't Miss A Post!

If you found this article valuable, enter your details below to receive regular updates and FREE sales and marketing advice from Michael Trow. You can unsubscribe at any time, we wont be offended. 

We value your privacy and would never spam you

Comments are closed.