Startup Tuesday: 7 Most Expensive Hidden Costs of Starting a Small Business

Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Startups [ 0 Comments ]

costs of starting a small businessBeing independent, choosing the people you work with and getting steady money from a business month after month is a job description that many of us find appealing, and yet you don’t see a lot of people running a successful small business and making good money.

The reason is that people sometimes mistake running a business with sitting back and waiting for money to fall out of the sky. Mostly, however, it’s often because of high startup costs and people’s inabilities to either predict or deal with those costs.

Related: See how one of our strategic startup planning advisors can help you

To avoid poor planning, and to get a general idea of what you are getting yourself into, here are some of the most expensive hidden costs involved in starting a small business.

1. Office supplies

There are many items that you will come to realize are crucial to conducting business on a day to day basis. We’re not just talking about pens and paper, but also things like lamps, folders, a whiteboard, clocks, a fridge, cups, a water cooler, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, mops and buckets, a vacuum cleaner, and so much more.

2. Printing equipment

You won’t even realize how much money you can lose on printing until you start operating. Between the printers themselves, toner, paper and the right software you can end up digging a pretty deep money hole. This is why effective print management is necessary. There are plenty of companies offering print services, which means they will provide you with information on the best equipment that suits your needs, get the equipment for a lower price, provide you with adequate software and maximize efficiency to reduce overall costs.

3. Office furniture

You will need desks, high-quality office chairs that won’t break, an adequate seating arrangement in the foyer with seats and tables and filling cabinets to name but a few essentials. Buying cheap means replacing furniture often, particularly the swivel base of the chairs, so you may need to spend more now to save yourself time and money in the long run.

Related: Expert Advice on Co-Working Spaces for Small Business

4. Creating and maintaining a website

In today’s world you might as well not exist if you don’t have a web presence. A website is crucial if you want to inform people about your business and offer services online. This means paying a web developer to create a good site for you or buying a domain and theme and tweaking the details. The domain name will cost you some cash, hosting as well, and once the website is up regular updates will be required.

5. SEO services

Having a marvelous website is of no use if there is no traffic. Search engine optimization is required, and you will need to provide some useful material on the site, preferably have a blog and a forum page, while participating in social media marketing.

Related: Need an SEO professional? Our hand-picked vendors may be the right match for you

6. Employees

Depending on your line of work you will need anywhere from two to a dozen people to run even a small operation. Even if you can manage with just two employees, you need to pay their base salary, plus insurance and some benefits. Not to mention the IT work you’ll likely need to outsource. Most of these can be outsourced to very capable companies, but this is one more cost you have to worry about.

7. Promotional material

Pens, bags, T-shirts, mugs and notebooks with the company name and logo are another important part of putting your business on the map. You will need a bunch of these simple items to help you spread the good word.

There you have it, some of the most expensive costs that lead to the demise of many small business owners. It can be quite costly to start a small business from scratch, and most people don’t even realize how many hidden costs are involved. If you want succeed in the world of business you will need to estimate correctly and plan carefully.

Bio: Danny Duric is a writer and marketing consultant from Australia. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Currently he’s writing about various business related topics. His main interests are marketing, psychology and traveling.


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