All startups, funded or not, should start from day one with a scrappy mindset. Every penny needs to be conserved due to the many zigs and zags, and time, required to find success. That’s not to say every penny needs to saved to the detriment of proving a thesis, but rather, where logical, go the cheap and frugal route. Let’s look at some ways to be scrappy:
- Seek out office sub-leases to save 50% off the market rates as well as enjoy shorter lease terms — shorter leases are key because you don’t know how many employees you’ll need in two to three years
- Purchase used furniture from Goodwill, or look for a local company that is downsizing — most companies that are downsizing will give you furniture for free because they’ll have to pay to have it removed (no used furniture dealers are buying furniture in this market)
- Purchased refurbished laptops and monitors off TigerDirect.com or Craigslist — never buy them new, and purchase laptops instead of desktops so that employees have mobility
- Use a VoIP phone systems like Vocalocity or Cbeyond instead of a traditional analog line as they are considerably cheaper and much more feature rich
Here are a few things you should not skimp on: a good coffee machine, natural light/lighting, a location people want to come to, and the fastest Internet you can buy.
One more benefit of establishing the scrappy mindset at the beginning of the business is that this will continue to persist as the business grows. You want everyone to treat the company’s money as if it was their own money.
My advice to entrepreneurs: incorporate a scrappy mindset at time of incorporation and increase your chances of success.