Every year hundreds of people in Perth give up the security of a regular salary to start their own business. This can provide you with a better income, more flexibility and the chance to be your own boss. However, it’s not necessarily an easy option. As small business accountants, we share with you our 6 steps to starting your own business to maximise your chances of success.
1. Ask yourself “Why?”
Why do you want to start a business? You might think that’s a simple question, but the answer will have a big impact on your chances of success. Think carefully about the question and discover what you really want from your business:
- Do you want to make a difference in the world?
- Do you want to make life easier for people?
- Do you want to think differently and challenge the status quo – like Apple does?
- Do you want to challenge yourself?
- Do you want to gain financial independence?
Understanding your motivations will help you gain clarity and it will give you the confidence to build your business successfully.
2. The right time is now
There’s rarely a perfect time to start a new business, but that doesn’t matter because you don’t need to wait for the perfect moment to quit your day job or have a million dollars in the bank. Also, you don’t need to know everything about running a business, but it would certainly help if you had a business plan. You may also need some financial backing to tide you over until your new business makes a profit.
Don’t let minor details put you off. Once you know how to make a start, there should be little to hold you back and things will fall into place over time.
3. Write it down
In today’s technologically demanding world, it can be hard to think clearly at times so go offline and take some time out. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, go to a café and start brainstorming some ideas for your business plan. Some of the best plans ever created started life on scraps of paper scribbled in cafés, so you’ll be in good company.
Don’t worry too much about structure, just think about your business and let your imagination run wild. You can always refine your thoughts later. If you get stuck, it might help you to think about some of these questions:
- What purpose will my business fulfill?
- Who will my customers be?
- Why would customers come to me instead of my competitors?
- Who are my competitors?
- What products or services will I offer?
- How will I decide what to charge?
- How will my customers feel when doing business with me?
- How will I decide who to hire?
- What will my business be like – what type of culture will it have?
- Where will my business be three years from now?
When your thoughts are out of your head and down on paper you will be surprised how much detail there is. Don’t be afraid to think big and write down your dreams of success. Even the largest businesses started out small.
4. Meet your heroes
Success leaves clues, and there are probably people you admire who have succeeded in business. You may not know them personally, but don’t let that prevent you from stepping outside your comfort zone.
Think about successful business owners in your area and then ask them to catch up for a coffee. It might sound daunting, but what’s the worst that can happen? They might ignore you or decline your invitation. But if they accept, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the business world from their perspective. Just make sure you do this groundwork before you meet them:
- Be prepared
Decide what specific topic you want to talk about and do your research before you meet.
- Figure out what you need from the meeting
Focus on the area of their experience that might be useful to you. That way, you’ll get the most out of the meeting and you won’t waste their time.
- Be considerate
Meet when and where they want to meet – and always pay for the coffee. It’s the least you can do and what you’ll receive in return should be worth a whole lot more than the price of a cappuccino.
5. Work on the numbers
Accounting might not be your strong point, but no business can succeed without a good grasp of the financials. The numbers don’t lie and are vital if you want to find out the true health of your business. So think about how you’ll approach this.
- Hire an accountant or bookkeeper to handle the figures for you. They can help you better understand your numbers and how to use them to boost your business performance.
- Talk to business advisors or entities such as the Chamber of Commerce who can provide guidance.
- Dive into your accounts and get familiar with the numbers.
6. Five ways to get started
At this point you’ll have done your research and should be ready for the finer details such as legal form-filling and applications, so free yourself up to get the ball rolling. If you’re not sure where to start we can point you in the right direction or can do it all for you so you can focus on your new venture. Below are some key areas you may need to consider:
- Register your business name
Do this through ASIC.
- Set up payroll
You will need to do this if you’re employing people – and perhaps even if you aren’t.
- Develop your brand and logo
There are plenty of online resources for this, many of which are inexpensive such as Fiverr or 99designs. Or you could hire a design agency or graphic designer to develop your brand and what you’re trying to achieve.
- Build your website
This isn’t something you have to do yourself – in fact if you’ve never done it before you probably shouldn’t do it yourself. There are plenty of online resources to help you build great websites, such as Squarespace, WordPress and Shopify. Or you could hire a web development agency to build a site that suits you perfectly.
- Market your services or products
Think how you’re going to tell people about your business – marketing, PR, word-of-mouth. You may want to hire someone to help you with this.
Launch – and then keep learning
Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll be ready to launch your business. You might not feel ready, but that’s only natural. While there will always be something else to do, or more preparations to make, don’t let this delay you.
Once you’re up and running, keep learning and developing skills in any way that you can – e.g attend seminars and conferences, listen to podcasts, read industry magazines and books.
Starting a business is just the first step on a long journey as a business owner. There are many more steps to take if your goal is to build a successful business. If you never stop learning, you’ll stand a good chance of reaching that goal.
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