Getting started is the most important step. You can plan all you want but until you start, planning is futile because everyone finds that the plan needs constant tweaking.
Begin with a budget:
There is no such thing as a free lunch. To build any business a financial investment is required at some point.
Below is a list of some of the things to be considered when writing out a budget. This is good practice for once you have an asset to manage.
Direct Mail – how many pieces? letter, postcards, cards, etc. There are many schools of thought here, but remember that as the saying goes “Everything works, nothing doesn’t”. To me this means that we must take action on getting our word out there so people know what we are looking for. We need to use our marketing to educate the marketplace on our needs in regard to money, deals, team etc.
Business Cards- People spend a ton of time getting caught up on business card designs. My best advice is to keep it simple and remember that the purpose of a business card is to provide someone your contact details. Don’t try to make it something it isn’t (a billboard). You should use your meeting with the person you are providing the card memorable enough to make a billboard unnecessary.
Bandit Signs / Other Signage – depending on your marketing strategy, these may or may not be necessary. Regardless, prepare for many of them to get stolen or confiscated by code enforcement, therefore budget for replacements.
Facebook / Instagram / YouTube – Google Adwords – A good ad agency should be able to help you determine the budget for ad spend. Take their advice, this money isn’t going to them, its going to Facebook.
Entity Creation (only if deemed necessary)
DIY or Lawyer? I vote to use a Lawyer, BUT not until you actually NEED an entity. Don’t get sucked into elaborate asset protection setups when you don’t have any assets to protect. It would be a shame to set up a structure only to have to change it later.
Equipment / Supplies budget (think minimalistic)
Laptop, cell phone with wide angle camera lens, don’t go crazy here and keep it simple.
It’s easy to rack up a small fortune in outbound recurring payments with all the services available to us these days. Carefully examine the necessity and value of a specific service before shelling out your hard earned money. Some great tools are:
- Investor Fuse
- Mojo Dialer
- Constant Contact
- Active Campaign
If you setup your spending ahead of the actual spending you will be better able to focus on building your business and not having to worry about money as much. Taking the time to write out a solid budget and then sticking to it is most likely the most important thing you can commit to as a new investor.
Lastly, DO NOT build your business with a credit card!