Sacramento is a town that is really going places–especially for startups. Mayor Darrell Steinberg is dedicated to making the Sacramento more business-friendly, providing affordable housing, more activities, and business incentives in town. As Silicon Valley becomes increasingly unaffordable, it only makes sense that more businesses will migrate north.
Startups come with a lot of benefits, but the cost of those is having some difficult things to oversee. One of these is finances. Getting ahead of your finances is essential for any Sacramento startup, especially if you’re looking to continue to grow.
Make Community Ties
One of the benefits of making Sacramento your startup headquarters is that you can take advantage of the community. The Sacramento Metro Chamber will not only give you great local contacts — it can even save you money on your office supplies. They have a program where certain business supplies purchased through Office Depot are up to 60 percent off.
That’s not the only value of community ties, though. You’ll find new customers and opportunities for partners through things like networking events. Perhaps you can find a new place to advertise at a complementary business. The time it takes to join the Metro Chamber — or any other Sacramento professional organization — is well worth the connections and financial opportunities you get from it.
“We want to hire the best talent that is energetic, that is creative, that is innovative and loyal to us,” said Parrable CEO Carla Holtze, who recently opened an office in Sacramento. “Sacramento represents a great place to hire this phenomenal talent.”
With many colleges in the area, dedicated and experienced professionals who’d like a break from driving to Silicon Valley, and other workers ready for a new start, Sacramento is a great place to recruit talent.
When you’re hiring for your startup, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Don’t just jump on the first qualified person who applies. Instead, check to make sure that they bring skills to the table that complement the other people working with you. Personnel is one of the biggest expenses for a business — so make sure every dollar is going to the right person. With so many people to choose from, the biggest problem will be narrowing down the field, not finding qualified talent.
Make a Plan
The first thing you have to do when you found a startup is plan for both income and outlay. Determine where your money is coming from, where you’re going to spend it, and how you’re going to generate more income.
If you don’t have the money, look at loans, investors, and partners. You might be surprised what you can come up with if you have a great idea and some experience. If you already have money, it’s time to start planning what you’re going to do with it.
The first thing to think about are startup costs. Consider your supplies, marketing, and personnel especially. Make forecasts for the next six months, one year, and five years. If your projected expenses aren’t balancing, you can start figuring out why early — and making corrections.
Also track where you’re spending money. If you’re laying out more than you expected on supplies, perhaps finding a local supplier will help cut the costs. If you see that you’re getting close to the edge on personnel, you’ll know to freeze hiring for a while. Knowing exactly where you stand financially is your greatest resource.
Keep in mind there are plenty of apps or programs that can help you manage your money if you’re not comfortable doing it on your own.
Be Flexible But Firm
The business climate of today isn’t the climate of the 1950s. Successful business are often more flexible with where and how things get done.
Peter Marek of Invoice Home says “We’re at a crossroads in our economic future, and the shape of things to come hasn’t been fully established. In ten years, what we call ‘work’ might be completely different from what we see today.”
Consider this: sometimes working from home is actually more productive; it can also help you save on the amount of space you rent or purchase. People are happier employees when you provide benefits that help them have a good work-life balance — but the nature of the work matters a lot too.
You can afford to be flexible with your employees when you have a team of dedicated, motivated people who are working with the single purpose to see your startup succeed. Debate the many options open to you before you choose one way for your startup to function. You may find ways to save money and have a happier staff at once.
Another place to be flexible is with your sales. If you aren’t ready to do direct sales yet, consider ecommerce options. Don’t get bogged down thinking things have to be a certain way for your business. You can adjust, reposition, and try new things while you work on hitting the target.
Places where you must be firm with your finances are in things like contracts and invoicing. Do not let people take advantage of your startup, lest you find yourself without money that’s needed. Always have strong legal language in contracts that covers things like damaged shipments and late payments. Doing so early will set a precedent that will protect you as your startup grows.
If you’re looking to open a startup in Sacramento, make a plan, get involved with the community, track your finances, be flexible where you can and firm where you must. The local support and excellent hiring prospects should benefit your business in the long-term. Sacramento is the new Silicon Valley — and it makes sense to get in on the ground floor.