Getting your business started
by Tash Hughes
of Word Constructions (www.wordconstructions.com.au)
Coming up with
the idea of running a business is easy; maybe choosing
your business idea was easy too. But now what? How do
you go about making that idea into a real life business?
You donít have
to have a business or economics degree to start a
business, nor do you necessarily need a huge capital. As
long as you have a belief in yourself and your business,
a willingness to work and a desire to make the business
last, you can start your own business and potentially do
On the practical
level, there are certain steps you should take to
maximise your business success. You can move through
these steps quickly or slowly, depending on your
understanding and time commitment. However, if you move
too quickly you may well miss out on crucial
- Define your
Take some time
to really think about what business you want to start.
Itís not enough to say ĎI want to open a shopí Ė what do
you want to sell in the shop? Will it be a bricks and
mortar shop or an online shop? Will you have a large
product range or be very highly specialised?
Unless you have
a clear picture, it is worth brainstorming ideas for
your business, and if some friends can help, thatís even
better. At this stage, donít reject any idea, just note
them down and see what they spark.
From the list of
possibilities, cut it back to a description of your
business. Be specific about things as this will help you
take further steps in starting a business. If you canít
define your business idea, maybe you arenít ready for a
business or are looking at the wrong concept to start
- Research your
defined your business, youíll need to check it out. Itís
all well and good to decide youíll run a business
teaching young Mums to yodel, but what if young Mums
donít live in your area or donít want to yodel anyway?
Likewise, deciding to sell typewriters may not be a
valid idea unless you treat it as an antique and novelty
business needs to include things like the desire for
your product/service, the price people are willing to
pay for it, where these people would buy it and why they
would buy it. Research doesnít have to be expensive or
done by professionals, but it is important.
- Define your
goals and desires
Why are you
starting a business? What do you hope to gain from it?
goals can be changed over time, but you still need an
idea of what you want and where youíre going.
goals with your business idea Ė do they work together?
For instance, if your goal is to make a million dollars
in two years then walking dogs in your local area may
not be the right business for you; if your goal is to
make people happy, then a business of debt collecting
isnít likely to work.
business and goals are aligned, you will enjoy the
process and your enthusiasm will show through to clients
- Identify your
skills and weaknesses
As a business
owner, you are the best asset of the business. An honest
assessment of your skills and weaknesses could save you
a lot of money and heart ache in the long term.
skills you lack may be learned either through books,
attending a course or having an expert coach you.
Depending on the skill and time involved, you may want
to learn this skill before you actually start the
that any business partners and associates, and even
close family, can also be included in this analysis of
skills. Quite often, your weaknesses will be compensated
by anotherís strengths. Many creative people find a
business partner who is good with numbers and details,
whilst other partnerships allow the introvert to work
quietly alone as the extrovert promotes the business.
- Determine the
too excited about your business, you will need to know
how much it will cost to get started. Donít be put off
by this step Ė it is better to know beforehand, rather
than 6 months later.
brainstorming can help as you list all of the equipment
and supplies you need to get started. Include items such
as a computer, printer, mobile phone, stock, materials
to make stock, packaging, bags/envelopes for purchases,
paper, a car/ute/van, business cards, web design, web
hosting, specialist equipment, business signs and
storage boxes/cupboards. There are also expenses such as
phone calls, rent, electricity bills, business name
registration, maintenance and industry specific
Next, add the
cost of each item on your list. Some things you may
already have so you can list the cost as $0. Total up
the list and you will have an estimated cost of start
up. Many financial advisors would add another 10% to
that total as a safety net.
determine how much money you have available for your
- Decide on
Armed with an
estimate of your set up costs, you can assess what to do
the costs are less than your business budget, you can go
If the costs are
not far above available funds, you could possibly get
the extra through family or friends, a partner, waiting
and saving for a while, selling an asset or a small bank
A large set up
cost, however, brings more decisions with it. Firstly,
you need to consider the likely income from the business
and decide if the cost is justified by the returns. A
million dollar set up for an annual income of $10,000
isnít worth starting, but a $100,000 cost for a business
expected to earn $250,000 a year makes good financial
To finance a
large set up, you will need to investigate various
options, such as taking on partners, borrowing from a
bank or credit union or raising funds through investors.
At this stage, a financial advisor could be of great
- Determine the
financial situation and business idea, you can make
decisions about your business type. The main choices are
sole trader, partnership, company or trust. You also
need to decide if you need staff straight away and what
roles they would undertake.
Your goals for
the business can also be influential in these decisions;
for instance, if you plan on growing the business and
then franchising it, you may make a different choice to
someone only wanting a localised business.
business lawyers can help make these decisions for your
- Establish the
With much of the
groundwork done, some other basic decisions can be made.
will need a name, premises (home office, shopfront,
warehouse or whatever), style and contact arrangements.
You may also need to set up a website, a business bank
account, accounting system, supplier accounts and so on.
Once you know
all of the above, you can open for business. Good luck!
Tash Hughes is
the owner of
Word Constructions and is available to solve all
your business writing problems! From letters to
procedures, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions
writes all business documents to your style and