Colin Benjamin


Colin Benjamin

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:59

We need help fast and cheap!

My business partner and I are currently working in a new business unpaid and we can afford to do this for another five months.


Do you have any tips on how to get as much low-cost help as possible in this time? We feel we’re racing against the clock on this.


Despite all appearances to the contrary, there is no such thing as a free lunch.


Costs are the manifestations of business operations that cannot be avoided but can be reduced through a combination of very simple processes.


Here are five ways to reduce those costs:

  1. As founder investors in a new business you need to establish an advisory panel of friends that act as a surrogate board, and find willing associates that stand to benefit from your subsequent success.
  1. Make the most of state and federal government small business resources – not just those in your home state but also the wide-range of excellent services offered overseas.
  1. Join industry associations that are a source of market intelligence and have start-up support teams that are able to act as a very cheap peer support alternative to expensive consultants.
  1. Talk with students in related professional and business schools that are looking for work experience and an entry into your field. They are often prepared to follow the Apple pathway with a small shareholding or success fees.
  1. Visit the editor of local papers and get them interested in your new business venture and encourage related business owners and start-ups to contact you. See these as business partners and get them to sign a NDA in return for you doing the same for their business plans. Networking is the real key to cost-containment.

You will always be racing against the clock, a dwindling bank balance and the search for an effective source of customers.


That’s the nature of small business.


The trick is to turn time into a schedule, plan for growth based upon solid business and marketing plans and avoid making major financial commitments that are not backed by your accountant and your bank manager.

Dr Colin Benjamin is creator of the widely used Roy Morgan Values Segments and strategic marketing tools presented in marketing courses across Australia. Colin is the voice of Australian social marketing iconic character "Norm" as the (Hon) Director General of 'Life. Be in it.' and acts as a professional mentor to a number of charities, SMEs and NGOs and Chairman of the Melbourne Think Tank - Marshall Place Associates.


Ask Colin or any other StartupSmart Mentor a question here.

Comments (1)

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No such thing as a free lunch, and a very risky cheap lunch that will eventually cause indigestion. For a business advocating getting everything for free, at the expense of other businesses, also struggling, prolongs the welfare mentality into the business environment. Karma, if you want everything for free you will be expected to dish it our for free, too. I see so many micro and small businesses going around looking for handouts, yet struggling to develop real business skills and earn the respect of peers. Sounds like typical "tall poppy syndrome".
Rick Vincenti , October 11, 2012
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