Don't let your money go up in smoke

Getting your own business going is tough, and one of the toughest parts to starting your own business or maintaining your small business is keeping your spending in check. There are so many places that our dollar can go and it can be a real challenge to know where to invest that dollar to get the greatest ROI.

In a recent article the Under30CEO team recently polled 40 business leaders to determine the largest money wasters for small business leaders. The 40 individual findings boiled down into four big buckets.

Advertising & Marketing - Your small business is going to get hammered with opportunities to advertise: online, social media, space ads, pay-per-click, email marketing, door hangers, on and on and on. Additionally, it won't be long before the marketing bug strikes and you are begin thinking about new logos and branding, marketing material, list rentals and all sorts of ways to get your name out there.

There is nothing wrong with advertising and marketing, but you have to do it right. The wrong placement or wrong message is, at best, a waste of money and could even damage your reputation. The rush to get into advertising and marketing before you have your product, your unique selling proposition and ways to track the results of your efforts nailed down can be quite the costly lesson.

Space & Stuff - You've got a new business, so now you need somewhere to hang your shingle, new furniture, new computers and a big sign so everybody knows who you are, right? Maybe...eventually...Committing to fixed assets and lease obligations too early can be a huge waste of resources. Can you operate out of your home until you build up a client base? Do you really need new office equipment and furniture or can you think of any lower cost alternatives? Your initial capital would be much better spent focusing on your product and attracting the right potential client than on a desk or office space.

Staff - So, you're all set up to go. Let's start hiring! Slow down a second! Overstaffing your fledgling business can stunt your growth right out of the gate. Even worse than overstaffing is wrongly staffing. Hiring the wrong people for the wrong reasons may leave you hamstrung when you identify someone who would be a perfect fit for your team. Do what you can for yourself and consider freelance or contract labor until you figure out exactly who you want and what you need for your permanent team.

Poor Decisions - This big catch all is all you, Mr. or Mrs. Entrepreneur. Your decisions can be the biggest waste of resources of them all. Are you spending time trying to do things that you don't know how to do? Waste of resources. All those overstaffing and wrong staffing situations, those are on you, too. Running too quickly into advertising, look in the mirror. 

Being a small business owner is tough. You are faced with a ton of decisions and have to do the best you can to chart the right course for your organizations. What do you think about these potential wastes of resources? Have you fallen prey to these? What have we missed? Feel free to join the discussion to help other business owners just like you.