Many Australians dream of starting their own business. It can be exciting, rewarding, and gratifying- but it can also be difficult. There are so many things to consider when starting your own business, it’s hard to even know where to start!
Before You Start
Starting a business is not a decision to be taken lightly. You have to know if you are ready for the commitment, both financial and otherwise, and the hard work that you’re signing up for. It’s time to critically evaluate yourself and your business partners if you have any. It’s also important to analyse your business idea. Is it financially viable? How difficult is it to make this dream a reality? What is your competition like?
There’s a lot more to starting a business than most people assume, especially if you’re planning to expand your business and take on staff. The question many hopeful business owners ask themselves: Do I need an MBA?
The answer depends on you and your skills. An MBA can turn your business from a hobby or side hustle into your livelihood. In addition to teaching you valuable skills and providing insight into the world of business, completing a Masters of Business Association can provide you with networking opportunities.
You may know all there is to know about the topic of your business, but do you know about the legalities of business ownership? Are you knowledgeable about the financial side of things? You may have strengths in some areas but not in others. Now is the time to look at yourself objectively. If you’re not 100% confident in your skills, an MBA covers all the bases. And it can be done online or part-time while you work on other aspects of starting a business.
It’s also crucial to make sure that you are financially prepared to start a business. Things won’t always go completely smoothly and it’s a good idea to have some money saved up.
Have a Clear Idea
It’s a good idea to have a clear plan in mind before making any concrete decisions. You’ll have to decide on a location, a business structure, develop a business plan that includes risk management and marketing, and look into business loans if necessary.
Additionally, you may need to hire a solicitor and an accountant. You’ll also need to choose a name and logo. Make sure your name is unique and doesn’t belong to anybody else, but not so unique that it is difficult to remember or spell. It can be witty or punny but should be inoffensive and not too similar to another business like yours, especially one that is local to you. You also want it to be unusual enough that your business comes up when your customers type it into a search engine instead of a bunch of unrelated results.
All this planning can be stressful, but keep the end result in mind. If starting a business is your dream, then all this will be worth it in the end.
Know Your Numbers
While you can hire an accountant or financial advisor to deal with the financial side of things, this can be pricey and isn’t always an option for small business owners. You can do things yourself relatively easily. Before starting a business, you want to know that you can afford the set-up costs and maintain a profitable business.
Set-up costs can include things like a vehicle, stock or equipment, marketing material and the cost of registering your business name. Once your business starts operating you may have additional costs like insurance, employee salaries and rent of your store or physical location if you have one.
Estimate how much cash you need to cover overhead, salaries and other costs without any sales. Then you’ll have to decide on a price for your goods or services that covers the cost of materials and labour. You may want to check out local competitors.
Make It Official
Now it’s time to make your business official. In many ways, this is the point of no return, so make sure that you’re satisfied with the decisions you have made so far.
Make your business an official business by registering for an ABN (Australian business number) and registering your business name. Make sure your business name is unique and doesn’t already belong to another business. Also protect yourself from any future legal issues by making sure you’re not copying another business name, logo, or other form of intellectual property by mistake. If you want to protect your name from being used by another business, you may also choose to register it as a trade mark.
Next, get an Australian Tax File Number (TFN). Not all taxes will apply to your business, depending on your business and your income, but it’s something you should be informed about so you know what taxes to register before starting your business.
You may also need a license or permit depending on the nature of your business. For example, if you’re starting a food business, you’ll need a license to handle food and a hygiene check. These may vary by location.
Market Your Business
Now that you’ve created the perfect business, you need people to know about it! Your potential customers or clients won’t find out about your business by magic. You need to advertise. It’s a great time to think about the Five P’s of Marketing.
Marketing isn’t as complex as it sounds. First, figure out your target audience. This may be a broad category or a smaller, more specific group of people, but whether your target audience is pet owners or motorcyclists over the age of 60, you need to know who they are. Equally as importantly, you need to know your competition. You may be able to learn from their mistakes, compete with their prices, or join up with them to exchange ideas and support one another.
You can conduct market research for very little money or even for free using the internet. The internet is also a great place to advertise. But don’t just rely on the internet, especially if your target demographic isn’t generally considered to be tech-savvy. You may find success in connecting with people face-to-face, whether you’re passing out flyers or working a stall at your local craft market. You could also consider placing an advertisement in a newspaper or on the radio or television. This is where it’s important to know your target demographic and where they spend their time. Consider what you want to achieve by marketing your business and how it aligns with your business plan and your ethics.
Market research can give you valuable information such as whether there is a market for your product, how much money people are willing to spend on it, and what your customers would like to achieve from your product.
Keep Things Running Smoothly
The hard work doesn’t stop once your business is launched. It takes a lot to keep a business running smoothly, customers happy, products up to standard, and staff satisfied. But you’ve achieved a lot just by getting your business off the ground!