Startup Tips: How to save money and increase productivity

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The two serial entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, Jason Calacanis and Mike Arrington have shared a few wonderful tips on how to save money as well as increase productivity for startups.

Though I don’t necessarily agree with all of the points made (for e.g. buy mac computers), but nevertheless, here is a summary of few very very relevant stuffs:

cut cost save money[Money Saving Tips]

  • Don’t buy a phone system. No one will use it – instead reimburse mobile bills (saves tax)
  • Don’t buy everyone Microsoft Office–it’s too much money. Put Office on three or four common computers and use Google Apps.
  • Don’t waste money on recruiters. Use our job board 🙂
  • Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs.

[Productivity Tips]

  • Fire people who don’t love their work.
  • Buy your hardest working folks computers for home (better still, give them a laptop).
  • Buy everyone lunch four days a week and establish a no-meetings policy. Going out for food or ording in takes at least 20-60 minutes more than walking up to the buffet and eating. If you do meetings over lunch you also save that time. So, 30 minutes a day across say four days a week is two hours a week… which is 100 hours a year. You get the idea.
  • Outsource accounting and HR—such a no brainer
  • Get an expensive, automatic espresso machine at the office.
  • Allow folks to work off hours (as well as from home). Commuting sucks and is a waste of time for everyone.

Well, most of the Indian startups that I know run on Google Apps and rely heavily on freebies, i.e. –

  • OSS (LAMP), CMS tools (Joomla/Drupal) for development.
  • Skype for communication.
  • Meeting with vendors/prospective partners at CCDs (Cafe Coffee Day) instead of posh restaurants.

Few points I’d like to make:

  • Start a blog – an active one and try to get close to the community. If you do a good job, you will never need a PR firm.
  • Use events like Barcamps to meet prospective customers/employees, and of course to (shamelessly) promote your product (in a subtle manner)
  • Never ever hire a HR person or advertise in any newspaper (for e.g. ToI Ascent etc).

Few debatable topics:

  • Incubation center?
  • Outsourcing the dev part to third-party?

What else would you like to add?

Read TC and Calacanis post

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