Two things your start-up cannot survive without

By Jill Chivers


I’ve worked with a lot of start-ups – people who are enthusiastic about their new business idea and want to get it off the ground.

And I’ve been that start-up myself – I have started a number of microbusinesses, where I’ve had nothing but a great idea and I wanted to turn it into a business.

So I’ve got some good oil to share with you on what it takes to get your business off the ground, and to keep it going.

There are many things start ups need, but in this article I’m going to share with you two specific things you absolutely must have, if your business is to have any chance at all.

These things are time and money.

You need both of them, but you need one of them in great supply. If you only have a little bit of each, then you need to rethink if this is the time to start a business. You just don’t have enough juice to get it going, and to keep it going, if you don’t have either a lot of time or a lot of money.

But the good news is that you can get a good business of the ground if you have either one or the other in large supply. And I mean large supply.


If you have less time, then you need more money. This is to pay for professionals to do things for you that you don’t have the time to do yourself or the time to learn to do yourself.

You can’t get away with not knowing about some of the technicalities or behind-the-scenes things, like how websites run or what money is coming in and out of your business – you must have at least a passing grasp of these kinds of things, otherwise you will simply be too ignorant about your business.

But if you have money to pay someone to develop your website, set up and run your books, write your website copy, design your graphics (logos, business cards, website header, and so on), create your products and services, set up and maintain a social media strategy, coach you, and plan and manage your overarching strategy and day-to-day operations, then you don’t have to be very knowledgeable in all the details.

It’s definitely false economy to choose professionals to help you based solely on who charges the least. There’s a wonderful quote that says “if you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait til you hire an amateur”. You want the best person for the job at the most affordable price – sometimes this means the provider with the lowest price gets the job, and sometimes it’s a professional who charges a little more (or even top dollar). Focus on the outcome you want, and find the best professional to help you get there.


If you have less money, then you need more time. There is no other option but to do the things that need to be done yourself, to get your business of the ground, if you don’t have enough money to pay professionals to do these things for you.

You not only need time to do all the things that need doing, but to learn to do the things that need doing that you don’t currently know how to do. This learning time may, when it all washes out, be the most “expensive” item on your list of time-consuming activities.

This is why it can often be less expensive, in the long run (even the medium run), to have experienced professionals do at least some things that need doing. The time they can save you in learning and becoming even a little proficient, is often enormous.

And if you don’t have the skills already, or the time to learn them to the proficiency you need those skills to be at, then your only option is to pay someone to do those things for you.

You also need to determine how much money your time is worth. When you first get started, you may value your time at a very low cost, because you aren’t all that skilled in many areas yet. But as you progress, you need to consider how much spending your time doing this task actually costs – and perhaps it may be time to have someone else do things that previously you were doing.

Assess how much you have – before you get started

Before you get started, it’s extremely worthwhile to do an assessment of how much time and money you have for this new venture. Don’t get too far into it before you realise and fully face that you don’t have enough time or money to get this new venture up and running, and to keep it going.

However much you may be disappointed to not get started straight away, it’s nothing in comparison to the disappointment you’ll feel when you have spent hours, weeks and probably months, or thousands and thousands of dollars, on a venture that simply isn’t going to get up and running because you’ve run out of the right juice (time or money, or both) to get it where it needs to go.