We get it. When you first start your business, you need to save money wherever you can. Expenses seem to be raining down out of the sky. Until you’re up and running, with no guaranteed income in the future, you need to keep your budget as low as possible.. While it’s definitely a good idea to develop a bootstrap budget for your new business, it’s another thing entirely to skimp in the wrong places. Avoiding extra expenses in a few key areas may save money initially but it could hurt or hinder the success of your business in the long run.
Starbucks Business Meetings
It seems like this famous coffee shop is the go-to place for new entrepreneurs, but is this just the chain’s marketing machine speaking? While it’s a convenient location to get an a frappuccino, it doesn’t exactly scream “professional!” Would you be impressed by a professional you wanted to hire who officed out of a coffee shop, no matter how popular? If you’re concerned about being stuck with an expensive office lease, look again. Getting virtual office space that comes with access to a professional conference room can be very affordable. It will definitely impress your new clients more than a biscotti and espresso can.
Printing your own business cards
There’s no excuse not to have business cards, but don’t think about buying one of those “print your own” kits from the local office supply store. These cards rarely turn out well and for under $20 you can get professional quality cards from online print shops like Moo.com or VistaPrint.com. You can also look for deals in your local area. Not only can you support local business, but you may also find a valuable connection and networking opportunity.
Avoiding local business events
Speaking of your local area, there’s a goldmine out there but only if you get involved. Don’t discount the power of being a part of your local Chamber of Commerce and other networking opportunities in your area. Look to Meetup.com for more local events where you can meet others who need, or who could help grow, your business. Although online networking has grown in the past few years, nothing can take the place of meeting a new contact face to face. Most of the events are free and you’ll never know who you’ll meet that can help your business get to the next level.
Scrimping on web design
Even if you’re an exclusively local business, your customers are going to look you up online – it’s unavoidable these days. What are they going to find? The DIY look just isn’t going to cut it if you want to compete professionally. Finding an affordable web designer is simple, and the investment is going to pay off. Don’t bootstrap your way into online oblivion.
Answering your own calls
Cell phones are ubiquitous these days, but giving our your mobile number to prospective clients without a professional answering service to support your incoming calls will only scream “un-professional.” Rather than have your business calls come to your cell phone all of the time, select a virtual office that comes with a virtual receptionist. Having a professional receptionist answering the phone will go a long way toward making your bootstrap business legitimate.