How to start a business
If you’re thinking about starting a business and don’t know where to start, then this podcast episode is especially for you!
Starting any business takes a lot of preparation. If a new business venture is on the cards for you, the best way to start is with the right advice. In this podcast, I share my tips on what all new startups need to know.
Is starting a business right for you?
The most important question to ask yourself is why you want to start a business in the first place. What’s your motivation? Is it a matter of getting out of the corporate rat race? Or wanting the freedom to make money without being an employee? Or just because you want to do something different? Or something that will challenge you and provide, potentially, unlimited earnings potential?
While these reasons are valid, they focus on YOUR needs as the business owner, rather than the needs of your potential customers.
For your business to be successful, the product or service offered needs to solve a specific problem or need for your customers.
Remember: your job isn’t simply to make money but to provide value.
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In this podcast episode, listen to what the founders of Defining Style, Sonic Sight, The Digital Delusion, Corporate Podcast Production, Rachel CFO, Virtual Elves, The Word Stylist, The Numbers Matter and Simple Creative Marketing had to say about why they started their businesses. (Links to their businesses at the end of this article.)
Let’s go through the 6 steps you must consider before you begin your fun, challenging, sometimes frustrating and always exciting entrepreneurial journey!
1.Have you done market research?
Before starting out, you need to zero in on your unique offering. Yes, you need a solid business idea, but an idea is only as good as the market demand for it.
Ideally, there should already be an existing demand for your service or product. It’s important to test the viability of your idea. Market research will help you determine if there is demand for your product or service. It will also tell you if your business idea is one that generates interest and whether people will pay for what you plan to offer.
Luckily, gauging interest is simple. Conduct simple online surveys using services like Survey Monkey. Even more valuable is talking to others who have run successful businesses themselves and ask them about challenges they’ve faced.
2.Do you know the business structure best for you?
After you’ve decided whether you’re starting your own business, buying a business, buying a franchise or starting a consultancy, you’ll need to decide on your business structure. Will you be a sole trader, partnership, a trust or a company? Talk to your tax accountant to find out what will be the best structure for your personal circumstances.
Visit the Australian Taxation Office website for more information where you’ll also find out about the small business concessions available to you, registering your business, the records you need to keep, the deductions you can claim and all you need to do to be compliant when setting yourself up.
I include links to resources I mention at the end of this article.
For those of you who live in other countries, be resourceful and find out from your local authorities what’s required regarding business structures at your location.
3.Do you need licenses, registrations, and insurance?
At a minimum, in Australia, you’ll need to get an ABN (business) number or an ACN (company) number. This can be done through the Australian Business Register. You’ll need to register a business name after checking that it’s available.
Insurance is essential and setting up yearly coverage when you’re starting out doesn’t have to break the bank. Keep your finances in check by setting up a relationship with a good accountant and bookkeeper.
You might also want to trademark your business name too. For the steps to protect your business name, visit IP Australia to safeguard your intellectual property.
Be prepared to put in the hard work and long hours, because building a business is an exciting and rewarding time
4.Do you have a business plan?
Without at least a basic plan in place you could charge off in the wrong direction. They key is to know where you want to go with your business, how you are going to fund it initially, how you plan to market it, who your competitors are, how will you price your services or products. If you’re unsure about how to create a business plan, using a business template is a good place to start. It will help you organise your strategy over the short and long term. You don’t have to stick to it religiously, but the more comprehensive your plan is, the more prepared you’ll be. I’ll include a link to a great business plan template for you in my show notes.
5.Do you have a website?
To harness the power of online marketing opportunities, you’ll need an online presence from day one. Register a domain name for your website through website domain registration sites such as Crazy Domains or NetRegistry.
Find a web designer to create your website and a graphic designer to design the logo for your business. You may be able to find affordable design work using online resources like Upwork or 99Designs. And you might also need to hire a writer to communicate your message in the best way.
Personal branding is an essential part of building your business and becoming the ‘go to’ person in your field. Personal Branding for Career Success guides you every step of the way to building your powerful brand.
6.Do you have a mentor or business coach?
This is especially important if you’re new to the business territory. A business coach or mentor can guide you with a wealth of wisdom and street smarts that will come in handy starting out.
If you’re lucky enough to have older and wiser contacts in business who are willing to help, ask for advice. If not, invest in coaching if you can afford it, or join a small business network in your local area. This will cost you initially but it’ll pay off in the long run.
Once your plans are in place, it’s time to take that leap of faith. Be prepared to put in the hard work and long hours, but remember building a business is an exciting and rewarding time and will create a lasting legacy of your drive and passion.
The links to the resources and the entrepreneurs I mention in this podcast are at the bottom of this page.
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Until next time Believe in Yourself and Create Magic!
Our enterprising entrepreneurs who shared their ‘Why’:
ROBIN POWIS – Defining Style @robinpowis
GEOFF ANDERSON – Sonic Sight @geoffsonic
DOYLE BUEHLER – The Digital Delusion @doylebuehler
TRACY SHEEN – Corporate Podcast Production @tracy_sheen
RACHEL WHITE – Rachel CFO @rachelCFO
KRISTY SMITH – Virtual Elves @virtualelves
ELIZABETH CAMPBELL – The Word Stylist @wordstylistliz
AMANDA FISHER – The Numbers Matter @amandafisherCA
ANFERNEE CHANSAMOOTH – Simple Creative Marketing @anferneec
To request for a Business Plan Template, email firstname.lastname@example.org