Being an entrepreneur is often about getting the most value out of your resources. That means spending only on the necessities, and nothing more. Unfortunately, things you consider to be a waste of your capital may actually be what your start-up needs to survive. Some of them are expensive, especially for a new company, but they're worthwhile.
1. Data Analysis
Successful entrepreneurs are usually well informed. They don't make decisions solely on gut feeling - if they can be informed, they'll be informed. You must have that same attitude, but attitude alone won't tell you how your products are performing on a quantifiable level. You'll need to spend on data analytics.
That means hiring the right people who can translate the data for you, if you can't process it yourself. It means buying data analytics software to make the entire process efficient. These won't be cheap, but it'll give you the information you need to make smart decisions.
2. Financial and Legal Advisors
Chances are that your start-up isn't in the legal or financial industries and that your core expertise doesn't lie in those arenas. That means having to pay for financial and legal advisors to make sure all your books are in order and that you're not forgetting any tax laws. These advisors will likely be tax lawyers or accountants, depending on who you have on staff already.
Even if you're in those industries, you should still hire advisors. This will let you focus your efforts on actually running the start-up instead of worrying about paperwork or whether your taxes are filed correctly. This is worth your money because it won't matter how successful you are if you don't have a competent patent lawyer protecting your money, or if your taxes aren't filed properly and you end up having to paying fines.
3. Customer Service Representatives
Entrepreneurs and their employees are expected to wear many hats. Your responsibilities will inevitably involve some form of customer service. The problem is that you're not trained for it, and neither are your employees. Dealing with angry customers, for example, requires someone with the right mindset and the right training. Deal with them properly and they'll likely stay your customers. Deal with them in the wrong manner and you'll have someone telling people your company is not worth the time and money.
Spend money on customer service representatives. Make sure that your clients' concerns are answered quickly and efficiently. This will improve customer satisfaction, which will result in customer loyalty and return business. If you really can't afford it, at the very least you should make sure that your staff gets the proper training to handle customer service responsibilities.
4. Market Research
Great ideas are one thing - great products are another. Just because you have an idea, doesn't mean that it's marketable. People might not need or even want your product. Build a start-up on a product no one wants to spend on, and you may as well burn your money.
Market research isn't just expensive, it's time consuming. It's also necessary. Market research will tell you and future investors all about the marketability and viability of your product. It'll tell you whether you've got something special in your hands or if you're going back to the drawing board.
5. Tech Support
Everyone's got a little bit of technology in their lives, but only people who're trained can actually make sure that they're up and running. Hire technical support employees to make sure that most, if not all, of your in-house tech needs are answered. You could learn to fix things yourself, but that's not the best use of your time. The best use of your time involves your expertise as it relates to your product and your employees, not making sure that the router is plugged properly.
Make sure that the tech in your office is running smoothly. Broken routers and computers will cost you time, which can cost you the start-up if it happens during a product demonstration.
You'll need to be stingy as an entrepreneur, especially during the beginning. That's good – you can't afford luxuries while you're not making a profit. Just don't be too cheap to spend on things that'll improve you company's performance. Make sure you have all the personnel you need and your company will grow. Go too cheap and you'll doom the start-up.