All businesses start with a skill, idea or opportunity. But you’ll need more than this to make your business successful. Planning, skills, people, time – and luck – are all important.
The below startup checklist is a fantastic starting point for your business. Tick them off one at a time and make sure you are fully ready before launching into your new business.
1. What is your niche?
You need a niche in business in the 21st century. That is a particular skill or market within your industry that you can compete and indeed beat the opposition within the industry you are in. You must define this niche, sum it up in a short paragraph and then it should become your mantra, especially to your customers. What is your niche?
2. Set up your business structure
Choose a legal structure that works best for you. An accountant can help. From sole trader through to trusts and companies, it’s very important that you trade in the correct structure for asset protection and tax purposes.
3. Find a business mentor, where you have a skills gap
Whether it’s marketing, financial, innovation, people skills or a combination, find a mentor to give you advice and guide you. Starting a business is lonely and the input of experienced people is vital. Hunt them down in all areas you frequent.
4. Establish a business plan
When you establish a business plan, you’ll need to summarise your business setup and where you want to be in the next 12 months, financially, and in the next 5 years strategically. Map your vision and it will give you clarity on where you are heading and why you started the business. Pin the plan up and follow/adjust it over time.
5. Register any Trademarks and Websites
You’ll need a website. It’s where people immediately go to find you and what your business does and how it will help customers. It’s a good idea to cover as many domains as possible to safeguard your business now and in the future. Perhaps you need a trademark as well to protect what you are building.
6. Arrange personal and business insurance
Even the smallest companies need insurance. Talk to a broker to find the best package for you. You may have left employment to start a business so you won’t have workcover anymore so make sure you have income protection insurance. It’s vital.
7. Are you long term viable?
Can you make a long term income and profit from your business? Quality accounting software and reports on a monthly basis will help enormously in tracking your Profit and Loss statement which will gauge your long term viability. As a great sage once said “you’ll never go broke making a profit”. Ask a bookkeeper/accountant to provide this.
8. Set up a business bank account
Don’t use your personal account, even if you’re just starting out. It’s always wise to keep your business finances separate. A credit card/debit card and even a PayPal account just for the business could be useful too. Separate your business and personal lives NOW!
9. Think about how you’ll use technology
Nearly all companies use technology. Think about whether you need laptops, tablets, smartphones – or all of these. Talk to local IT firms if you’re not sure. And make sure you do your research online. Most technology is cloud based these days and reasonably priced so try to setup without paper. Good for you and the environment!!
10. Register for TFN/ABN
Organise a Tax File Number and an Australian Business Number. Best done straight away and if you are struggling a Tax Agent will whip it up in no time.
11. List the items that can be tax deductible expenses
Office rent, equipment costs, internet costs – all of these may be offset against tax so make sure you talk to your tax accountant.
12. Create your website
Use the website domain name you’ve already registered. Services like WordPress and Squarespace, are useful but you’re likely to need expert help here. The cost of a website is a fraction of the value that it will give you and your business so do not skimp on the setup.
13. Create social network accounts
Different businesses have different social media needs. You might need a Facebook page. Insta page and a LinkedIn profile. You may even need a Twitter account. Do some research on competitors or ask your mentor to see what will work for your business. Social media is powerful, doesn’t cost a lot but it must stay up to date so always keep an eye on it once it’s established. For businesses starting out it may be just one main social media platform for your industry is key.
14. Ask people to promote you online
Contact members of your social networks. Tell them about your new business and ask them to share the link to your website with the people in their networks. Non-one knows you’re there if you don’t tell them.
15. Find the right employees
Hiring the right employees is absolutely vital. If you build a business the right employees will be the most important asset so hone your EI skills to track down the best candidates in the industry.
16. Choose your business applications
Software is getting more powerful and intuitive. If possible, choose online applications for your work. These include Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365. That way you can access your valuable data online from anywhere at any time.
17. Keep your data safe
Companies that lose data also lose business. Use cloud-based software for peace of mind. Ask your insurance agent about Cyber security insurance. There are so many hackers in the world today that you need to be very cautious.
Keep challenging yourself…….BUT
Successful entrepreneurs keep going when other people would give up. That inner drive is what defines a successful business owner. Your attitude will help determine whether your business succeeds or fails. So give 100%. BUT, there is always a but, if you feel that you won’t make it based on finances running thin then contact your Accountant for a health check. A business in financial trouble that is not looked at can result in both financial and personal hardship.
If you have any questions or need assistance with the startup of your new business contact the friendly team at Paris Financial today at firstname.lastname@example.org.