Friday, November 6, 2009

Starting your own business

When starting a business, there are many things that cost money and the expenses can quickly add up, but if you are careful and go in with a well thought out plan, things needn’t be so expensive. A proper business plan is paramount to a successful business. Even if you do not end up sticking to the plan, you need to have one.
A business plan usually covers an introduction – this is what your business is about, a mission statement and goals for the business, your market research – looks at the industry you are going into and how you fit, marketing plan – how you are going to advertise and get your business out there, operational plan – how you will set up your business; where it will be; regulations/protocol etc... How you will manage your business, financial plan – how are you going to fund it, keep it profitable... And finally an executive summary, which will actually be the front page, but can’t be written until you have actually written your entire plan.

Once you have all this, if you are needing finance, you next step would be an appointment at the bank, for which you will need your business plan.
If you do not need finance, then you will need to look at the following:
1.) Picking and getting a business name. In many places you can trade under your own name at no cost, but it can be complicated. People tend to want to deal with the owner of a business, which means, if you have named it after yourself, once you are up and running it will be harder to step back and delegate. Also, when looking at selling your business, it is easier if it’s not named after you.
2.) Getting an ABN. Australian Business Number. These are free. You apply at www.abr.gov.au
3.) Advertise the business. Let people know. Click here for free advertising ideas.
To get started those are probably the most important things but there are other things to take into consideration.

You need to set business hours. Remember that when you are working for yourself, you also have things to do behind the scenes, all the paper work, quotes, banking etc... outside of work hours. You need to be clear about what times the business will be open, what times you will be doing business paperwork and what time will be for family. You don’t want the business to consume your life.

You also at some stage, either before even starting or soon after, really should talk to an accountant to know what things you can claim on tax, what advantages there are etc... Such as claiming some of your mortgage if you have a home office, petrol, computers etc...

You need to know the legalities of your business inside out and if it is going to be a home business you need to contact your local council and find out what their regulations are.

Get insurance. Research it well, know what different policies include and compare prices to get the best for your buck.

A good idea is to talk to others involved in your work. Some people are more than happy to help mentor, others are not. Either way you will need to talk to them to do market research so you can be competitive. When checking for prices, pretend to be a customer though, you get more information that way.

I hope this helps you in knowing a bit more about what is involved in starting, and that it doesn’t need to be scary.