7 things to spend your start up capital on
Getting a business off the ground can be challenging. Once you’ve put your business plan together and successfully funded your business (by securing a bank loan or having an investor come on board), you need to be wise about what you spend your start-up capital on.
Here are seven suggestions where your money will be best spent, aside from core production/operation costs, of course.
- Intellectual property and patents
If your business is all about coming up with better ways to do things, or inventing new products or services, it’s a smart move to trademark and patent your ideas.The Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CICP) is a good place to start investigating which option is best suited for your business. For instance: did you know that putting the trademark™ symbol on your product does not mean it is automatically registered asyour intellectual property.Copyright is a different story; in South Africa, the moment you publish a creative work (written, musical, artistic) you own the copyright, without having to officially register it as such.Know the difference.
- Bookkeeping and accounting services
It’s rare that an “ideas person” is also the “numbers person”. Having someone dedicated to crunching your business’s numbers, filing the correct tax information (and on time) and completing annual financial statements(AFS) will go a long way to establishing your business as a profitable enterprise. It also frees you to do what you do best: running your company.A bookkeeper is all you need for the day-to-day running of accounts, but to have your AFS signed off you need the services of a registered accountant; find one here.
- Market research
This will depend from business to business, but fully researching your industry, the landscape and how your business will fit can be the difference between success and failure. This is one step you do not want to skip during the planning phase and one you should consider investing in as your business grows.
As previously mentioned, not every business needs a website. You still need to brand your business to make it recognisable, and stand out from competitors. This means a business logo, good quality business cards, and information pack to take along to meetings.
- Meeting Rooms
In our last edition, we also suggested not spending on an office just yet, and we stand by that suggestion. It’s worth investing in a meeting room subscription at a co-working space if you know you’ll be meeting potential clients and would-be investors often.Not only will renting a meeting room save you from the temptation to overspend when you have meetings at restaurants, it has its benefits, too.These include: Internet access, presentation tools, printing facilities and a quiet professional environment — depending on the space.Some great co-working spaces in Johannesburg include The Common Room, OPEN in Maboneng, and the Slow Lounge in Sandton.
- Freelance help
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to afford full-time help as you begin. But as with the accounting people mentioned above, some help you just can’t do without. Look at your business and industry and assess what assistance you simply cannot do without and find it part-time or freelance.Getting freelance help can mean anyone from technical support, a designer to a driver or admin assistant. Every business will have different needs. Not only will this leave you free to focus on more pressing aspects of your business but it can also improve how you work.
- Business coaching and advice
The type of support and advice each business needs will differ. If your industry is one where you need a dedicated sounding board a business coach could be the way to go. They will be privy to your business plan and the books. A business coach, like Growing Pains, can give you an objective but informed assessment of your business along the way. This way you’ll be better positioned to reflect on your business plan and what has or hasn’t worked.The Bizz Boost podcast is filled with advice for business owners. Listen to it here.