Have you been dreaming of owning your own business? Maybe you’re nurturing a great idea for a startup, but you’re not quite sure how to make it happen. We hear you—setting up your business can be a daunting prospect, with all those forms to fill in and decisions to make. But every year, thousands of people across Australia and New Zealand make this dream their reality, and we know you can, too.
Our seven-step plan will help you avoid the rookie errors that can drain your time and resources, and get you started with charting your own course to business success.
1. Find Your Niche and Fill It
If you want your business to be more than just a hobby, you’ll need to know it’s got room to grow. If there are other businesses offering the same products or services, you’ll need to know what will distinguish your business. Will you market it to a different age group? Or perhaps set up online or in a different geographical location? Test out your ideas as part of a SWOT analysis, looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Visit the website of your country’s official government statistics agency (Australian Bureau of Statistics, New Zealand Statistics) to identify growth areas and gaps in the market that will help you position your product. Establishing that a market exists will also make it easier for you to find funding for your business, and it’s an essential part of your business plan.
2. Choose Your Business Structure
Each different business structure has its advantages and disadvantages, with different levels of personal liability in case of legal action, and different costs and complexity involved with setting up and reporting on your business. Do your research and consult with a tax, legal or business adviser if you’re not sure which structure is right for you or need help setting it up.
3. Pick a Name
Choosing a name that suits your brand is exciting, and getting it right is an important step in making your business memorable. Ideally, you’ll find one that’s not only available for registration as a business name, but also has a matching web domain name that hasn’t been claimed. Try variations on a name you like until you find one that sticks. (If you’re a sole trader, you can choose to trade under your own name instead of registering a business name.) This is also a great time to start generating ideas for your branding, so you can use your logo and colour on your business plan.
4. Find Funding
Australian startups tend to be privately funded, with 86% using their owners’ personal savings to provide a buffer and cover setup costs like marketing expenses, office equipment, salaries, and initial inventory. But that’s not the only way to do it. You can also apply for
- a business loan from your bank
- a business incubator grant
- funding from venture capital firms
- crowdsourced funding.
Your funding choice can affect the profitability of your business by creating a liability to repay loans or provide goods, so it’s important to consider your options carefully.
5. Meet Your Tax and Legal Obligations
The requirements for setting up your business vary from country to country. To start with, you’ll need to check local, state and federal government requirements for
- registering your business name and business numbers
- registering your business with the tax office, e.g. for GST
- applying for licences or permits
- insuring your business against significant risks
- complying with consumer and privacy laws.
That’s a lot to get through, so it’s a good idea to allow plenty of time and consult with a business adviser to make sure you get it right first go.
Some banks also offer a startup service that handles your business banking setup, business registration, and domain name registration. They charge a fee, but you might find it worthwhile if you don’t want to read through all the information and fill in the forms.
6. Set Up Your Business Systems
A wide range of business administration processes can now be automated if you’re using the right software systems. You might not need all of these, but you should consider systems for:
- ecommerce and point of sale
- invoicing and accounting
- inventory management
- marketing and customer relationship management (CRM)
- customer support
- employee and contractor management
- order fulfilment, freight or shipping
- business analytics.
An omni-channel POS system, like Neto, can make your life easier by automating tasks such as updating your inventory levels and pushing each transaction to your accounting package, freeing up your time to focus on your customers.
7. Build Your Web Presence to Market and Sell
First, you’ll need to register your domain name and set up web and email hosting. Then it’s time to design your website and take your business online.
You’ll want your online store to be the centre of your website, with landing pages and blog posts to generate interest in your products or services. The process you follow will depend upon the ecommerce platform you’ve selected and your technical expertise. You might hire a designer to help you set it up; other systems may offer ready-to-use templates and themes.
Ideally, your POS system will integrate with your email marketing platform and social media channels, making it easy for you to run campaigns and monitor their conversion rates. Sign up for accounts on any social media platforms you want to use immediately, and any you think you’ll use in the future. Follow influencers in your market segment and vertical, and share news, tips and tricks that will help audience—get those conversations started.
And now your brand new business is up and running with everything you need to keep growing your business through 2017!
There’s no time like the present for turning your business dreams into a reality. Taking the time to plan your business and set it up properly will make it easier for you to hit the ground running, so you can spend less time on your business administration, and more time with your customers.
Neto is a leading ecommerce platform designed for small and medium-sized retailers and wholesalers. We help you design, set up and run your stores across multiple channels, and our powerful back-office capabilities take care of the details so you can concentrate on your core business. If you’re ready to start a new business in 2017, you’re ready to start a Neto free trial.