Do you know how to grow and manage your startup on a limited budget? Hi, I’m Thea Perez. I’m the founder and creative director of Polychrome, an online marketplace to purchase original print, pattern, artwork, and trend information for the fashion industry. If you started your company and you need a team and the resources to grow it but you have a tight budget, here are some tips.
Building Your Team
Social media is an easy way to spread the word about a position in your new company. Create job descriptions that you can post in Google Docs or in another file-sharing platform so that you can share the link for candidates to find out all the details of the opportunities available. When building your team, it’s important for you to be totally upfront about the stage that your business is at now. Most startups need employees to be very flexible and willing to wear many hats.
Related: An Ex-Google Recruiter’s Guide to Hiring Success
Doing the Paperwork Yourself
There are some financial and legal issues to take care of, such as registering your business and things of that nature. Although many people choose to pay for the services of a lawyer, most of the paperwork for a simple business, like a sole proprietorship or an LLC, could be done on your own with some research. If you have somebody like a mentor willing to give you some pointers and advice on this, it will go a long way to making you feel more comfortable about doing it yourself. You can find most of the information you need about finances and making sure you’re paying your taxes correctly online at the IRS site. There’s also a lot of information online and at your library through the SBA about setting up your books and dealing with taxes.
Related: How to Create a Pro-Forma Balance Sheet
Setting Up Financials
You’ll definitely need to have at least a business checking account. If you do a little homework, there are lots of banks, especially local credit unions, that offer free checking with no interest for small businesses. For accounting and invoicing, there are several online resources, such as Soho, which can help you manage your books. Basic packages are often free, or at least they start with a free trial period just to get you started.
Related: Sample Business Plan Financials: Bob’s Rent-A-Bike
There are several online resources for timesheets and tracking that tie into accounting and invoicing, just like Soho mentioned above. Many of these tools will allow more than one user to import hours and keep track of various projects. There are some that offer basic packages starting free with restrictions on how many invoices you can send or how many customer or employee or contractor profiles you can implement before you need to opt in for a pay plan.
Investing in a File-Sharing Service
File sharing is really important. If you have a group working with you, services such as Dropbox and Hightail can allow people to share files and even comment on them. Plans are often free for a small amount of storage and that’s at least enough time to try them out to see if they work for you. Google Docs are also a great way to share spreadsheets and files and then have them updated by everyone on your team in real time. Pinterest is a way to share images with each other without taking up space on your hard drive. Pinterest also allows secret pinboards, so only the people you invite will have access. And another benefit of Pinterest is that it will save the URL that you originally got your pin from.
The takeaway is that you could still find a lot of free tools online to help with team building and management. Tasks like accounting, branding, and legal matters might require a lot more time and learning than you’re willing to give. So this could be an area to spend some money on professional help if you can. But if you can’t, and you’re willing to put in the hard work and be outside your comfort zone a little bit, you can do most of this by yourself. When building your team it’s important for you to be honest and transparent with them if you expect them to be loyal and productive.
About Thea Perez
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Apparel Design, Thea climbed the ranks at several companies working as a designer with an emphasis on sweater design, knit garments, and surface embellishment. Her early career allowed her to travel the world from the Paris to Hong Kong and gain wealth of insight to the inner workings of the apparel business as well as further developing her design skills. In addition to her career in the fashion industry, Thea has also taught Design and Drawing in the Apparel department for the undergraduate program at RISD.
Since then, Thea has served a variety of clients in the fashion industry while at the helm of her own company, Thea Perez Design. Services include: developing initial concepts and color palettes, designing product for established lines, or designing and developing an entire line from concept to sample stage. Clients have come to rely on her highly developed sense of color and trend analysis, and she has earned a reputation as a great resource for trend-right design.
Most recently, Thea has launched a new venture, POLYCHROME, which is an online marketplace for original print patterns and trend direction for the fashion industry. POLYCHROME represents the work of many diverse and talented artists all of whom work as a collaborative. In her role as Creative Director, Thea guides the team to create prints in line with upcoming trends for the fashion industry.