For early-stage startups, every dollar matters. As an entrepreneur trying to build your minimum viable product and gain traction, you need to be strategic about spending. Rather than splurging on flashy offices and equipment, the focus should be on minimizing costs wherever possible.

Here are some tips to help startups operate lean:

Look for free or low-cost tools – With the rise of SaaS, you can find free or inexpensive options for most business software needs today. For example, use Google’s G Suite instead of paying for Microsoft Office. Explore free project management tools like Trello or Asana.
Don’t overspend on equipment – Resist buying things you may not really need like expensive computers and gadgets. Go for affordable or second-hand essentials in the beginning.
Co-work don’t office – Leverage co-working spaces to save on office rental and other overheads. You get workplace amenities without the long-term commitment.
Be frugal with marketing – Focus your limited marketing budget on cost-effective channels like social media, SEO/SEM, email marketing. Avoid unnecessary large events or exhibitions early on.
Keep team lean – Hire employees judiciously and only when absolutely necessary in the beginning. Outsource expertise or use freelancers as an affordable alternative.
Adopting a lean startup mentality will help maximize your limited capital in the initial days. The goal is to test and validate your idea cost-effectively until you establish product-market fit.

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