One of the startup traits I value highly is being scrappy, especially is regards to making every dollar go far. Now, don’t be a penny wise and a pound foolish, and invest in what has the best return even if it isn’t the cheapest. It’s one thing to waste a few hundred dollars, or even a thousand, but it is really bad when $10,000 is wasted. In fact, we’ve had the unfortunate experience of wasting more than $10,000 on three different occasions.
Here are three of our startup examples of wasting $10,000+:
- We tried out a new advertising mechanism, raised the bid per click high to try and spend a few hundred dollars to determine the ROI, and got no clicks for a week so we moved on without turning it off on accident. Only the next month we got a bill for north of $10,000, and no good leads from it.
- We had scripts running to backup our 100+ servers daily, including several extremely large databases, on an Amazon S3 account. Well, that S3 account and corresponding bill wasn’t monitored, and backup purging wasn’t turned on (e.g. purge backups older than X weeks). Once the S3 charge was brought up for budgeting, we realized we’d wasted much more than $10,000 due to storing unnecessary files.
- We signed up for a conference/trade show looking to generate leads and build our brand in an adjacent market. Well, it proved to be a horrible investment and we didn’t generate any leads. That was a $10,000 lesson learned.
My recommendation is to pay attention to expenses, especially ones that hit a credit credit, and know that as you get bigger more items fall through the cracks.
What else? What are some ways you’ve wasted money in a startup?