What you need for setup costs depends on what is needed to open your doors.
You do have some flexibility here where you can “delay” the purchase or development of certain areas but it can be detrimental to your business model if you are distracted from doing your daily business. Consider setup costs like bare bones furniture like table and chair (not chairs, chair).
Along with the “physical” setup of an office, website and business cards, be ready to set down in front of a potential client with a “Service Folder”. This Service folder explains, at a high level, the service and benefits to the customer. It may also include pricing arrangements and follow up steps. Do not be caught off-guard if a client calls you on opening day!
I am going to assume that you are working out of your home. If you have a service (or your business grows large enough) that requires a retail location, then let me know and I can do some research and add links to what is available.
From within your home, the service you are providing will determine the “working area” that you need to establish. You will need a desk & chair and other furniture like printer, cabinets and book cases. Monthly supplies entail paper, business cards, pens, folders.
For a complete list, check out Establishing Your Home Workspace.
Must have! You need to consider the following before you open the doors:
- Business Cards
- Service Folder (selling the benefits of your service)
Having the above 3 areas covered is essential, but will take a bit of effort and planning.
Something that you also need to remember is locating a local company that prints business cards and brochures. There are many sites online that print great quality business cards (i.e. Vista Print) cheaply, but if you can find a local printer that can do so reasonably, then you can also use them for other print jobs such as brochures. The benefit of a local printer is that they review your final copy before printing and can also offer suggestions, and they usually guarantee their work (printing , not content!).
Don’t be “penny-wise, pound-foolish” – you need a lawyer. They are a necessary evil and they do cost a pretty-penny if not managed correctly.
For a small business it may not make sense to have a specific lawyer on retainer when you could require many different areas to be reviewed from corporation setup, trademarking, service contracts etc. If you do hire a legal company to be your lawyer, remember that they may use other people in the office to specific areas and the costs for each different lawyer can be different. Be very clear what is needed up front and ask for a break down on the costs BEFORE you decide to hire them.
An alternative that should be considered is LegalShield. You can get monthly plans (great for budgeting) while allowing you the following access:
- Business Law: Incorporation, insurance, joint ventures, governmental compliance
- Document Review: Vendor contracts, equipment leases, purchase agreements
- Legal Correspondence: Cease and desist or other letters written on your behalf
- Financial: Small claims, collections, creditor harassment
You have to love the SBA! You are starting a business, you most likely need a business license . Review Find Business Licenses & Permits from the SBA and ensure that you get this step completed.