So you have a great idea for a business and now you’ve developed and refined your product and/or service, it’s time to get your venture up and running. Here for the five must haves for any new business.
The legal stuff
To operate a business in Australia, you’ll need an ABN and a registered business name. Check out www.asic.gov.au for all the necessary information, documents and procedures to get these organised. You’ll also need to investigate and sort out any other licences, registrations and certifications that may be required in your industry sector. Also consult industry and professional bodies such as CPA (Certified Practising Accountants) for advice on starting your own business.
Advice and support
Starting and running your own business is a massive undertaking. The notion of being your own boss might be very enticing but it’s hard work and most businesses do not generate an income for the first year or two of trading. To help you navigate legalities, discuss ideas and strategies and to keep your motivation and momentum up during challenges times, get yourself a mentor. Benefiting from other people’s experience is such an effective way to skill up and to avoid common business pitfalls.
Another key area for advice and support is in setting up your place of work. If you’re opening a shop, restaurant or cafe, you’ll need to research the best location and find an affordable lease. If you’re setting up an office, workshop, studio or clinic, you may need to consult a company like Elbowroom ( http://www.elbowroom.com.au/) who can help you design an optimal workspace that meets your storage and WH&S requirements.
A business plan
A business plan is your roadmap to success. It will help you develop your own business framework and create achievable goals. Business plans don’t need to be complex and templates are available from reputable sources and are a great way to get you started. A plan should keep you accountable for what you need to achieve and by when and help you to measure and track your success. It should be a ‘living document’ which is regularly updated and refined as you learn what isn’t working, what can be altered or new areas for growth and expansion.
Marketing: research & planning
Your business ideas, including brand and products (or services) should be thoroughly tested amongst your target audience before you do anything. Market research will help you sharpen and refine what your business is offering and how to connect with your target market.
Once you’ve done this and developed your business plan around this, you’ll need to drill into the detail by developing a marketing plan. Whether through social media, a website, printed materials or paid advertising, you need to find a way to connect with your target audience and effectively promote your business. Finding the time and knowing how to develop and execute marketing strategies can be a real challenge. Ask for help and engage some help if you need it. An affordable and flexible option for small operators is using a virtual assistants or consultant. You can find and connect with people and companies around the world via websites such as www.odesk.com.
Suppliers and distributors
If you’re selling a product, make sure you have sourced reliable and reputable suppliers and have forecast expected supply volumes. Test your supplier’s products to ensure they are suitable for your business. If you’re selling your product(s) through a distribution network such as an established retail chain, make sure you have meticulously worked through details of how your product will appear in-store and be promoted. If you’re offering a service, make sure you develop a business network to spread the word far and wide about your ‘product’ in order to ensure a steady flow of work.
Starting your own business is an exciting venture. However, it will require a clear vision, a solid business plan and support and advice along the way. You’ll have your ups and downs, but if you stay focussed and committed you’re sure to succeed.