So, you’ve got a great idea for a business, and you’re finally ready to take the plunge. Congratulations! Starting your own business is a big step, and there’s a lot of work ahead to make your dream and reality.
Now is the perfect time to set yourself up for success. If you do things right from the start, you’ll (hopefully) avoid a lot of headaches later. This quick guide to starting a business covers common dos and don’ts, so you can tackle many business start-up challenges head-on!
1. Do write a business plan
A business plan should be one of the first items on your small business to-do list. This document spells out your goals and how you plan to meet them. It serves as a guide as you get your business off the ground and helps you stay on track as time goes on.
Business plans typically cover all areas of your company, from the products or services you’ll sell to how you will reach potential customers (i.e., marketing and advertising). You might also include budgets, sales forecasts, and other financial info.
Your first business plan doesn’t need to be long or complicated. The first draft you write might only have basic information. But as you start to flesh out your idea and crunch the numbers, those details should be added to the business plan so everything is kept in one place.
2. Don’t ignore the local market
Research into your local market is also part of most business plans. These details are essential to know if your business idea really has legs or if you are just winging it!
Local market research usually covers two areas: your potential customers and your competition. What is the demand for your products or services? Are other businesses already offering them? How do your competitors advertise? How will your business do things better? These are just some of the questions that market research will help you answer.
3. Do keep it legal
You probably want to keep your small business on the right side of the law. This means applying for a business license, getting an Australian Business Number (ABN), and registering with the ATO. Skipping these or other required steps could result in fines or having your business shut down.
Depending on the work you do, you may also need different licences or permits to work legally in your field. For example, sparkies need an electrician’s license in the state or territory where they plan to work. They might also need special certifications to work at heights or on construction sites.
Your state or territory government sites will have more details on how to open a small business in your area. They can also help you find information on relevant licenses and permits that you may need to do your job.
4. Don’t forget to protect your business
Business insurance might also be required to start your small business. People working in certain fields must have different types of coverage, often to hold licenses or become members of professional associations. For example, certified public accountants (CPA) and Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA) members in Australia must have minimum amounts of professional indemnity insurance to work here.
Beyond professional obligations, you might want insurance to help shield your bank accounts against expensive claims and lawsuits. Policies like Public Liability, Cyber Liability and Business Insurance could help protect you against many common risks that small business owners face.
5. Do ask for help
One of the biggest business start-up challenges is needing to wear multiple hats while you bring your idea to life. On any given day, you might be booking jobs, answering customer emails, approving ads, running payroll, or a hundred other tasks necessary to running your business. This can be exhausting and stressful!
Getting help with areas of your business can not only give you a break but help everything run more smoothly. Bringing in professional help, such as an accountant or marketing manager, could save you time and money in the long run. They can focus on what they do best, so you can focus on other areas of your business.
6. Don’t forget your mental health
As we’ve already mentioned, starting and running a business is often stressful. It’s important that you look after your own mental health during this time. It can be hard to step away from your business, but taking breaks can help spark creativity, boost productivity, and help you avoid illnesses that might set you back even further. Looking after your mental health can actually improve your small business, so you can go on to even bigger success!
Looking for business insurance to protect your growing start-up? BizCover can help! We’ve taken the drama out of buying business insurance, so you can stress less about accidents and other unexpected events. Compare policies and get covered online in minutes.
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