10 Steps for Starting a Business

“It’s so hard to create a business; I wouldn’t even know where to start!” you say as you Google, how to start a business…I agree, it takes a lot of hard work to make a successful business, but to get started, you just need to take the first step. Let me say from the outset, yep, I haven’t put, ‘write a business plan’ on this list. Why? Because I know too many people who can excel at writing an awesome 50 page business plan, without ever taking the action required to get it off the ground.

  1. Have an idea & back yourself. It doesn’t even need to be a completely new idea; your take on an existing idea can be a great business. For almost anything, there’s more than enough business to go around, if you provide an excellent service to the people you’re targeting. Write it all down on a one page strategy document and keep moving through the process. You’re almost certainly not going to have it all perfect at this stage, but as a good friend of mine says, ‘done is 100% better than perfect’.
  1. Get an accountant to set up the business structure and talk through other strategies you might need to consider. Do you need to set up a company? A trust? Partnership agreement? Register for GST? What about tax? Before this meeting, you’ll need to have given consideration to the name of the business. Check available business names using the ASIC register at asic.gov.au. (I also recommend seeing if it’s available on Facebook and as a domain name before getting carried away.) Getting the foundations of your business set up properly from the beginning may seem expensive, but will be well worth it in the long run. You may also need to call on your accountant to help you decide on a bookkeeping system, or recommend a bookkeeper to manage your accounts, when all that work comes rolling in!
  1. Depending on the idea, check the licensing or registration requirements in your state. Many industries have requirements for licensing, or council approval to run a business from home. You can visit https://ablis.business.gov.au/ for more information on licensing and approvals.
  1. Get a bank account. You need somewhere for people to pay you!! You can do this once you have your business structure in place. There’s a fair chance you’ll need an appointment with your chosen bank to set this up. Don’t forget to take all the paperwork your accountant has set up for you, so the bank can create your account.
  1. Design your brand. This can be really tricky for some people so this might be an area where you seek some external expertise. If you want to give it a go yourself though, tools like Canva (canva.com) are a great solution for a non-designer. Canva is one of my favourite things, ever!
  1. Get a website domain & email address. You can use a site like www.godaddy.com (which is what I used, but there’s plenty of similar providers out there) to set up your website domain and email address. You need to have an ABN to register a domain name in Australia. Many of these sites also offer simple services to create your website yourself, if you have a little bit of marketing, design or content writing knowledge. You may want to outsource it to a pro, but depending on your skills and the type of business you’re setting up, you don’t have to.
  1. Create a Facebook profile and prepare your initial content. With over a billion daily active users, it’s vital that your Facebook presence is active and builds engagement with your community, which might be small to begin with, but has unlimited growth potential. Consider what other social accounts are going to add value and create them too. Keeping your social media accounts active can be a big job, so this is another area you may want to consider outsourcing to someone just like me!
  1. Design & print business cards. I believe business cards can still be a valuable tool for a business today, especially when making introductions and networking.
  1. Prepare your terms of business. Unless you come from a unique background where you can get your hands on a contract you know how to modify yourself, you need a solicitor to help you write your terms of trade, if you’re consulting, for example, or to review other contracts, such as a lease.
  1. Talk to people you know & offer your services or products, turn them into clients, customers or your biggest cheerleaders. Small business in particular, is still all about relationships. Get out there and actually talk to the people you want to do business with. The worst they can do is say no!

What else would you add? If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, what’s still holding you back?