Monday, September 4, 2017

Five quick tips if you’re thinking about starting up your own business

starting up your own business
So you’re toying with the idea of starting up your own small business - but you’re still uncertain about either whether to do it or how to go about it. Of these two possible uncertainties, resolving the first issue will determine whether you need to worry at all about the second issue. 

Although there is definitely some merit in the old adage to "follow your dreams", there is still a need to ensure that there is as much"head" as there is "heart" in your decision making  . Yes, you want to be doing something that you're passionate about - but you need to be able to pay the bills as well.

So here’s five quick practical tips that might help you, if you're contemplating the entrepreneur's path … And by the way, you might like to also check out the link Small Business Resources
  1. .If you don’t have bucket-loads of grit and resilience in your character, then now’s not the right time for you to be looking at setting up a business.  It doesn’t matter how good your business idea is, the fact is that starting and running your own business will prove frustrating - and will inevitably challenge you to draw upon all of your inner resources. Yes, it can prove deeply fulfilling to build and create something from scratch – but there will be many periods of disappointment and stress. In the early days, there will likely be times of cash-flow strain, when you will be kept awake at night with the anxiety of worrying whether your monthly sales will exceed your monthly costs and expenses. It's a sobering statistic when you read that almost half of new businesses have "closed shop" within two years of opening…….. But if you are someone who is eager for the challenge of being your own boss, not easily discouraged, and if you are also  highly self-motivated - then read on ......
  2. Be conservative when projecting your sales versus costs  Once you decide that you want to stop just dreaming and start exploring the real viability of your business idea, then it's time to put your business plan together and take a serious look at the numbers, It is wise to be a little conservative when developing your business plan and projecting future sales – rather than being wildly optimistic about revenue and thereby possibly over-committing on your early expenditure because of  an unrealistic expectation of strong sales.
  3. Keep an eye on your competition. Who is already playing in your space … how will you differentiate yourself from them? …… Alternatively, maybe there are no current players and there really is a gap in the marketplace for your product or service. Perhaps nobody else has yet seen the problem for which you will be providing people with a solution ….. However, you still need to consider the potential cost or ease of entry for a new player in the future. In other words, were you to succeed with the commercialisation of your idea – even though at present there may be an absence of competition – chances are that others will eventually see your success and seek to copy what you do. So even after you’ve established your business, you’ve got to continue to learn, improve and innovate.
  4. Selecting & registering your business name.  This is one of the most critical early decisions that you will be making. There are two schools of thought on how to do this. One option is to choose a “quirky” name that is different and therefore memorable for your customers. Examples of this might be Google, Apple or Bing. …… The other option is to choose a name that clearly reflects the service or product that you offer. For example Anderson’s Landscaping Services. This might also reflect that it is a family business. However it can be very effective to add a “local” aspect to your business name if you are going to particularly target a local market. For example, Bayside Gardening Services or Eastern Suburbs Engineering. If possible, align the domain name of your website with your business name – although this is not essential it is generally preferable to have that consistency. Within Australia, ASIC is the government agency where you can  check business name availability. Even if you intend to set up your business as a sole trader, you will likely be required to apply for an ABN in order to register your business name, after you've established that it is available (the ABN  on-line application is free - although a tax agent would likely charge you a fee to do this on your behalf).  In 2017, the annual cost of registration of a business name is $35. For creating your business website and selection of a domain name, Wordpress is a very popular and affordable platform for those who want to save some money and do-it-yourself.
  5. Start small and test the market. You don’t necessarily have to quit your day job in order to test the viability of your business idea. Let’s say for example you intend to sell hand-crafted aromatic candles. Before taking out a long term lease on a store and setting up shop, you might first try selling them at local markets. Maybe you set up an affordable on-line e-commerce store and process your orders in the evenings after work. ……… Over time, if you discover that a steady demand for your product or service does exist and your sales clearly confirm the opportunity exists, then you might decide to commit to your business venture “full-time”. 

In closing, let me say from having started and run my own consulting business - Performance Development - for more than 25 years, it has been both a hugely rewarding yet at times extremely stressful experience. You might perhaps ask if I had my time over, would I do it again? ...... Absolutely ...... But whether it is the right path for you, will be your decision. By all means, consult with other people that you trust and respect - and consider their advice and suggestions. But ultimately it is going to be about what is right for you (and your family, if you are the main bread-winner)

Other relevant articles - "Mental toughness and running your own business" and "Avoiding seven common small business pitfalls"  AND here's a link to a great brochure that you can download from ASIC (the government agency that regulates companies in Australia) which offers good practical advice on starting up a new small business "Doing Business in Australia"