Small Business Startup Costs Explained

Every business is unique, but there’s a common approach to figuring out what it takes to get your business off the ground and sustain it as sales ramp up.

Knowing the startup costs for your new business is critical before you launch. Underestimating the required funds could leave you without enough cash in the bank and heading towards failure before you even get started.

Read this guide to calculate, manage, and minimize your startup costs.

What are startup costs?

Startup costs are what a business spends to get up and running before generating revenue.

Starting costs vary based on business type but often include lease payments, permits, and market research. They can also include asset purchases such as vehicles, real estate, and equipment. Crucially, starting costs also include the money you need in the bank to cover expenses as your business launches until your sales have grown enough to cover those expenses.

Startup cost examples

Starting costs typically include expenses that occur before you start selling and major purchases, known as assets.

Startup expenses include permits and licenses, incorporation fees, logo design, website design, brochure and business card printing, signage, and a down payment on rental property.

Assets include cash to cover operations until sales can cover expenses, improvements to your chosen location, vehicles used for business operations, and intangible assets like trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

Why calculate startup costs?

Knowing your initial costs and expenses improves your chances of launching successfully. It helps you avoid unnecessary risks by understanding potential expenses. It helps you budget and determine if you have adequate funds to launch and operate until you’re profitable. A detailed breakdown of startup costs can make your business more appealing to investors, demonstrating thorough planning and financial acumen.

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Improving decisions with a clear view of costs, you can make pricing, scaling, and other critical decisions more confidently.

What are your startup costs?

Starting costs vary from business to business. How do you know your costs and, more importantly, how much money you need to cover them?

Check out the following resources to answer those questions.

How to calculate your startup costs

Accurately estimate startup costs by accounting for expenses, assets, and cash.

3 Steps to Figure Out How Much Money You Need to Start a Business

How much cash will it take to start your business? Your total cash must go beyond startup costs and ensure you’re prepared to cover emergencies and initial growth.

How Much Should You Personally Cover for Startup Costs?

Consider the impact on your personal finances before covering any business expenses. What’s the right amount? How will you pay yourself back? And are the rewards worth the risk?

Tips for managing startup costs

Follow these steps to minimize unnecessary expenses and prioritize the right things.

How to reduce your startup costs

Keep your startup expenses in check and save money through proper planning, tracking, and exploring possible tax deductions.

Hidden startup costs you may overlook

It’s challenging to account for everything. Don’t let overlooked fees and expenses immediately throw off your budget.

What you won’t regret spending money on as a business owner

There is such a thing as being too frugal. But where should you invest more money? While it depends on your business, you can start with recommendations from a seasoned entrepreneur.

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Get the rest of your business finances in order

Knowing what it costs to start your business will make it easier to get your finances in order.

Check out the rest of our startup financial resources to better understand your path to profitability.

Create your financial plan, set up accounting and payroll, and prepare for funding.

Small Business Startup Costs What Are They and How Much

One-page business plan template is a quick and easy way to list out your expenses and explore how they fit into your overall business.

Small Business Startup Costs What Are They and How Much

AI-powered revenue and expenses: Instantly generate potential revenue streams and expenses using the LivePlan Assistant, powered by AI.

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