Laurie Hayes

Article Summary:

How to keep home business startup costs under control.

Keeping Home Business Start Up Costs Under Control

You’re an entrepreneur! You've made the decision to work from home and it's time to get your office or shop set up.

You have taken care of the legalities, you know who your target market is, you have an exceptional product or service and you're ready to get it out there.

This is a very exciting time and you want everything to be perfect and appealing, including your workspace. You buy a new desk, computer, printer/copier/fax/ scanner, chair, calculator, office supplies, file cabinets, bookshelves, and decorative accessories to make your office attractive. You may be spending a great deal of time in your workspace and it is important that it be comfortable and ergonomically designed. Although comfort and functionality are important, be mindful when furnishing and equipping your workplace.

Be aware of what is absolutely necessary and what is a nice-to-have. Some of today's business giants started by selling out of their garages. It was not glamorous in the beginning, but it was necessary to start their businesses on a solid foundation. Now, some of these successful entrepreneurs work out of magnificent skyscrapers, have mansions in New England and drive vintage sports cars. These smart businessmen and women realized that everything didn't have to be perfect or aesthetic when they started.

Some new home-based business owners feel it is necessary to buy state-of-the-art equipment, sign up for all of the prominent subscriptions and memberships, stock their shelves with loads of inventory, have expensive art on the walls, and create an air of wealth and success in order to impress prospective clients.

This kind of thinking can put you out of the race before you even start running! I remember when I was a consultant for a MLM company. I thought I had to carry every product available to impress my customers. A startling realization for me was that my biggest show in sales was when I had the fewest number of pieces on display. The customers were able to see the quality in each product and did not have to see every piece in order to make a buying decision. When I decided to terminate my business, I had a closet full of products. I sold quite a few items to another consultant, but still had shelves stocked with unopened product. For about five years, I didn't have to buy a birthday, wedding or Christmas present because I had a massive amount of untouched gifts in my home office.

When I decided to start my coaching business, I was older and wiser, and grateful I made many of my mistakes at an earlier age. I learned from them and knew not to repeat them.

I started small. I had a computer, an old, but reliable printer, a 15-year old calculator and desk, and a comfy office chair. All I needed was a quality phone capable of handling multiple lines and a headset. For the first twelve months of my business, these items were more than sufficient. As my business grew and profits increased enough to support additional spending, I upgraded my computer and printer and made improvements in my office.

When starting your new home-based business, understand that your first year can be financially demanding. Until you have a steady, reliable source of income, it is wise to avoid excessive spending and unnecessary purchases.

Be honest with yourself when making purchases for your business. Yes, you need a good quality printer with fax/copy and scanning capabilities, but do you need the one that is designed for high volume, large scale copying? If you're not in the copying business, a lower volume, lower priced multi-media product will more than serve you.

When starting your business, sit down and determine what you absolutely need to get things going and what the costs will be.

What will your monthly operating expenses be? For example:

  • internet access
  • bank charges
  • phone/fax lines
  • auto responder and shopping cart (if online business),
  • printer cartridges/office supplies
  • advertising, etc.

Then determine when you expect to start bringing in sales. How much will you need to earn every month to cover your operating expenses? Not until your basic monthly expenses are covered and a surplus of funds is created should you begin to purchase the nice-to haves.

Be frugal during your first year as a home-based business owner. Monitor and understand where your money is coming from and where it is going. Keep a watchful eye, maintain strict control and pace your spending according to your profits. By creating structure and remaining vigilant in your spending, you will build a solid foundation for your business. Build a strong foundation, be financially responsible on an ongoing basis and the sky will be the limit!

Laurie Hayes, founder and Director of The HBB Source, helps employees break free of their jobs to live their dream of working from home. Through private mentoring and coaching, numerous online and offline articles, and a free bi-weeekly ezine, Laurie gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to build rewarding home-based businesses. For more information, visit

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