Starting a business is exciting, challenging and can be extraordinarily rewarding. Sadly, it is not cheap. It can cost a lot of money to get a company started so it is important to save money wherever and whenever you are able to. If you have a great business idea, but a less than stellar budget, we at MyCorporation are here to help in any way we can. While there are different options to save money while starting a business, and you should research which one is right for you, we can hopefully steer you in the right direction. Here is our advice for starting a business for under $1,000.
Bundle, Bundle, Bundle
Bundling is your best buddy in this situation. One of the trickiest aspects of saving money is doing so without cutting corners. There are certain things that you may rationalize as not needing, but in reality should probably invest in sooner rather than later. For example, many businesses that are just starting out stay in their default sole-proprietorship phase where every asset of the business is tied to the business owner. While that is all well and good while the business is small, many owners quickly find themselves paying an extraordinary amount of income tax as all of their business’s profits are considered their wage. Incorporation ends that by allowing the business owner to pay themselves whatever they want and paying different tax rates on their income and on what the corporation earns.
A little complicated, I know, but it does save you money in the long run. What is even better is that incorporation protects your personal assets from being taken to pay for the company’s debts. But incorporating can also take a lot of time and money, which often forces business owners to continue to put it off. Bundling with a third-party service like MyCorporation can really help as it is cheaper than using a lawyer, easier than doing it yourself and includes all sorts of goodies for your business. Our New to the World package gets you the incorporation, bylaws, operating agreement, minutes, stock certificates, QuickBooks Simple Start, a domain name, a logo, online bookkeeping, credit card processing if needed and a Customer Relationship Management system.
That’s a lot for $199! We also include a $150 for state processing fees- still not too shabby.
Protect your Ideas
This ends up being on the bottom of many to-do lists. I’m sure many of you know how important it is to protect your ideas, but you may not realize how much it could end up costing you if you don’t. If someone takes the idea that you build your company on, you may find yourself deep in the court system trying to get the credit you deserve. Depending on how new your company is, proving ownership of an idea may be profoundly difficult. Add the time taken to pursue legal action to the amount in lawyer and court fees and, suddenly, you are deep in debt and may not even be able to keep your company.
My biggest piece of advice is always to protect your assets and intellectual property. A trademark application costs around $250; there is no reason to put off such an important and helpful expense for your business. So make sure you take out the necessary copyrights, patents and trademarks before you get too big and someone tries to steal your thunder. Need some help? We even offer a comprehensive trademark search and can help get your application submitted and approved.
You should allocate some money for marketing and paid search services. The internet is one of the cheapest places to start growing your brand, but it is pretty difficult to stand out amongst the crowd of people. Marketing research will turn up keywords that will help your website stand out in search engines and draw traffic your way. This type of research typically costs around $400, but is well worth the investment. Getting your company near the top of a search engine will do wonders for expanding your customer base.
While you are at it, don’t forget to utilize social media as much as you can. Facebook is free to use and gives your consumers a central hub to get information about your company and stay updated. You can even manage it yourself if you have the time, cutting down on your costs and allowing you to grow a bit online.
That should put you around your $1,000 budget and look what you have; an incorporated business, a logo, domain name, customer management system, protection for your assets and product, a top listed website and a growing customer base. Not bad for such a small amount of money!
As always, feel free to contact us with any questions and good luck with your business.
*Post provided by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, a leading provider of online document filing services for clients who wish to form a corporation or limited liability company.