Five potential startup costs that are easy to overlook


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It’s unlikely an entrepreneur is simply going to overlook a cost – most of what you encounter should have been planned for ahead of time. But what can be difficult is just how these costs can expand into areas that you hadn’t anticipated. And how one cost can then overlap onto another.

So let’s look at five costs which it’s easy to think you have covered, only to realise that it goes a little bit deeper than first imagined.

  • Business insurance
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Office space
  • Consultants
  • Setup fees


Business insurance

Protecting your health or your home goes without saying when it comes to insurance. With businesses it’s less straightforward. With this in mind, it’s important to get the right advice for your particular company’s needs, ensuring that you are successfully mitigating any future risks that your business may face.

Here are a few key areas:

  • Group health insurance: Health insurance is mandatory for all employees in your UAE business, but there are many different options. Finding the right insurance to suit both parties can be a struggle, so working with an insurance specialist will ensure you get the right policies.
  • Group life insurance: A group policy will cover all employees under a single master policy, and can include compensation in the event of the death of an employee, as well as compensation for critical illness and disability.
  • Workmen’s compensation insurance: Without the right cover, the employer is required to provide compensation and funds to cover medical bills and loss of earnings should the worker suffer occupational injury or disease. Policies may also include: work-related death, disability, medical and repatriation expenses.
  • Public liability insurance: This is important if you have customer visits or interaction with the public, off-site work, or have access to client equipment or hold other people’s property.
  • Office insurance and more: This helps protect against physical damage to office buildings and contents, and you may also consider business continuity insurance to cover against loss of profits and increased costs if you’re unable to do business as normal.


Advertising and marketing

You may have already put aside some money for marketing, but the question is how is that money going to be used and how can you be sure that you’re maximising your spend. Clearly, your product or service won’t promote itself, but while taking out adverts may be part of your strategy, it’s also important to consider other avenues.

Thought leadership content (ie, content marketing) is a great way of sharing your expertise with your future customers, addressing their needs with engaging, helpful article and infographics. So when it does come time to purchase, your future customer turns to you, having built up a relationship of trust with your company.

If you’re a natural writer, you may find you can do the odd blog post yourself. But this will soon get in the way of running your business, so it’s best to engage a specialist content agency. It’s easy to think of this as a luxury, but it is an essential cost.

A strong marketing campaign, including both written and visual content, is going to be an efficient way of introducing your company and your product/service to your customers. It will also help sales, nurturing warm leads until they’re ready to purchase.

Content isn’t a replacement for the usual digital advertising approaches. Rather, it’s a way of supercharging it to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.

Office space

This may feel all under control if you’re launching your startup from your kitchen table. No problem there, many a great company has such humble beginnings. But what happens when you hire your first employee, or you need to take a business meeting, or your partner can’t stand you cluttering up the kitchen or spare room?

Quite quickly an expense which you didn’t anticipate for a year or more comes knocking. There are a number of solutions here:

  • Co-working space
  • Flexi desk
  • Fixed desk
  • Office


Whichever you choose, ensure that your contract is flexible and you can scale up or down as needed. The good news is that with many of these spaces, meeting rooms and cafés are also on-site for your use, cutting down the need for you to buy furniture and bring in catering. It also means that you get a certain amount of support – particularly technical – should there be issues with the internet, printing, and other business services.

Another benefit of a co-working space is you meet likeminded startup founders, possible future collaborators and even potential employees.

Professional consultants

At times, you just need to ask a professional. Whether it’s setting up your UAE startup (see ‘fees’ below) or just needing advice on an area where you don’t have expertise.

So it’s important to ensure you budget for consultations with accountants, lawyers, company setup specialists, and so on. Accountants are particularly important as a good one can help you navigate what could be quite complex regulations. They will also be able to advise on benefit programs for your workforce, to ensure you are complying with UAE law.

Setup fees

You may be inclined to ‘go it alone’ when it comes to setup, but paying a reputable company formation specialist will pay itself back many times over. And it’s a relationship that goes beyond just the initial setup.

They can advise on your license application, assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs. They may also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visas applications.

Having an expert establish your company on your behalf means that all the admin is taken care of,  leaving you free to get on with running your business. It’s one of those ‘costs’ that isn’t really a cost, rather it’s peace of mind and getting your business up and running on the right footing.