So you’re a brand new startup founder, with a little bit of cash coming in the door. You know that right now is the time to double down on your early success and you want to start pouring money back into your business. But what is the most effective way to do that?
Of course this may all depend on the type of business that you’re running, but below is a list of the places I’ve spent money on my business, and I think they’re all cornerstones of a good business. They should hold true for your business just as much as they would for mine.
- Email Marketing Software – I chose to use Drip as my email marketing software for PodcastMotor (and this site as well) because it offers marketing automation near to the level of an Infusionsoft, but at a fraction of the price. That and I know the founder, and trust that the support, development, and pipeline for the company will continue to be aligned with my goals as a small scale founder. Drip offers all of the solutions I need, plus many at this point.
- Accounting Software – The bills have to get paid, but so do your taxes. I chose to use the cloud accounting software Xero for keeping my books. They integrate well with payment processors like Stripe, payroll services like ZenPayroll, and have been a breeze to work with thus far.
- Automation Tools – Zapier is taking much of the startup world by storm. Their business model is simple: We Use Existing APIs to Connect All of your Apps. I love it. Why didn’t someone else think of this 5 years ago? Whether it’s Google Calendar, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, Stripe, etc. Zapier will create a series of API calls and listeners and will connect those services all together. This is increasingly becoming a part of the business we can’t live without.
- Outsourcing – I did absolutely everything at the beginning. But once I had $1,000 in the door I quickly realized that I should be focused on the One Thing that only I can do well: Sales and Marketing. With a background in Sales I know this is my strong suit, and I also know that I will be the only one who will communicate with the customers quickly, efficiently, and with the passion to win the sale. So I had to turn to a few resources to outsource the technical sides of my business: Upstart (the merged entity of Elance and oDesk) was the top of my list. Many companies say that people are what make the business. I can echo that as being true. Without the people on my team we wouldn’t be a company.
So what are the first 5 things you spent money on in your company? What do you wish you would’ve spent money on earlier? I think every startup founder wishes they’d delegated more responsibilities early on in their career, whether that’s through technology or human capital. Don’t fall into the Superman trap….you don’t have to do everything.