Starting a business

9 Things To Know Before Starting Your Business

Starting a business might seem like a great idea but, the truth is, it's not for everyone.

4 minutes

Starting a business might seem like a great idea but, the truth is, it’s not for everyone. To get your business off to the best possible start, you need to focus, be realistic and plan. (And read these top tips!)

Here are the nine things to know before launching a business

1. Do your research

That covers everything from researching your competitors to researching the costs involved in setting up what you need to do (do you need to buy stock, office equipment, a vehicle?)

Sometimes, that great, seemingly original idea, might be something 10 other business owners are already offering. Unless you can do it better, smarter, differently…think about what you’re entering into.

2. Be organised

The best businesses all begin with brilliant organisation. Putting systems in place to help your business run efficiently and effectively from the very beginning is much better than trying to undo mistakes down the track. Plan, plan and plan some more. Figure out what you need to have in place, right from the start. Stay focused, create a business plan, keep a diary and do whatever it takes to set your goals – and stick to them.

3. Ask one important question: Why?

Why do you want to be in business? If the reason is freedom and flexibility to be home with your family, be realistic. Starting a business is hard work that can mean long hours and lots of stress. By being realistic about what you need to do to get your business pumping, rather than be disappointed and resentful when you find your business takes more time and effort than you thought.

4. Find a mentor

No on can know everything. The good side of that is that it motivates you to reach out to others to draw on specific knowledge and skills they have that can make your unique expertise and skills even more amazing. Choose a mentor (and you can have more than one) who brings something new to the equation. If marketing is a critical part of getting your business off the ground, and you don’t have that training or experience, choose a mentor who can bring those benefits to the table. If streamlined processes is pivotal to getting you going, choose a mentor who can help you set up the right way.

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5. Talk to your target market

Any  business needs a firm understanding of their ideal client. Who’s yours? By understanding the target customer your business is aiming at, you can survey the demographic to learn ways that your product or service can be accepted by, or improved upon.

6. Get a lawyer

Solid legal advice from a professional lawyer with practical experience in the area of business you are entering into is a sensible investment to get your business off to a positive start.

From talking to an IP lawyer about trademarking your business name to setting terms and conditions for your websites and contracts – legal advice and support is a critical factor in any professional business.

7. Find a great accountant

Knowing your numbers is critical to running a viable business.

Choose an accountant you know and trust (either by interviewing them or taking a recommendation from someone else you know and trust). A professional accountant can help you create a business plan, a budget and an exit strategy for your business – all important ingredients for business success.

8. Understand Your Tax Obligations

Another important reason an accountant is great for your business? Reminding you that your business has tax obligations. From the start, setting money aside for tax obligations is vital – if you fail to do it, your business can become unstuck very quickly, with mounting debts adding to your stress.

Your accountant will explain your obligations. Your job? To really listen…and take action to put money aside as it comes in.

9. Network

Whether your business is in bricks and mortar retail or online, connecting with a wider network is pivotal to your long-term success. Explore relevant networking functions and trade events. Identify who your ideal alliance/referral partners are and choose events where they are. Make sure you have everything set-up – your website, your LinkedIn profile and business cards. If you meet someone who wants to know more, you need to make finding out about you and doing their research as easy as possible.

Make sure you follow-up with anyone who gave you their contact details – but not to sell them anything straight away. Nothing is worse than attending a networking event, handing out your business card and checking your email to find a bunch of hard-sell emails from people you’ve just met. Networking is about building trust. Be patient. It will pay off.

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