Is there a perfect size for a business?

Box-out 1:?Low overhead, or big headache?

Amanda Zuydervelt is a very modern entrepreneur. Her firm, Stylebible.com, could not have existed even a decade ago. Web-based, using a sprawling network of contributors (38 and rising), and a smattering of coders and programmers (the latter usually outsourced), Zuydervelt keeps costs tighter than a drum.?

But as great as it sounds, the ?low-to-no overhead? business model does have a?
few downsides.?

Zuydervelt founded Stylebible.com ? a luxury online ?black-book?, helping people of means find shops, hotels, restaurants and spas in 12 cities from Beijing to Las Vegas ? four years ago, using ?10,000 of her own savings.?

For Zuydervelt, a trained programmer (who featured on series two of Dragons? Den), building the website was the easy part. But she still needed help. Specific programming jobs crop up all the time: adding or ?bolting-on? sections to the website; updating servers. When her own time is squeezed, Zuydervelt turns to resources such as vWorker to hire piece-work programmers, most based on the Indian subcontinent. That eats into her cash pile ? Zuydervelt has commissioned over 200 such programming projects since Stylebible.com was founded, and pays one programmer a monthly retainer of ?1,225.?

And then there are the hidden costs: ?Hosting causes the most trouble. One of our servers recently got corrupted and I found my hosting partner hadn?t been backing up the site. It then took two weeks to move everything to a new hosting site,? she says. ?Legal and accounting costs pile up, too.??

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