How You Can Keep Your Start-Up Expenses Lean (For Better Business Survival)

How You Can Keep Your Start-Up Expenses Lean (For Better Business Survival)


If you want to launch a business without massive outside investment, you’ll need to keep your expenses down. Here are a few ways in which you can do it.

The DIY approach

Although it’s great to call yourself the CEO of your business, you’ll actually need to wear a lot of different hats. And if you want to save money, you can’t afford to look down on certain tasks. You need to be willing to clean the floors, if necessary, or deliver packages to customers.

To keep your expenses down, do absolutely everything and anything you can. Also, don’t hire anyone on a full-time basis too quickly. Rather make use of freelancers or outside suppliers who you can pay by the job.

Related: Lessons From Lean Start-Up Founder Steve Blank

Start small

Until your business concept has proven itself, you want to minimise your capital investment. That means, for example, that you make use of a basic website with a single landing page, instead of a complex site that’ll cost you a fortune to have developed. Or you could ditch the website completely and just use Facebook.

Similarly, make use of Google and Facebook when marketing. Through these services, you can target potential customers who are close to you, instead of throwing the net wide with a large campaign that will cost you a boatload of money.

Fight the urge to go too big too quickly. Start small, and then scale once you know that your business model works.

Related: What is The Lean Start-Up Movement?

Don’t sign a lease

It’s tempting to move into an office quickly, but an expensive lease can hobble your business and ruin your cash flow. Also, a lease can be hard to get out of, and you don’t want to be stuck in an office you can’t actually afford, or even worse, keep paying rent even after your start-up has gone under.

Working from home is a good idea, at least initially. After that, you can look at a shared workspace. These spaces allow you to rent just as much space as you need, and will provide you with flexible leasing options.

They’re very affordable and take the hassle out of setting up shop. You don’t even need to worry about answering the phones, installing an Internet connection or fixing the air conditioning when it breaks.

GG van Rooyen
GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.