Thanks to the amazing advances there have been in technology over the past 5 – 10 years it is now possible to start a business with a much lower level of investment that would have been required in the past.
We don’t usually need premises now – We can run our businesses from Home, a Coffee Shop, the Car, anywhere with Wifi really. Most meetings will take place at the Client’s premises and if needs be there are serviced offices where you can book a meeting room for a Day, a half day or just a couple of hours.
So here is my take on what you will – and won’t – need to spend your money on in the early years of setting up your business.
- Good home office equipment – A laptop, a printer, a mobile phone with a decent data allowance.
- A Website, a domain name, an email address (usually included with the Domain name). You don’t need an all singing, all dancing website – just something that looks well put together and is easy to navigate. Lots of people spend a fortune on their first website and it isn’t necessary. A good Virtual Assistant can get a site set up for you quickly and easily – or you could learn how to do it yourself. Domain names are easy to register online and very inexpensive. Always register it yourself – If you decide to use a website developer and they register the name then you won’t be able to take it with you at a later stage. You will usually get an email address with your domain name but if not you can order one separately. Don’t be tempted to save money by using a free one to start off with – it will make you look cheap and unprofessional to potential clients.
- Business Networking – these range in price from free (just pay for your drinks) to upwards of £25 for a meeting. Some also charge annual membership fees.
- An online diary scheduler – not essential but something that will take a lot of the hassle out of your day. You can input your availability, send the link out to potential clients and then they can schedule in a time that suits them which then links straight to your online calendar. It looks professional, it prevents all of that, “Can you do Tuesday at 10am?” to-ing and fro-ing and it’s much less subject to error.
- Training – just because you are working for yourself now doesn’t mean that it is okay to stop investing in your skills and personal development. You will need to either outsource or upskill.
- A Client Relationship Management system – again these do not have to be high end and expensive but you will need a system to keep track of leads and clients.
- Business Cards – These are becoming less widely used now that everyone is directly connecting online but you will still need some to give to people if they ask.
- An Accountant (or a good accountancy service).
- Business Insurance.
And that’s about it really.
You won’t need …
- Headed Paper
- Compliments slips
- A massively expensive website
- An e-commerce system
- Branded pens and mouse mats or mugs or any of those other gimmicky things.
- An office
You do need to invest some money – access to the internet doesn’t mean that you can start a Business for free – well not if you want it to be successful anyway! But most things you need are widely available and often at a very low level of investment.
The absolute key rule of thumb is that you need to be investing in things that will make it easier to run your Consultancy Practice in a way that builds trust and a sense of reassurance with your potential clients and you need to meet any legal and regulatory requirements.
(This list is intended as a guide and is not exhaustive – your requirements will be based on your individual circumstances)