Starting A Small Business: What You Need To Know

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The thought of starting your very own business can be really exciting – but it can also be downright terrifying. The risks are high, and there are a lot of things to take into consideration. But the reward when everything comes together is definitely worth all your hard work and sacrifice. If you want to help ensure that long-term success, you need to start off on the right foot. Here are some simple tips to help you do just that.

Register your ABN, GST and business name

As Maria once sang to the Von Trapp children, let’s start at the very beginning. Registering for an ABN (Australian Business Number) gives you access to various tax and energy grant credits, as well as allowing you to register an Australian domain name. Your business will also need to be registered for GST (goods and services tax), and don’t forget to register your business name once you come up with it. That’s a lot of registering, but it’s got to be done. Luckily, it’s all pretty easy to do online these days.

Make sure you have relevant licences and permits for your industry

It might go without saying, but you won’t get very far if you’re not actually allowed to do what your business is supposed to be doing. Whatever your field, you need to thoroughly investigate all the necessary licences and permits before you even think of trading. The Australian Business Licence and Information Service is a great tool for finding out which ones apply to you.

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Make sure you have appropriate insurance

Let’s face it – life is risky, and on any given day there are tons of potential catastrophes just waiting to strike. Most of them probably won’t, but it pays to be protected against any that do. For example, if you’re setting up a food stall or fitness training business, you’ll need public liability insurance to protect your business and customers if someone is injured. Every business is different, though, so do some research and find the right insurance to make sure you are completely covered in the event of an emergency.

Write up a business plan

All successful small business owners share common traits, and the most obvious is that they knew what they were doing from the very start. A good business plan will keep you focused and productive, and should include your executive summary/mission statement, market analysis, point of difference, intended services and/or products, and financial projections. This is crucial, as it not only gives you a clear goal for your business, but also helps you obtain any necessary funding.

Create a marketing plan

It’s all well and good creating a company, but it won’t last long if nobody knows about it. Think carefully about how you’re going to spread the word. If you’re a florist or hairdresser, investing time building up your Instagram following could be the ticket to success. If you’re an electrician or plumber, you might look into featuring your business on True Local. Also take some time to research best SEO practices *link to “how to increase traffic to your website”*, to find out the practical steps you can take to ensure your online visibility and ranking in Google are healthy. Doing so can mean you turning up first in search results instead of a competitor, and in turn, can have a significant impact on your bottom line. When it comes to marketing, you should be thinking of everything from your website to social media to online business directories to old-school word of mouth.

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Choose a bookkeeping system that works for you

You can’t neglect the numbers, no matter how much they might make your eyes glaze over. An effective bookkeeping system is compulsory for any business owner, so take the time to consider what features you’ll require. POS to easily track what’s being sold? A payroll for your employees? You’ll also have to decide whether you want to do it via computer software, a cloud-based server, or good, old-fashioned manual paperwork. If you’re unsure, just talk things over with an accountant.

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Lastly, remember these words of wisdom from Dawn Simm, owner of @thesalon:

“Be prepared to work harder than you have ever worked before, never compromise your standards and professionalism, push forward with your dreams, surround yourself with a good team, and don’t be too hard on yourself when things go wrong. Make a 3-year plan and stick to it – it will not happen overnight and some things will fail, but that’s okay. Keep going; we learn from failure.”

Ready to take the world by storm? Our business blog is full of all the advice you’ll need to make your small business a success.

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