Tips for Starting a Business

Starting a Business.

So over recent weeks you have been considering starting a Business of your own, but you are unsure on how to go about it.

Firstly, there are ranges of reasons, in which people start their own Business, which can include,

  • Being retrenched from their current employment
  • Not being able to find suitable employment
  • Wanting to work for themselves, and wanting flexible work arrangements
  • Mums returning to the work force
  • You have a great idea and want to make/sell something
  • You want to help other Businesses

Sometimes a Business concept is thought of over a beer with mates at the local hotel, and on occasions, 2 mates will decide to start a Business together.

A Business Venture where possible should take 3-6 months to begin to trade, during this time it allows for the planning phase of the business to occur.

Once you have made up your mind to commence a Business the following should be done as soon as possible,

  • Speak to your Accountant, and ascertain how you are going to operate your Business, for example Sole trader, Company or Partnership
  • Register your Business/Company name ( asic.gov.au)
  • Register for a ABN Number
  • If you plan to earn of $75,000 in the first year, apply for GST registration. ( ato.gov.au)
  • If unsure on any of the above, your accountant can assist in the Registration of the Business etc.
  • Source yourself an Accountant if you don’t have one
  • Source yourself a Solicitor if you don’t have one
  • Look for a Business Coach, Mentor, Advisor,
  • Consider if producing a product whether you need to trademark or Paton the product, sometimes pays to do this before sharing your ideas with anyone else.

Now you have completed the legalities of the setup of the Business, you will now have a range of details, which you can use, during your planning phase, applying for loans etc., if you need to finance your Business commencement.

Next Step, may be now would be a good concept, to check and see what qualifications or licences you need to commence the business,

  • Check with your local council, for any permits in which you may need to operate the Business, including any offices etc. you are going to have,
  • Check what Licences you may need to operate the Business- business.vic.gov.au/blis
  • Read the ATO web site for information on Starting a Business – ato.gov.au
  • Read the Business Victoria web site, for information on starting a Business, and use some of their templates if required-www.business.vic.gov.au
  • Consumer Affairs web site – accc.gov.au may be worth checking, so you can understand what you can and cannot do.
  • Speak to others in the industry for some Guidance.
  • Search on line for any competitors you may have in the area you plan to operate your Business.

Now you totally understand what you need to do to start your business Venture, as you have now researched all the legalities from registering your business, to qualifications/licences you need, to what you need to do as a business owner.

It is now time, to undertake the self-evaluation process of the owner (s) of the business,

During this stage, it is advantageous to perform a strength and weakness survey of our selves,

Strengths- what do you do well, and can be important when entering a partnership, as it may assist in dictating which partner is responsible for what part of the Business

Weakness – what weakness do you or each of the partners have in relation to running the Business?

A common weakness which can come up within this phase, is record keeping- if none of the Business can do it, then what will the options be,

  • Can you undertake a short training course to assist you to learn
  • Will you need to find a bookkeeper to undertake your record keeping right from the start of your Business Operations.

NOTE: remember just because you identify weaknesses within the partners/Sole trader of the Business, it should not deter you from starting a Business venture, if that is truly your desire, passion to run your own Business, for whatever reason.

Apart from undertaking short courses/professional development to help you understand the areas  in which you are unsure of, which can assist you in solving your weaknesses and helping you to at least start your Business?

However, always remember, if you cannot undertake a course to help with your areas of concerns, there are a range of contract services, which can be provided for you by other Businesses, although it can come at a cost, such services can include,

  • Record Keeping/ book keeping
  • Accountant, Tax returns, lodging of such forms
  • Human Resource Management- writing of any policies to help you to comply with any legislation
  • Marketing Consultants- to assist you with Marketing your business
  • Virtual Assistants- Admin type functions/secretarial of a Business
  • Web site Designers – to help build your web site, social media requirements
  • Business Coach
  • Business Mentors/advisors

At any time, the important aspect is to identify any weaknesses, and then know where to find the solutions to your weakness, so it can then become a strength of your Business.

By completing all the above, you now know the following,

  • Legalities of how your Business is going to Operate
  • How to register your Business, trademark etc.
  • Your weaknesses and how you are going to overcome them
  • What Licences/qualifications you need to operate your Business
  • What you can and can’t do as a Business owner- possibly also knowing what is good Business practice,
  • What type of services is available to assist your Business?

