MetroCareers: How Much Does it Cost to Launch a Business?
The Metro Moms have noticed a trend among people exploring entrepreneurship. They start talking to friends and relatives about their new business idea and wind up getting a lot of advice to do things like buy liability insurance, create a website and register a company. That can rapidly get very expensive.
Nobody knows if or when their new business is going to make money, and they do not know how much it will earn. You can write a business plan looking at similar companies in your geographic region, but the reality is that nobody has a crystal ball.
The safe thing to do is take a wait and see approach. Basically, launch your business on a shoestring and if/when you start making significant amounts of money, you can upgrade your business tools. Your first website does not need to be award-winning caliber, but you can change hosts and relaunch it as your business reaches new heights and warrants more sophisticated business tools.
Low-Cost Option: Operate as a sole proprietor, download free invoice templates and launching a website can be free or inexpensive, and cost very little to maintain. More Do it Yourself tips are here.
To accept credit cards, the Metro Moms recommend Square, with no monthly subscription cost and a flat 2.75% processing fee. A smartphone application allows you to either swipe or enter card numbers. Vistaprint is a great resource to design and print business cards. Be sure to copy protect original writing and websites.
Mid-Range Option: Once you have steady cashflow and/or liability risk, it’s time to use business tools that come with monthly subscription fees. Forming a limited liability company can cost as little as $300 using sites like MyCorporation.com. Paypal and Google Checkout are affordable ways to process online credit card payments. At this point, you will need a self-hosted website. The Metro Moms use Fatcow and Inmotion to host our business websites along with Google Analytics to assess our site traffic. Hiring a web developer to create a template-driven WordPress site with these features should cost $500-$1,500.
High-End Option: If you are insanely busy or have a business idea that requires specialized tools like an online membership database, it’s time to start thinking big. At this level, developing a website starts around $15,000 and can rapidly head into the stratosphere.
Another way to bolster your bottom line is through bartering services. Let’s say you are a web developer but need bookkeeping help. Rather than paying a bookkeeper thirty dollars an hour for five hours a month, find someone who is getting started and negotiate a barter arrangement to create and maintain a website in exchange for bookkeeping services.
No matter what approach you take, it pays to talk to objective experts to make sure you are making the right choices. You are going to have to spend money along the way, but make sure you are taking a cost-conscious approach to buying in the right tools and expertise.
Looking for career inspiration? Get mentoring, networking & a built-in focus group with the Metro Moms Consulting Network.