Starting a business can require a lot of big upfront costs. Below are some of the biggest expenses involved when launching a startup – and how to make them more affordable. 

Equipment and tools

Equipment and tools is often the biggest cost with most startups. It could be a case of buying machinery or it could be a case of purchasing software. You may even need to invest in furniture, specialist clothing and safety equipment. 

Most startups afford equipment by buying it on finance or by leasing it. When buying on finance, shop around for lenders to get the best interest rates. When leasing, compare companies to find the best monthly rates. Expensive software can usually be paid as a monthly subscription. 


New businesses require a lot of promotion. On top of potentially hiring someone to build you a website, it could be worth investing in marketing strategies such as SEO, PPC advertising, flyers and business cards. 

Sometimes it’s possible to do this marketing yourself to save money – for instance, you can build your own website cheaply using a platform like WordPress, Shopify or Wix. Seeking funding from investors could be useful in some industries – this could include looking into VC for food and beverage startups. When using marketing companies, shop around for quotes. 


Do you need an office, store or factory to base your business from? If so, you need to factor in the cost of acquiring these premises.

Renting business premises is cheaper upfront than buying business premises. You’ll usually still have to put down a deposit, but it will be cheaper than any down payment when buying. In some cases, you may not need a premises to begin with – you can run a virtual office, launch an online store or even outsource manufacturing until you’re making enough money to afford your own premises. 

Hiring employees

If you can’t run your business solo, you’ll need to consider hiring employees. On top of being able to afford your employees’ wages, you’ll need to budget for other employee-related upfront costs such as insurance, job adverts and writing up employee contracts.

In some cases, you may be able to get by simply by outsourcing staff or hiring part-time staff. Be realistic about the demands of your business so that you’re hiring the right amount of employees.

Training and consultancy

Every budding entrepreneur can benefit from investing in training and consultancy. Training could be necessary when getting into an industry you have no experience in – especially if you need to be accredited. This could include taking a dog grooming course in order to start a dog grooming business or a marketing course in order to start a marketing firm. Talking to financial and legal advisors could also be useful for helping you to understand the ins and outs of running a business.

Online courses and online consultancy could be cheaper than in-person options. You could also look into seminars and group courses instead of one-on-one courses.