Budgeting is never easy, and monthly costs seem easier than annual costs. Since annual costs only occur once a year it is imperative that they are fully documented on the budget.
Budgeting is a chore, but considering it as “Planning for Success” makes it more palatable
Depending on the amount needed for these costs, it may be that you need to “fund” them throughout the year. Initially, they are going to be included in your start-up costs, but also plan on including them on the budget and plan accordingly.
Your business is your business – but taking the time and planning through years 1 through 3 will help ensure that you keep focus on what is important – marketing and selling your service.
I use HostMonster and I am happy with them. They provide excellent hosting service allow with excellent tools from backup to email management (as well as hosting and website registration!) For a 3 year commitment it costs approximately $150.
Feel free to research other hosting opportunities but the top sites are going to be very similar and it really comes down to service.
Yes, you do need a business license and thus you need to register with the state, and maybe the federal government. Engage your accountant to do the paperwork and get it done as soon as possible.
Dues & Subscriptions
If your industry requires you to subscribe to associations and plan for annual trips here’s where you take note of them. Research and ensure that you are included in the critical organizations that can build your reputation and promote your expertise and service.
For the most part you would not have software that you pay for annually. What you should included here are annual upgrades to existing software – you do not want to get stuck a few releases behind and lose support, especially for critical software.
You have an accountant because you know you have to maintain books on a daily, monthly and annual basis. You also need a lawyer in your back pocket. Get one. Usually you will need to have them on retainer to review contracts and provide advice during the year.
Hiring a lawyer can be very expensive but they can be worth the cost. A relatively cheap alternative is to pay a monthly fee to have access to a “law firm” that can provide specific (and limited) reviews of contracts and other representations. Definitely something to consider and it also changes this cost from annual to monthly (much easier to manage!)