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Top tips for starting your own business

Take the first steps to starting your own business

Today’s unusual business climate – including an increased focus on property sanitisation, cleanliness and maintenance – have encouraged some Australians to launch a new venture, while at the same time discouraging others. Find yourself in the first group, keen for starting your own business? Read on…

Many budding entrepreneurs pursue their passion and start a new business regardless of challenges they face. Or to take advantage of the opportunities they present.

It can be daunting, risky and demanding; but also rewarding when you take the plunge with the right skills and knowledge backing you. If you are ready for starting your own business, here is some advice to help you get off on the right foot

Learn from the best

Surround yourself with business mentors and advisors to gain insights for getting your business off the ground with momentum.

They will provide much, if not all, of what you need to know about planning for, running and growing a successful business. They will draw on their years of experience to give you a number of important tips for success. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Make contact with one or more of these experts before you kick off your journey:

  • Business advisors have a wealth of information and ideas about how you can start up and run your business effectively
  • Accountants and book keepers are valuable experts in areas such as cash flow, compliance and benchmarking
  • Business mentors are an excellent source of knowledge, inspiration and motivation
  • Life coaches can also be a terrific source of motivation, as well as empowerment and encouragement

You will likely have a number of ex-colleagues, friends and/or family members who own their own business too – draw on their experience

Know the territory

Market intelligence and industry insights are crucial, so it is worth taking the time to thoroughly research what you are getting yourself into.

Delve deeply to find the answers to questions such as:

  1. Who are your main competitors?
  2. What are the most significant issues in the industry at the moment and expected in future?
  3. Has someone else tried to launch a business similar to yours? What worked and didn’t?
  4. Can you offer one or more points of difference?
  5. What complementary businesses can you form strategic partnerships with?
  6. What customer loyalty programs can you employ to encourage more business and referrals

Establish a brand

Develop a brand that compels people to do business with you and, in turn, attracts the right customers.

A brand is more than just a word, image, logo or slogan – it is how your business differentiates itself from others, especially your competitors. It is the personality of your business, and this can be perceived differently by the general public, customers, staff, media, suppliers, business partners and other stakeholders.

Who/what does your business need to be to cut through the clutter in the market? What points of difference does it need to stand out and be successful? How will every part of your business reinforce and strengthen your brand reputation? How and where will you communicate all this to the people who will help grow your business?

Think long-term

Once you launch, the day-to-day tasks can be overwhelming. You will probably wear many hats – CEO, business development manager, product expert, marketer, receptionist and so on. That is why it pays dividends to prepare a long-term business plan beforehand.

It will not only set you on the right path from the word go, it will steer you back into focus when you get distracted by the many areas of your business (this will almost certainly happen at some stage).

A strategic, forward-looking plan addressing key business elements, e.g. sales, marketing, product/service capability, staff recruitment and customer service, helps you effectively manage cash flow and achieve profit and growth.

Visualise where you want to be in two years, five years or even 10 years. Develop a road map to help you get there. Be sure to write down your goals and track how you are tracking against them.

Set up your systems and processes

Implementing efficient business systems and processes is crucial. It will enable you to have more time to focus on your business and do what you love, so it is important to get this right.

You are spoilt for choice these days when it comes to affordable business technologies that help improve productivity. Do your research and speak to others in the know – the right app or software program can be a game changer.

Be where your customers are: online

With a vast majority of consumers researching online prior to making a purchase or engaging a business’s services, a website enables you to connect with more customers. Simply put – if you are not online, you are pretty much invisible.

There are a range of cost-effective website builders out there, and some are even free. Check out this list for some inspiration. Building an online presence could be much simpler than you realise.

Cover yourself

To safeguard the financial health of your business, you should seriously consider business insurance.

Professional indemnity insurance and general liability insurance are important for all manner of businesses for all manner of reasons. They will help protect you against customer claims for things such as breach of duty, personal injury and damage, environmental impairment and much more. Unintentional outcomes that you usually can’t see coming.

When you know you’re covered you can fully focus on starting your own business and setting it into growth mode..

Test and learn

After starting your own business, know that it is okay to make mistakes. You will find that the most successful entrepreneurs have likely made mistakes along the way, growing and modifying their business in response.

Learn from your mistakes, adapt your business plan and activities to suit, and persevere.

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