In the world we live in, you will need to use your money wisely to help your business grow. Making sure you are budgeting will play a key role in the success you have.
It is possible to start a business and raise money without spending your own, but if you had to bet, you’re probably going to spend at least a little bit of cash on your business.
You are probably savvy enough to figure out how to use a lot of the free services that are out there. What we’ll talk about here is what most people wind up spending if and when they do decide to pay for professional services.
($50 – $1000)
Incorporating you business is easier now than it has ever been. There are services online that help thousands of small business owners everyday. Whether you want to start a S-Corp or an LLC, it doesn’t matter. Most of the confusion has been taken out of the equation. with a little research you can get this done on your own or with the help of an accountant or your attorney.
If you want to get a line of credit or a credit card for your business, you will be expected to be incorporated as a legal entity. This is something you must get in place ASAP.
There are dozens of sites that will allow you to incorporate online in less than an hour and all electronically. Just about any type of capital from a business credit card to a venture capital investment is going to require you to be incorporated, so this is a must. They will also setup your federal tax-id number for an additional fee or you can set it up directly on the IRS website with no help at all.
Business Plan Writing
($300 – $15,000)
What do you really need to know about a Business Plan?
Business plans are not created in order to take to the bank and apply for loans. A Business Plan is a layout of exactly how your business will run along with its purpose and vision. When you hear investors ask for your business plan, they certainly want to review the plan, but they are also implicitly asking “How is your business going to run”?
Of course, how much a professional business plan costs may be based on how much you have been able to do on your own. If you’ve spent a lot of time researching your business and simply need someone to put your ideas together, you can do that for as little as $300 or even less.
The price starts to escalate quickly when you have done very little preparation and you need someone to create your entire business plan from scratch. At that point you’re really hiring a consultant, which can get expensive.
($150 – $10,000)
It does not matter if you have an idea that is relevant to the Internet, these days We all goe to the Web to do their research, and investors do the same.
Therefore having a Web presence for your businesses (no matter the size) is very important, even if it’s just a single page with an overview of who you are and what your business is about.
Since this will likely be the first impression most people get of your business, it’s worth making a good one. A good Web site can be built for you for a few hundred dollars using a stock professional template with your information inserted. There’s no good reason to show up with a terrible looking Web site anymore.
If you need to really do it big, your costs will jump as you add the ability to do e-commerce, auto-responding, video and other features. If all you need to do is put up a professional face, a small Web site for a few hundred dollars will certainly get the job done.
Brand and Collateral Design
($50 – $5,000)
Investing some money in a little bit of brand identity is always a good idea. Items like a logo, a nice color palette, and some associated collateral items like business cards and a Web site go far when trying to convey the right image for your business.
At the very least you can go online and purchase a stock logo with some business cards for less than $100. If you want to take it up a notch, you can have a custom logo designed which may also give your company its own color palette and design touches that you can use on your business plan, Web site, pitch deck and other collateral materials.
The costs begin to escalate when you engage a designer to spend lots of cycles doing custom designs in search of the perfect look. If you’re satisfied with something simple, you can avoid much of the associated expense.
($50 – $1,000)
Finding the right list of funding prospects to pitch isn’t about availability (there are lots of directories of investors) it’s about relevancy.
When your are evaluating a funding database source, really key in on whether or not you are getting access to the actual investors or not.
Your best bet is always going to be references you can get from business colleagues. However, if you’re like most people, that list is pretty short. Therefore you will likely seek out a way to identify more investors to pitch.
When evaluating a funding database, focus on whether or not you are getting access to the actual investors. Most funding databases will list general contact information for companies that provide investment. A better funding database will provide more detail about the actual investors, and in the best sense, a direct contact to them.
When you start a business you will have to much smarter with your money, and your approach to a fundraising budget will be just as important. That being said, never lose sight of the fact that just spending a little money on these services can go a long way toward making your fundraising campaign more successful than you could have imagined.