Today’s question comes from Michael. What are some of the required expenses for a startup? What are unavoidable costs and what are nice-to-haves?
This is a tough situation for most startup founders. When you’re first launching your startup it’s hard to know what you need to spend money on and what are nice-to-haves. Keep in mind that my list of must-haves could be different than your own depending on where your startup is at.
Anytime you have an idea for a startup, it’s important to claim a domain name. This doesn’t mean you have to do anything with it, it just means that you should protect your ideas. There are many places you can buy domain names, such as NameCheap.com, IWantMyName.com, and GoDaddy.com.
Cost = $8-15
Note: Sometimes this cost can be more expensive, for example, our site LaunchSummit.com. This is also why it’s important to get the domain early – to prevent others from inflating the price.
You will need some sort of website or landing page for your startup. Something like SquareSpace or WordPress is easy to get up and running. SquareSpace includes hosting with the monthly package so you don’t have to get that separate and it makes it easier to set up the site.
In the beginning, there’s no point in spending a lot of money on a site just to get early traction or validation for a startup idea. Though you can spend a lot more on a customized site later, at first just getting up a landing page is sufficient.In the beginning, there's no point in spending a lot of money on a site just to get early traction or validation for a startup idea. Click To Tweet
Cost = $25/month+
The last thing you absolutely need when getting your startup running is an email service provider. As with the website, at first you are likely just gathering email addresses and maybe setting up some automated campaigns. For something that can create basic automations Drip is one option. We like to keep things really simple for collecting email addresses, which is something a service like MailChimp is good at.
Cost = Free-$15/month (depending on how fast your list grows)
Speaking to Michael’s question specifically, if you are building an app, there are some other items that you should spend money on to get it off the ground.
Cost = Google $25/year, Apple $99/year
GitHub or other repositories hold all of your code, allow you to push updates, and check code in and out with various team members. If you are building something that’s not open source, you’ll want to make sure you have a private repository.
Cost = $5+/user
We use a combination of Slack and ActiveCollab, but when just starting out, you need something to keep track of all of the items that need to get done in the development or startup pipeline. Trello is a great tool to use for this.
Cost = Free
Anything else is a nice-to-have or depends upon your type of startup. If you’re an ecommerce company you’ll need as storefront solution and if you’re connecting to APIs you’ll need specific tools for that. Things such as analytics and marketing tools can all wait. Remember to be as frugal as possible. You never know when that extra $20-30 will come in useful.
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