There are lots of things you already know to include in your start up budget. You know that you need to budget money for filing fees, office supplies, marketing campaign, etc. If you are like most new entrepreneurs, you know about the big things that you’ll need to help build your business. But what about the little things?

Big Important Little Thing #1: Your Professional Photo

As a mom, you are well versed in professional portraits. You’ve had baby portraits, portraits of your kids and even family portraits taken as you and your kids have gotten older. You know how to find a great deal on a fantastic shot.

Use this knowledge to your advantage and have some professional portraits of yourself taken. Use these portraits on your business cards, your website, online portfolios, etc. These will help you far more than anything taken yourself in the backyard (no matter how good a photographer your husband or oldest child might be).

Big Important Little Thing #2: Your Letterhead/Stationery

Professionally printed stationery looks so much better than anything you could print yourself at home. Find the money to have letterhead, blank cards and notepads printed up. There are lots of places that you can use to get these things for a great price online but it’s better to use a local shop. This way, you help your local economy and can make business contacts at the same time.

Big Important Little Thing #3: A Really Great Suit

One of the perks of working at home is getting to wear whatever you want whenever you want to wear it. While this is fine while you’re sitting at your computer in your home office, it is not fine for meeting with clients (yes, even when those meetings happen via webcam and teleconference software).

Invest in a beautiful and nicely tailored suit that you can wear for meetings and networking events. People will appreciate that you dressed up for them and it will help you build your reputation as a consummate professional.

Big Important Little Thing #4: A Dedicated Email Address

Yes, gmail is free and the standard for most email now. It still looks better for you to have an email address at your own domain name. You at WhateverYou’veChosen Dot Com or Net looks much better than You at Gmail dot com. It lends credibility to your business before people even open the email you’ve sent. It also shows a dedication to your business that a free gmail account simply does not.

Note: Dedicated email addresses are incredibly easy to set up. You can set them up with your web hosting provider or domain name server and then run them through mail clients like Outlook or Thunderbird.

Big Important Little Thing #5: Really Good Pens

Yes, you can buy the very basic kind for a couple bucks per dozen at the local office supply store. But you don’t want to pull one of those out of your bag during a meeting! It’s better to fork over the extra cash for the upscale writing utensils. They last longer, write better, feel better in your hand and help you look professional during meetings.

Note: You probably had some pens printed up for marketing purposes. These will do in a pinch but it’s better to use the heavier, better pens whenever possible.

What are some of the little things that you didn’t think would matter much but ended up making a huge difference in your business?

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