Tuesday, 07 April 2015
Love Local Blog Article - 10 tips for Start Ups & Small Business
When developing the seed of a business idea into a real-life entity, hands up how many of you have hit a speed bump (read: mountain) or two when it came time to execute? While your idea may be rock-solid, putting pen to paper and turning these brilliant ideas into a viable, profitable business model that meets some form of consumer want or need, is key to start-up success. No matter how new you are to the game or what you’ve studied prior; feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the next step is simply a rite of passage for many budding entrepreneurs. Venturing into the unknown is part of the terrifying fun of it all and means you get to bend or make up the rules as you go.
In our experience, the early signs of roadblocks came in deciding how to structure the business, nutting out the costs involved, and knowing what the initial step actually looked like. Once you fumble around getting that right, and you finally open your doors (or be it virtual doors) ongoing planning is essential to make sure you keep up the momentum.
Whatever stage of the entrepreneurial journey you’re on, to help you through, we’ve put together our Top 5 Essential Tips For Early Stage Start-ups, exploring how to convert your idea into a business, plus our Top 5 Tips For Newly-established Businesses in the initial start up phase.
5 Tips For Early Stage Start-ups:
Getting The Structure Right: For new businesses, the three most popular business structures are a sole trader, a partnership and a company. Each structure has different tax treatments to consider, with sole trading and partnerships accepting unlimited liability – meaning any bank can hold you personally responsible for any outstanding debts. Enlist a good accountant to give you structuring advice before diving in. This is one decision you want to ensure you get right before starting out.
The Name Game: Once you’ve decided on the structure of your business, register your name with ASIC before someone else beats you to it. You can even put dibs on your name by lodging a form to reserve it for up to 2 months. If you plan on having a website, check to see if your name is free and then reserve a domain name. Once this is all checked off, apply for an ABN and an ACN (for companies) and don’t forget to register for GST with the tax office.
Read ‘The Lean Start Up’ By Eric Ries: This is a must-read regardless of size or industry, and really gets the entrepreneurial juices flowing. The hard-hitting point in this book for us is that you don’t need to spend years developing a product or service, or track down the perfect office before you launch. It’s all about testing out your vision and taking your concept to market to gain valuable interest and feedback to make it the best it can possibly be.
Estimate Your Costs: The general rule of thumb is to have the first 6 months of fixed costs on hand at the time of start-up. When planning and estimating your costs, don’t low-ball expenses, and remember that unexpected costs can quickly outpace the steady growth of your business. Forward planning is key so you don’t run out of cash.
Get A Good Accounting System: Go with an accounting system that is user friendly, easy to navigate and has the functionality to grow as your business does. Xero is an excellent cloud-based program that will save you valuable time and eliminate stress by managing your incomings and outgoings, including payroll.
5 Tips For Newly Established Start-ups:
Plan For Growth: What direction do you want to take your business? Do you have grand plans to scale? What is your purpose in business? (profit aside). Getting clear about your answers will give you the reserves you’ll need to draw on when times get tough. Goal setting is a powerful process that not only sets out milestones to work towards, it also keeps you accountable and much more likely to achieve what you’ve set out to accomplish.
Achieving Cash Flow: In the startup world, expenses versus incomings can spiral out of synchronicity pretty quickly if you aren’t monitoring your cash flow carefully. To ensure your monthly budget balances, it’s vital that you plan for revenue to be received ahead of any planned expenses. If this can’t happen, creating an account with a surplus of funds to draw on in times of need will give you the peace of mind to forge ahead with confidence.
Get Creative: Brainstorm ways to save smarter. Think about whether there is a way to borrow, co-share or rent an item, service or expense. Pick and choose between the best and most cost effective paid events you attend. It’s easy to get carried away learning new skills and signing up to new networking opportunities, but if you think creatively about how to stretch your money and better utilize your time, you’ll become a savvier and more resourceful business for it.
Focus On What You’re Great At & Outsource The Rest: While this may not always be possible within the tight constraints of a newly established business, in some cases it makes good sense to back yourself and spend on outsourcing specific areas of the business if it will improve efficiencies and overall output. Business owners can struggle handing over the reins to someone else in any capacity, but in order to grow the business in the way you want to, it can be wise to invest in the right people working in areas where they can add immediate value.
Take A Step Back: It’s easy to get bogged down beneath the weight of the day-to-day demands of your role, but it’s so important to take a step back and assess how the business is tracking toward achieving the goals you set out to zoom past. By taking time out of your day to think more holistically about the bigger picture – and by reading and accumulating material from a variety of sources – you will find inspiration and bring new ideas into your business from the unlikeliest of places.