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When you think about starting a company, the first two questions that come to mind are: “How much is this going to cost, and how am I going to get that kind of capital?”
The dynamics of funding a business have dramatically changed over time. Where once you were resigned to bank loans and savings, there are now many options to choose from to help get your business off the ground.
However, let’s take a step back. You should ask: “What is the minimum amount of capital I need to get this off the ground?” For those first few steps, $1,000 can get you moving quickly and far along. It is all about what I call “resource capital,” a mixture of your time, money and effort.
Related: How to Start a Business Online
The price does not always equal the value
As a disclaimer: I am guilty of falling victim to thinking that I had to have the best of the best when starting our company. We always went for the most expensive external partners for operational needs. A hefty price tag could at least give us confidence that we’d be getting exactly what we paid for, right? We found that just because a company spends a lot of time and money on its reputation, it does not mean that it will deliver. We had to learn that going the less expensive route was not always bad.
Related: 10 Ways to Fund Your Small Business
Building your business
Building a business is like building a house. You have to dream it up, create a blueprint and get all the necessary permits from the city. From there comes all the fun stuff, like designing, building and scaling.
Starting off the same way, we have to think about our business and our $1,000 in very similar steps:
– Business Filings: ($50 – $150 depending on location)
Every state has a site or process for starting a business which can typically be found on the Secretary of State’s website. California, for example, allows you to choose your name, pay your fee, obtain your EIN, and then your business is official. Depending on the corporate structure, this can be more complex. Still, many people make the mistake of using online services to file businesses when, in reality, it is simpler than many are led to believe.
– Your Website or Landing Page: (Free – $150/month)
There are a variety of platforms you can choose for this. I recommend not spending a lot of time building out an entire site. Instead, build a simple landing page that provides an exciting outline of your business. Think of this as the digital billboard you can use when explaining what you are building to others.
Don’t hire some expensive web designer to build it your first go around. There is a 100% chance it is going to change.
– Website domain & Email: ($12 – $60)
Always buy the domain if you can, or an offshoot of it (eg, “.co” or “.io.” No one will take a business seriously if it does not have a proper domain name. This is simple to do at places like GoDaddy and Google Domains.
Next, create your new email address with your new domain name — your first name and company name will do. If you want a more general support email, use “[email protected]” or “[email protected]” instead. In many cases, website platforms have packages where the domain and the email are included. Take advantage of these cost savings out of the gate.
Your early branding is crucial in getting people to take you seriously. To successfully build a brand, your business has to look the part.
Creative (Logo, Branding): ($100 – $350)
If you are not creative and need help with things like logos and branding, there are resources such as 99Designs, Fiverr and even Etsy, where you can hire brand specialists to help you. Being consistent with how you present your brand out of the gate is incredibly important and helps align yourself with the brand and its mission, and it is an exciting and fun win you can celebrate right off the bat.
Laying the foundation
– SAAS Tools: (Free – $100)
Now that you are ready to build your “house,” it is time to pick your tools. There are thousands of options for SAAS products, depending on what you are doing. The key thing to remember here is only to utilize what you need and always choose the free trial first. These companies are built to hook you for free and prepare you to pay as you scale. If you need to pay for their service, I recommend spending a maximum of $100 on these.
Finding your contractor
– Virtual Assistant: ($300-$500)
If you are starting alone or even with a partner, you will be shocked to find out what $10 per day can get you. When it comes to virtual assistants, this cash can get you just about anything you need. The goal is to ensure you get someone of quality who understands your work style and brand. This will not only result in you learning to delegate and build a team but will offload a minimum of four hours each day of work.
When starting a company, one of the most significant issues is the number of menial tasks that need to be done. Having someone to handle those is critical. If you need someone more project-based rather than part-time or full-time, I recommend looking to places like Fiverr instead of Upwork, which is typically meant for more seasoned, US-based contractors.
Back to that key figure, $1,000 is more than enough cash to lay the basic foundations. It’s also enough money for your startup to at least appear like a legitimate company, which is half the battle.
Related: 3 Alternatives to Venture Capital Funding for Startups