Four Smart Investments for Startups

You've come up with a great business idea and you're finally launching that startup? Congratulations! So now it’s all about getting the money in order…  

If you haven’t already secured investment, you may need to get your business up and running before you start making a profit. Setup costs add up when you're starting out, and cutting corners is sometimes unavoidable. 

For this reason, it really pays to understand which aspects of your operation you can afford to skimp on in these early stages. These tips will help you put your money in the right places.

Market Research

Market research (when done well) can be pricey, so it’s not uncommon for small businesses to avoid splurging on market research in the early stages. 

However, it is crucial to market to a target demographic, and you can't do this effectively without knowing who your audience is. Until you do, you might be wasting money on crucial marketing. 

Similarly, any effort you devote to search engine optimisation will be wasted if your website is coming up in searches for people who are not interested in your product.

Spending a bit extra on sound market research means you will avoid this waste and make sure your advertising hits the mark.

Get Your IT Working For You

One of the most challenging aspects of operations for emerging startups is the struggle to meet increasing demand when your IT capability is limited. 

Even if you’re working from home, it's sensible to devote some of your available resources to making sure you don't have IT issues cropping up that slow operations and cause your customer frustration. Invest in specialized (or, if you have the capital, purpose-built) software to vastly simplify your operation. 

A lot of these tools can be found cheaply or even free, for everything from payroll to marketing. For example, check out  how automation scripts can help Google Ads, to see how to make the most of Google Ads various packages. 

Hire a Social Media Star

Social media offers massive potential for marketing purposes. Whether it's Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, there is no more effective way to engage with your customer than through a platform they elect to use. 

Your consumer is at the heart of your business, and (with the exception of a shrinking demographic) social media is generally where they are to be found. Don't ask your customer to come to you – get your brand out there and reach out to them!

To get the most out of organic social media (which is free) it's always worth hiring a professional social media manager. They will bring experience to the table and help you target your niche effectively by using the right language.

A Slick Website

Many founders initially opt for a pre-made website template from sites such as Squarespace. Custom-built website can be pricey for a startup and there are some great free options available. 

But once your business is up and running, you may find that a template design is not quite right for your product, audience or branding. If so, it might be time to get a website designer on board to help you create a slick website with an original feel. 

Even if you have a coding whizz in your team, you may be missing out on the creative side a professional website builder could bring to the table. 

Whether you've been lucky enough to get funding, or you're launching on your own steam, these tips will help you get the most bang for your buck when you're setting up shop for the first time.