We've all seen this thread regarding starting up a business with $25,000 of capital. However, how would you go about doing it with a tenth of that? This thread gives you $2500 to do the same thing by the same rules, as shown below.
You must spend the money (no vacations to Tahiti!)
You can spend it however you like and wherever you like.
You don't have to spend it all at once.
You can target any market you like (managed, unmanaged, etc.)
The $2.5K has to cover everything - equipment, rentals, marketing, etc. You can buy or lease, but the goal is to make a profit.
You are launching a professional enterprise, so assume this isn't going to be run out of your house. But reselling/partnering/etc. is certainly permitted.
1.) Assuming you had already worked out your plan, I would first begin working on the website before any money was spent on services. Take this time to create content, your pricing structures, etc.
2.) Purchase a cheap VPS for your main site / whmcs. Something with like 128MB of RAM (or less) and a LAMP stack. This virtual server will be for your company site and client portal only. Google Apps can handle your email. Make this in a different network or location then your production server. (-$100/YR or so for server and $156/YR for WHMCS License)
3.) I would then find a provider of quality servers or virtual servers. You don't want to start your business on some cheap-o low grade server of questionable quality. I would personally seek something Cloud based, that can be scaled larger as needed. I would rent two Cloud based Virtual Servers, one for Shared Hosting and one for Reseller Hosting. Both with 768MB of RAM to begin with. The seperate Reseller server is so you can provide (to the best of your ability) a White Label Reseller service which is commonly looked for. You'll need a seperate non-branded hostname in which you can use for that particular server, so DNS lookups don't resolve to "your-company.com" ($50/mo x2 = $1,200/YR)
3.) Licensing! At the very least, you need cPanel. Some providers offer this as low as $10/mo some as much as $20/mo. We get these next to nothing but for the sake of easy math lets say you pay $15/mo for these. ($15/mo X 2 = $360/YR)
You've now spent $1,816 on the majority of your first year's cost, leaving you with $684. I'd use that money to do a bit of CHEAP advertising, but likely to add additional features to your existing setup. While what is left over isn't a lot to work with, my example shows three servers, two cPanel licenses, and WHMCS paid for for the entire first year.
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1) Get a great design from a Wordpress template ($100?) and get a hosting with white label DNS (less than $50)
2) Optimize your website for the best conversions (thousands of free PDF can teach you about it on the Internet)
3) Find great white label providers which you can make a profit with them.
4) Run a performance marketing campaign based in Adwords and Banners: $2,350.
Hmm... from what I've learned of growing my company, this is how I'd do it:
1. Buy domain. Probably about $10, or less depending on who you go with. Me? Namecheap.
2. LTO/RTO servers from existing providers. Depends on how much and how big the servers are and how many servers. For me, it was $300 a mo'. Edit: (if I lease servers without RTOing them, $150 a mo'.)
3. Purchase SolusVM master/slave licenses, use one each of LTO/RTO servers in 2. for Xen and OpenVZ.
4. Redevelop EHCP into your own panel. (I've been doing this for about two months now... damn turkish language making the redevelopment harder.)
5. Purchase WHMCS owned unbranded license. (Not done.) Use license to get Maxmind fraud check & Enom reseller account or something.
6. Get Ezeelogin.
7. Save the rest for emergency issues related to your company.
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What Federal registration is needed? State here is zero.
CPA? Nice, mine is 150 a year for taxes.
Software Licenses? With vps maybe 100 to 150/year for whmcs
Lots of free choices to avoid that too -- awbs works just fine
lots of free accounting programs also.
Website design free if needed to start, 100 if not.
So minimal vps for WHMCS -- 100/year.
vps for clients 600 to 800 a year.
1400 for ads local mail campaign or whatever.