Starting a new business is one of the scariest and exciting things you will ever do. There are far more unknowns than certainties and far more questions than answers. One of the more manageable questions has to do with expenditures. You have managed to get a business loan and you have written a good business plan. But it can still be difficult to know what to purchase first.
For this piece, I will be using a massage business as an example. But the principles work with any business. You already know there are going to be plenty of things you have to buy. You can’t get everything at once. Some of the items will have to wait for the next round of funding. The real question is what to buy first. There are some things on which you can’t afford to skimp.
This presumes that you have already completed your education and certifications. It also assumes that you already have a business name and a location. Here are your next few purchases:
The Key Piece of Equipment That Makes the Money
Every business requires a key piece of equipment that characterizes the basic unit of commerce for that business. For the massage business, it is a massage chair or massage table. Those entering the business are already likely familiar with the Earthlite catalog. They have already got their professional massage table picked out.
And that is as it should be. You never want to skimp on the coin of your business realm. A carpenter needs the best tools. A musician needs a quality mic. A jeweler needs the best kit. It is not as obvious for some businesses. For still others, the key piece of equipment may not be particularly expensive.
But in the case of massage, you might need two pieces of equipment. If you are going to do a mobile business, you will need a reliable vehicle and a portable massage table. Figure out what is most important in your business and buy that first.
Do Whatever Is Necessary to Accept All Forms of Payment
Some payment systems may require an upfront payment or deposit for equipment. Others may require a certain credit worthiness. Whatever it takes, you have to have a way of processing credit cards, and indeed all manner of payments. That includes Apple Pay, Android Pay, and every other type of contactless payment a person might have.
The real expense of payment systems comes in the form of transaction fees. These fees have to be figured into the price of your product. Don’t charge $34 for a half-hour massage. Charge $36. But don’t refuse to take forms of payment because you don’t want to pay the transaction fee. You never want to turn people away from giving you money. So be sure you have those systems in place up front.
Make Data Security a Priority
Some of the biggest data breaches of 2017 occurred because companies failed to make data security a priority. Part of making security a priority is baking it in from the beginning as opposed to shoehorning it into the process after the fact.
You will be making a huge mistake if you believe your business is too insignificant to be targeted by breachers. In the massage business, you are gathering data on clients in the realm of finance, health, and schedule. If you work with client management software, you might gather all manner of personal details gleaned from casual conversation during a session.
The solution cannot be bolted on after the fact. It has to be a part of the planning stage. So when purchasing software to run your business, don’t forget about data security. It is worth bringing in a consultant.
Key equipment, payment systems, and data security should be among the first things you purchase before opening your doors to the public. Your future customers will thank you with their repeat business.