Seven Steps to Starting a Business

Start Up ConceptStep 1: Ask yourself ‘will it work?’
Now is the time to take a good hard look at your business idea and decide whether it has a good chance of success. More than half of Australia’s small businesses last less than five years, so it is important to take the rose-coloured glasses off and assess whether people will buy what you are selling for a price that will allow the business to succeed.

Step 2: Write your business plan
A business plan will improve your chances of getting financial support, either from investors or through a bank loan, but more importantly, it will force you to put into writing all the pros and cons of the business, what steps you need to take for it to succeed, and what goals you hope to achieve. If you didn’t have a clear answer to the question in step one before writing your business plan, you should have one by the time you are done.

Step 3: Write a budget
Your budget needs to be as detailed and realistic as possible. Try to get as much information as you can before creating your budget, both from others in the industry and finance professionals. Most people start their business with great optimism, but you may be surprised just how long it can take to build a profitable business, so it is important to have achievable financial goals to keep you on track and motivated.

Step 4: Create your brand
This includes things like registering a business name, choosing corporate colours, designing a logo, registering a domain name and creating social media profiles. This may seem a little premature, but most of these things involve little of no cost, and it is important to give your customers a clear idea of who you are right from the start. You should also look at having a website developed, as this can take some time depending on how complex your online presence needs to be.

Step 5: Organise your administration
Depending on your industry or profession, you may need to apply for licences (such as liquor or builder’s licences). You will also need to register for an ABN if you don’t already have one, and register your business name unless you plan to use your own name as the business name. This step really needs to be done in conjunction with step four, as you will need to ensure your business name isn’t already in use by someone else before getting all your designs and artwork done. This step also involves deciding on a business structure, opening bank accounts and

Step 6: Contact suppliers
Again, this will depend on the business you are starting, but if you have any sort of retail business you will need to choose your suppliers and understand their payment terms. Most suppliers will want payment up front for new businesses until you have established a credit history with them It is important to understand that you will be paying for stock before your customers pay you, so cash reserves will be needed.

Step 7: Start selling!
Once everything is in place, you should get the business running as soon as possible to ensure money is coming in to cover those start-up costs.

By Jennifer Lowe

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