Welcome to the second in our Startup Smart Series. This series of articles is intended as a quick reference guide to the things young startups need to know and provides some tips and tricks for savings cost and knowing what to expect. With a little bit of knowledge and creativity you can startup your business for a relatively small amount.
In Part 2 we focus on developing your business presence. If you always thought developing a business presence would cost thousands this piece will show you how you can startup for much less. With a little bit of creativity and the right information you can drastically reduce your costs.
For illustrative purposes, we’ve created 3 different budget levels depending on your needs:
- Super Saver – the startup approach for those with very little cash,
- Cost Conscious – where you have a little bit more than nothing to spend but are still on a very tight budget; and
- Restrained Spender – still starting up on a budget, but where you can afford to have someone else do some of the tasks.
Which approach (or mix of approaches) you choose will depend on the business you are starting and the skill set of those in your team.
|Logo Design||Why?A company’s logo helps define the character of a company. It conveys information on the style and attitude of the company. Are you serious, playful, corporate?
1 Day to several weeks depending on method selected
You can create the logo yourself, use design contests or hire a freelancer. If you have a larger budget you could hire a design firm.
Do – It – Yourself
The cheapest option is to design your logo yourself. Even if you don’t have design experience that doesn’t mean you can’t put a good looking logo together.
One easy way to get your creative juices flowing is to spend a few minutes looking around a few design sites to get inspiration. Sites like Instant Shift or Six Revisions highlight design trends and free design resources.
You can also use creative fonts which you can download for free. You could pair these with free icons which you can get from sites like Instant Shift or by just doing a simple web search.
You should also take a look at Logo Maker a free online logo maker from Hewlett Packard.
Once you have some ideas and you are ready to try putting the logo together use free image manipulation software (StartUP LunchBox àResource Database à Creative Services à Image Manipulation) There are several free programs and even Photoshop has a 30-day free trial. Free trials of Photoshop last for 30 days so if you are going to design brochures or other items plan to do these at the same time.
You’ll need a 72dpi version for your website and higher resolution versions for publications. If you plan to design or have designed leaflets and brochures it would be best if you saved a vector format such as .ai or .eps otherwise high res images are okay.
Purchase a pre-designed logo. Logo sites such as 99Designs offer pre-designed logos, which you can have customized to your company. Typically the cost would be in the range of $99 (£62), however 99 Designs in particular has been known to offer deals on Startups.com offering $50 (£32) of credit for $9 (£6).
Post a logo design brief as a contest or as an individual job.
Several contest hosting websites such as MycroBurst, 99Designs, Design Crowd allow you to post your logo requirements. Designers then submit designs during the contest period, and you can write back and suggest changes. You can also post the job on sites like Freelancer and choose one designer from amongst a number of bids. Here the price is variable (as designers will submit bids trying to be as cost competitive as possible) but you will have one designer and a pre-arranged number of designs/revisions. The logo contests require you to fix a price but will give you options from a number of designers.
Typically logo contests cost in the range of $200 (£125) depending upon prominence of campaign, timeframe, and how much interest you want to generate.
What to Look for:
The test of a good logo is whether, without the name, the graphics are still memorable – will someone remember it later? Serious logo design is a talent, but that doesn’t mean you should blow your startup budget on one. It is possible to put together a temporary logo for initial launch and then update it down the line when you have more budget to spend.
Questions to Ask
If you plan to use a design contest, freelancer or design firm you should confirm the follow details:
Super Saver = £0; DIY
Cost Conscious = £62 ($99); Pre-designed
Restrained Spender = £125-£180 ($200-290); Design Contest
|Website||WhyWebsites are a crucial business tool in today’s digital society. Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to create a good looking multifunctional website without paying £1,000’s to web designers (prices start from around £1,000 for a designer). Or if you do want to use a designer it’s much easier to be knowledgeable and to make sure you are getting the best service possible.
4-6 weeks; shorter for DIY or certain templates
The first thing is to sit down and sketch out what you want the website to contain. How should it all be linked together? What functionality do you want it to have?
Do – It – Yourself
There are two easy and low cost options for building your own website, even if you don’t have any design or coding experience. The first is to use WordPress with a free or premium template or secondly to use a DIY website builder.
WordPress started off as an open source blogging template/platform that has now developed into a multi functional website platform. The basic WordPress (www.wordpress.org) software is free which you can install on the server that is hosting your website (this is straightforward). Then you select a template which you upload to your website. An online admin panel then allows you to customize the site, adding pages, features etc. You can either use a free template or purchase a premium template.
The nice thing about WordPress sites are that you can also obtain a wealth of free and paid for “plugins” which enable you to ad functionality to your site.
Even if you don’t have experience designing websites, if you opt for a premium template the company you purchase from should have support services to help you develop and customize your website. Although free templates are cheaper you would not get the same level of support as a premium template. WordPress.org does have support forums, but service would not be customized or guaranteed.
Premium Template + Hosting:
Hosting $3.00 (£2)/month – $5.95 (£5)/mo; + theme $39 (£24)/yr
Cost = £47/year ($72) dependent on hosting package
DIY Website Builder
There are a number of DIY website builders which provide a platform on which you can build your site. These come with hosting and email. They vary depending on how much freedom/customization you can do with each one. For instance some would only let you select from a pre-arranged selection of templates whereas others would let you build from scratch.
For both WordPress Themes and Website Builders go to:
Resource Database à Website à DIY
DIY Website Builders
£7.20/month (inc paypal integration; email)
Cost = £86/year
Let’s say you want a little bit more assistance than a complete DIY solution but you don’t want to want to pay for a full designer. Most of the DIY or premium WordPress templates will have knowledgeable support staff that provide freelance support. Set aside a small budget for help with customization.
Increased Freelance Support or Design Contest
For a further solution you could increase the amount that you’re willing to spend on a freelancer. You could also or post a web design contest on the same sites that host logo design contests. In order to get a decent response to your design brief plan on a budget of at least £500. The minimum required payment for a web design contest is often lower than £500 but you are only likely to get a decent response if the brief is very simple unless you offer more. It’s also likely you’ll still need to arrange your own hosting.
What to Look For:
Super Saver = £47-82; DIY WordPress or Site Builder
Cost Conscious = £250; DIY with Freelance Support
Restrained Spender = £536; DIY with increased Support or Design Contest
|Business Cards||WhyYou’ll need business cards to help identify you and your business. They might be old fashioned but they are still very much in use. When you meet clients, suppliers or others you’ll want them to remember you and your business.
Printing – couple of days
DIY – same day
Design Contest – 1 Week
You’ll need to have a design for the cards as well as to have them printed.
Many printers have design templates into which you can insert your company’s details. You can also use templates included with MS Office.
If you want a more customized look you can also post a brief on a design contest/freelance site.
For printers see StartUP LunchBox Resource Database à Office à Printing
What to Look For
How Much – Design
Super Saver = £0; DIY
Cost Conscious = £0; DIY
Restrained Spender = £75-90; Design Contest/Freelance
How Much – Printing
Super Saver = £5, 250 cards, 215gsm (paper weight/thickness), Matt finish, single side
Cost Conscious = £9, 100 cards, 350gsm, single side
Restrained Spender = £11, 50 cards, 350gsm, Satin Finish, 2-sided