Have you ever dreamed of starting or buying your own business? There are many reasons why people start a business and there are different approaches. Some will emerge from a brilliant idea and quickly gain traction in the marketplace. Others come to fruition due to circumstances such as redundancy or semi-retirement. Some start from humble beginnings on a kitchen table and evolve over time. Others are inherited and further developed such as in the case of a family farm. But they all offer the chance to live a wonderful and unique experience and require much passion, sweat equity, and the investment of financial resources and if risks are overlooked, dreams can turn into nightmares. Taking the plunge takes courage.
Starting your own business can be a daunting life step. Successful businesses owners have the right combination of luck and opportunity, access to good advice, the right people and resources, relevant skills, a resilient mindset, the ability to adapt, and a strategy. https://business.sa.gov.au/start-your-business/before-you-start
Now there’s no way to get around it, running a business is challenging and there’s a lot to know. We’re just scratching the surface here but your success depends on you knowing what you’re signing up to from the get-go. These starter tips will help lead you in the right direction.
1. Start with a Business Plan - some of the greatest and most successful businesses started with an idea but putting your idea onto paper and into a plan will ensure a step in the right direction of running a successful business. But check yourself and make sure your idea stacks up. Identify genuine market opportunities first and do the numbers. A solid business plan will help keep you on track and show potential future financiers or lenders that you are serious. Here’s a great business plan template you can access for free https://business.gov.au/planning/business-plans/develop-your-business-plan
2. Research, Research, Research - Understand your business through research, know what you are trying to achieve and what your goals are. This is often an overlooked step. It’s essential to understand the industry and market you are entering. Understand your own product or services. Look at your target audience and how you’re going to market your business. Research your competitors in the industry. Look at the capital requirements and the cash flow involved in the business.
Conduct formal and informal market research.
Consult other people in the industry.
Research your competitors.
Consider Government support programs and funding such as https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs, https://www.industry.gov.au/funding-and-incentives/supporting-business-and-innovation
Ideally, find a niche or a unique product or service. Business is a competitive environment so find your point of difference.
Talk to your accountant.
3. Marketing Plans - you can’t sell a secret. Make sure you have a strategic marketing and communications plan in place to help you deliver your business plan. You can prepare your own if you have the skills and knowledge but for best results, like your accounting, you should consult a professional. We can put you in touch with the right people. Here’s a link to a basic template https://business.gov.au/planning/business-plans/develop-your-marketing-plan
4. Accessing Assistance - In recent times, Government grants have been launched in various States and nationally to support businesses access financial advice, marketing advice, advice on export market development, commercialisation. Here’s a link to a grant and assistance portal for South Australian businesses https://www.grantassist.sa.gov.au/business
5. Risky Business - Know the risks that you may face when starting your business. Always plan for contingencies, it will ensure when there are a few hiccups that occur you are prepared and ready to manage these as they arise.
6. Protect your business - The last thing you need after years of investing time, energy, and development resources into your business is for you to fall victim to unscrupulous operators.
Register your business and trading names
Protect any intellectual property such as product design, unique processes, brands, business names etc.
Secure domain names
Adopt a robust and sensible approach to cyber-security
Get the right insurance
Know your ATO obligations
Keep up to date with laws relevant to your business
Make sure you have relevant approvals and licenses
Invest in quality tools and equipment
When you employ, make sure you employ the right people.
Be healthy. You are by far the most valuable asset to your business. Make sure you put health and self-care firmly in the picture.
7. Get the right advice - Don’t just rely on the opinion of friends. They love you and won’t always tell you what you need to hear. Get an informed, independent view from qualified advisors such as your Rowe Partners accountant, Rowe Partners financial planner, your banker, lawyer, property agent, marketing consultant, and/or relevant industry bodies or government agencies. This will make sure you don’t waste time going down a dead-end road or hit too many potholes. It can also help you see your idea/plan from a different point of view and learn from the experience of others.
8. Accountants are awesome! Your Rowe Partners accountant can assist with getting the right steps in place to start your business. We can provide some knowledge of the industry you’re in and flag some of the risks you may face. We’ll work through the numbers with you and will be able to help determine if the business is feasible through tools such as cash flow forecasts.
9. Business structure matters - Getting the right business entity structure to suit you isn’t as simple as it sounds and overlooking this step can have unintended future ramifications. Speak to your Rowe Partners accountant early about which entity structure will work for you. We will ensure both your tax and legal circumstances are considered prior to starting your business. Whether it be a sole trader, partnership, trust, or company, get the advice surrounding your circumstances and factor in the relationships with others involved.
10. Strive for maximum efficiency - A lot of time and money is wasted in business through inefficiency. Streamline your processes, maintain your cash flow by maximising the use of technology. The rise of technology software has changed the landscape of running your own business. Previously bookwork would be a stressful, time-intensive process with plenty of paper and storage cabinets. Now with the use of software such as Xero accounting and Dext, the stressful, time-intensive process is no longer. Using the efficiencies of this software has made bookkeeping a much easier job. Giving back the jobs in your life to spend doing the things you love and enjoy.
11. Work on your business - You’ll find there will be many competing priorities. It’s important not to let them derail your plans. The saying “work on your business, not in it” means that you as the business owner needs to stay focussed on the big picture and lead the business strategically not get bogged down in the day-to-day.
12. Reach out to us - When the time is right to grow your business, when cash flow is important to you, or when the pressure builds, you can acquire the help you need by onboarding staff to your team or outsourcing services. Both options offer unique advantages. Outsourcing is an especially great solution for a start-up because it gives you access to expert skills you may not be able to afford in permanent staff. As an ongoing solution, outsourced bookkeeping teams are there when you need them it even during lockdowns! Consider integrating Rowe Partners' business bookkeeping services into your delivery model. From as little as $220 per month, we provide a total outsourced solution. We will grow with you, support you and allow you to focus on what you do best – serve your valuable customers and develop the business.
Call your Rowe Partners account today to arrange an appointment on 1800 04 7693.