How To Spend €30,000 On Your Startup

Today I gave a presentation to Enterprise Ireland as part of my CORD grant application. If my attempt to convince the panel was successful, I’ll be given approximately €30,000 to spend on my startup over the next 12 months. But, I’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

In the mean time, I’ll be contemplating the best ways to spend the pending funds so it gives me the best possible start to my new venture.

Deciding What To Buy

Now I may be counting my eggs too soon, but lets imagine that I get approved and the funding is provided. How should I go about using the money as effectively as possible? Here’s a few ways I’ve considered putting the cash to good use:

  • Offload some of the development work by hiring a junior developer. This would free up my time a little and allow me to work on other areas of the business.
  • Run a PR campaign once I’m ready to launch. Getting press coverage and a decent bit of buzz around your product can be a great spring board for success.
  • Spend on online advertising like Google Adwords. The higher your budget the more people see your ad. Provided it’s relevant, this should give a decent measurable return on investment.
  • Go to an overseas web expo (and possibly launch from there). Something like the recent Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco would be the perfect way to launch.

Obviously I’d love to do all of the above, but I’m sure I’ll have to make some concessions and cut the budget in places. The thing is, I’m just not sure where make those concessions.

Looking for Advice

If you had €30,000 to spend on developing your product or service what would you spend it on?


9 Comments added. Add comment?

  1. Robin Blandford says:

    Depending on the audience for my product… and with a hint of knowing your case I would say:

    Spend 0.00 on advertising.

    Spend 30,000.00 on making the product the best at what it does in the world.

    Spend none of your time running marketing campaigns.

    Spend all your time face-facing with influential customers and developing it to their requirements.

    May 8, 2008
  2. Gordon says:

    Well done on the application pitch, I hope you get the funds.

    I’ve only recently been looking at funds and what I would get if I had them, Til now I had my head down in development.

    I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on advertising, I’d simply get the basic promotional material such as business cards and letterheads and then join groups such as BNI, Open Coffee and any others to network with people with the aim of attracting business.

    I heard recently that over 80% of business is received from word of mouth referrals. I don’t know if thats true or only suits a certain market but I’d agree a huge amount of business would come from people knowing your product and telling others. Creating a buzz would be your best option and be other there and approachable.

    To answer the 30K question, Id pay for the essentials, pay myself and outsource work where ever possible. Also buy a copy of “The 4 hour work week” by Tim Ferris.

    May 8, 2008
  3. Iarfhlaith says:

    @Robin. I’d love to be able to ignore the marketing and advertising side but I’m sceptical that if I ignore these elements, it won’t reach as many as it would otherwise. But then again, like you say, if I focus on getting just a few influential customers happy with it, I’m sure their word of mouth would be worth far more then a few Google ads. Maybe a balance of the two when the time is right.

    You’re right though, I should focus on making the best product I can make first. Because without that, all the other stuff is a waste of time.

    @Gordon. I was invited along as a guest to a BNI chapter meeting a couple of weeks ago and I’d definitely give it another go. The people there are very focused and from what I’ve heard so far it’s time very well spent.

    And as for the ‘The 4 hour work week’, it’s already on my reading list 🙂

    Thanks for the feedback.

    May 8, 2008
  4. Niall Larkin says:

    Hiya Gordon. You know what’d be cool. If you sent on your copy of the 4HWW. That is, if you still have the copy I posted to you, that Pat Phelan posted to me…

    May 8, 2008
  5. Iarfhlaith says:

    That’d definitely be cool with me! And I promise to pass it on when I’m finished it too.

    May 9, 2008
  6. brendan lally says:

    Give us more details of your appl/plan and the ‘world’ of wanna-be’s (and some done-it-b’s) can help u out.

    1) do a ‘sketch’/design/UI/screenshots/presentation/screencast/youtubey version done within a few days
    2) go talk to some potential “customers” and c if they like it and going down the right track
    3) if not on right track go back to #1
    4) get a bare bones prototype (presuming u’er writing s/w) up n running in 1-2 weeks (RoR etc.) and go back to #2’s and see what they like/dislike
    5) if not on right track – tweak and back 2 #4, if way off track back to #1
    6) continue with prototype and make more functional going to beta
    7) get those customers rolling on beta
    8) convert customers from beta into prod and get fees
    9) now use customers to be your ‘viral’ marketing channel

    10) regroup and c where u are

    If on your own all of that should be do-able within 10K-20K. If need 2 hire dev’er then maybe u need 2 reconsider prototype/beta and try n get ‘fees’ earlier


    May 17, 2008
  7. Iarfhlaith says:

    Thanks for the great advice Brendan, just dropped you a mail.

    May 17, 2008
  8. peter hampshire says:

    Having recently launched a busines with no grant ,just my own limited cash and that of a friend. We have spent all of our time and most of our cash resources trying to produce the best offering that we can. Marketing the product is expensive and many avenues are simply not open to us. We have tried some viral marketing and have requested back links from hundreds of other sites that are in the same area of business but not in direct competition.

    May 22, 2008
  9. Iarfhlaith says:

    Hey Peter, how did you get on with those link back requests?

    May 22, 2008

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