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Tue 9 Jun 2015 10:38 AM

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How to spend your start-up budget

Looking beyond the essential start-up costs, we offer a few suggestions for where to put your precious cash

How to spend your start-up budget

Every small business’s budget is going to be tight, but what exactly should you be spending your money on? Looking beyond the essential start-ups costs, we offer a few suggestions for where to put your precious cash.

Hire more people

As costs go, this is a big one. It’s not cheap to build a team, but in the long-run it’s a necessity for any company with ambitions to grow. Obviously you won’t be able to bring in a number of people in one go, so you will need to judge what role is most important for your business as it stands. Popular appointments will include accountants, project managers, and HR managers, but it all depends on your needs and the needs of your company.

Boost your social media

Of course social media is – by and large – free. But there are ways of improving your reach or content, many of which will cost money. One option, related to the above, would be to employ a social media expert and let them take your presence and online impact to the next level. But if you’re thinking of saving on the salary and investing in a different way, then you could pay to promote your posts on Facebook or your tweets on Twitter. It can greatly increase your reach and bring you new followers and, hopefully, customers.

Conferences and expos

A good way of getting exposure, gaining industry knowledge and engaging in potentially game-changing networking is by exhibiting at conferences and expos. They might not be everybody’s cup of tea, and many people may even see them as dull, but attend the right one and your business could really benefit. A basic stall at a good event will help you push your business while giving you access to keynote speeches that could really help you and your company develop. And if you go into it with a good attitude and a solid game plan, you could meet potential partners, associates or investors.

Increase your traffic

Bringing people to your website isn’t always an easy task, but if you put channel some money into the right avenues then the job could become a whole lot easier. Of course you can pay for somebody to improve your online content, design infographics, host webinars, and so on, but there are other methods too. Paying for SEO is one option to help direct more and more people to your website, as is display advertising on social media. And if you’re willing to take a bit of a risk, there are a number of companies who offer their services to increase traffic on your behalf. In general these companies have mixed reputations, so do plenty of research into the guys you’re thinking of hiring.

Gimmicks

This is one for the creative marketers out there. If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd and get people to start talking about you, then putting on a stunt, an exclusive dinner party, or a bizarre publicity campaign could be the option for you. If you’re willing to give money away to get attention, then why not?

You could hold a competition and send the winner on holiday, or donate to their chosen charity, for example. As long as you can make people see that there’s something in it for them, then they will be more willing to sit up and take notice – not just of the gimmick itself, but of your business.

Reward your team

Team spirit is precious and must be maintained as much as is humanly possible. Humanly and financially possible, that is. A lot of people are driven by rewards, so finding some space in your budget for team treats, incentives, bonuses, and so on could be a clever way to foster a greater love for the company and, theoretically, a greater quality of work too. It’s a tricky balance to strike though. Yes, you might want to reward your team, but you won’t want to overdo it. Give too many rewards too often and you run the risk of being taken for granted. Try to make sure your employees don’t expect something from you on a regular basis. You don’t want rewards to turn against you.

Research

Data and analytics make the business world go round. They can also help you hone in on your target market, showing you what they want, what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and how you can step things up a notch. If you’re not a data expert yourself then you’ll probably need to put some funds in the direction of somebody who knows what they are doing.