Will all the knowledge you have gained, after following the steps on the first 3 pages of this document, it is now time to start documenting your plans for your Business Operations, the team at SGH Business Services can assist you with templates, or you can find suitable templates on the Business Victoria web site, www.business.vic.gov.au

Legal InformationProposed Operating Name List owners names of Business List qualifications/experiences of Business owners Structure of Business- Sole trader, company etc List any council permits required List Insurances required
Mission StatementList the mission of your Business You may wish to include a Vision statement in this area, e.g. where do you see the Business going.  
Goals and ObjectivesConsider where you want the Business to be in 12 months and document Consider where you want the Business to be in 3 years and document.
Strength and WeaknessConsider your Strengths and document. Consider your weakness and document Consider how you are going to overcome your weakness, and document. ( Courses, training, network, contractors etc.)
Market ResearchConsider surveying potential clients Record outcomes of discussions with friends, accountant, solicitor Document your competition,  
Marketing PlanDocument your marketing plan- how are you going to get clients, and document the cost of each area
Action PlanDocument an action plan of what you need to do to achieve your goals, include a time line of such actions.
Financial Plan.Do a 12 monthly budget for the Business/Company- include all relevant expenses to the Business. If a sole trader, do a personal budget as well to ensure you understand what money you will need out of the Business to survive. ( sole traders don’t pay owners wages as such) Your accountant can assist you, if required.
  1. Useful web sites.
ABN Search/Registrationwww.abr.gov.au
Business/company registrationwww.asic.gov.au    
Taxation information/record keepingwww.Ato.gov.au    
Business Victoriawww.business.vic.gov.au    
Consumer Affairswww.accc.gov.au    
Aust Bureau of Statisticswww.abs.gov.au    
Business Licence information servicewww.business.vic.gov.au/blis    
Sole Trader Supportwww.flyingsole.com.au
Regional Development Vic.www.rdv.vic.gov.au    
Legal issues in small Businesswww.innovation.gov.au    
Mentoring Serviceswww.abms.org.au/business    
Work safe Victoriawww.worksafe.vic.gov.au    
Fair work Australiawww.fwa.gov.au   www.fwo.gov.au  

So now you have worked your way through the 5 pages above, and you have manage to develop the following for your Business,

  • Business Plan – which basically tells you how you are going to operate your Business
  • Marketing Plan – So you can now understand who your target market is, and you now have an idea on how you are going to reach your target market,
  • 12 Month Budget – this is useful, for you to understand when and where your money is going from your account, how much you need to have in your bank each month, but can also be used if you need to source financial assistance/loans for the start-up of your Business.

You are now ready to commence your Business, and start to make an income for the Business.

However, there is one more step in the process you should consider taking either prior to starting the Business or shortly thereafter and that is completing a Business Risk Assessment.

Also known as a Business Continuity Plan ( BCP)

During the preparing of the BCP, you will assess the risks to the Business, and plan how to rectify the problem, so you can continue to trade, things to consider

  • Break in- Loss of Stock
  • Fires- cant trade at your current place
  • A machinery item you need to manufacture something, breaks down
  • You rely on a vehicle for deliveries, what happens if it breaks down
  • Your supplier cant supply your supplies for a length of time
  • Your suppliers will only deliver to your location once a week/month

Remember the period of time you are without any of the above, could change how you conduct your Business- yes it might be easy to cope for 1-2 days without a vehicle for deliveries, however what happens if you don’t have it for a week, what happens if you lose power to the site for 48 hours or more…..

Summary.

The above may have seen like a long process, for some 3 months for others 12 months, however you now understand what is required to run a business, and you have put yourself on the Front foot to starting your Business.

No Business plans to fail, however they fail to plan.

Through this plan you now know,

  • Your legal Obligations, and compliance requirements
  • Your plan to run your Business
  • Your Budget requirements
  • What Insurances you need
  • Whether your Business is now operating as a Sole Trader, partnership or company
  • How you are going to keep your records- remember there are plenty of easy to use Account keeping programs available, all at a different price
  • You know how you are going to Manage should something go wrong
  • You now know how you are going to Market your Business to the community and your target market, although this can change from time to time.

One other item you should consider, is writing an action plan for what you need to do now, or what you plan to do now, and when you plan to do it by.

Your Action plan notes, will come from your Goal setting, but also from the Business and Marketing plan, you will have notes in there on items which need to be done to achieve your plan- documenting these are a good way to ensuring they are completed.

Finally I say good luck with commencing your Business Venture, and remember the staff at SGH Business Services are here to assist you along the way should you need any further assistance/guidance.

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