I am a start up, with no office. fairly new to Canada with no financial records. No website (only Domain name). Working from a rented room.
I registered my company. Imported a small stock that is enough to start a sale team.
Stored in my car/room for now (ironic but true). Trying to hire independent sales reps to start sales.
With all of this I have a limited C$8,000 left to live on and gain momentum to start my business.
How should I spend this C$8,000 and on what to insure I survive the start up? (I do not like sales calls and would want to spend time on organizational issues such as sales rep contracts, CRM, business plan preparation, and many requirements like this- oh and if sales start rolling ok - move to a house with extra space to function better, office comes later, etc, etc)
I met a product package/retail consultant early this week who was impressed by the product and packaging, my vision, and clear focused ideas. He is giving me a proposal to assist me and suggested to start with a business plan that will assist me to focus on the needed and find financing. While financing is required to excel I still am not too sure if the Business plan is the right way to spend my money on now (3K-3.5K of $8K). I know sales must pick up to cover some expenses but I have to also import some more variety, and around and around we go.
THE PRODUCT BRIEFLY:
I always go for durable, affordable, needed products and I think I hit the bulls-eye this time..... Cost CIF was approx C$5800 for 3000pcs so it is a small item that is easy to stock, easy for sales to handle and shops to display and above all few extra cents is easily translated to a good percentage in profitability terms. The packaging has my company name and website so this is why the office and website and all the above was mentioned as an important issue. A good Website could also be used for sales and drop shipment is also an option (I have no experience to know if web sales could generate enough as an alternative to the start up probably the way to spend my money on- i do not know)
I thank you all for reading this. I smile and ask to please advise me "which came first, the hen or the Egg?"
I'm not sure what you should spend your money on, but I know what you shouldn't spend your money on:
Cash is king. Everything you spend money on at this delicate moment should be focused directly at bringing in customers and securing sales. That means a business plan can wait.
I would focus on using your web site to drive sales. It's the greatest amount of bang for the buck. Consider an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on providing valuable content that will attract your target audience. This approach has five steps:
This strategy consistently produces results that are 60% cheaper than outbound (i.e. direct) marketing techniques. However, it does take time to build and audience and generate results. Therefore, Adwords and Facebook ads can be a good bridge to ramp up more quickly. Just make sure that your website has well-designed landing pages before turning on the Adwords or you might as well be setting your money on fire.
With regard to financing, one three things will happen:
First of all good luck Ramzi.
As I said before, I strongly believe you need a business plan NOW. Without it, you'll be making decisions without a structure and you'll have no direction whatsoever. That doesn't mean that you'll fail at all. It will just make the decision making process harder. If things go well, probably in a few months, you'll have another 8000 to invest, but if you don't have a business plan, you'll be coming back here asking for more advice (which is good, don't get me wrong).
The key here is to identify the low hanging fruits. Where can you get the most bang for the buck? What is urgent AND important right now? Many entrepreneurs don't see the difference between urgency and importancy. If I were you, I'd invest everything I have on sales and marketing.
A good website is always helpful as well as the other web marketing strategies suggested by DiPietro, but if you are not selling directly to consumers, and you are basically targeting small retailers in your area, you could do without it for the time being. What worries me is that the packaging has your website on it, but there is really no website up and running right? That may not give a good impression of your company. Imagine you type the address of this great product you just bought and you see nothing. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Are you targeting all potential clients? The answer is probably not. Hence, those 8000 should be put towards reaching and promoting your product to that audience. That may involve attending trade fairs, networking through your local chamber of commerce, attending conferences, or even give away some free samples to potential retailers. To do all that you may require some extra help. Just make sure you train them well and they understand the product inside and out (cost structure, benefits, composition, audience,...), as well as your competition's products.
Hope this helped.