Are you considering starting your own business? Even the idea of it is scary and exciting at the same time.
Being your own boss, seeing your ideas grow and your hard work finally paying off is what drives so many people to take the leap and create their very own brand.
Of course, this doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. At Vonto, we work with SMEs to help them navigate the challenges of the business world by providing analytical insights into their data. We want to support these enterprises and watch them grow.
So, if you dream of starting your own business then check out these simple steps.
Table of contents
- Write out your business plan
- Get Registered
- Find your customers
- Set up your online presence
- Choose the right tech tools
Write out your business plan
As the Benjamin Franklin old quote goes: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Setting out a roadmap for your business will help you identify the possible risks and challenges that you will face. It might not seem that important, especially when your brain is bubbling with ideas, but paying attention to the details at this stage can really pay off later down the line.
As well as getting your ideas in order, a solid business plan can also help you to communicate your goals to any possible partners or investors.
A key part of this stage is research. What products or services will you offer? Who are the local, national or even international competition? Who are your target customers and what information can you find out about them that will help you to best meet their needs?
Just as important is getting an overview of your finances. Make sure to have a clear plan of your start up costs, expenses and any overheads that will eat into your precious investment. Also, where exactly will your revenue come from. Honestly looking into your finances and making a conservative estimate into how much or how long it will take to break even can save from strained relationships and expensive mistakes that can be hard to back out of.
The government has heaps of great resources and downloadable templates that can help you make a clear and professional plan.
Now your business is taking shape, the next step is to make it official by registering. This step is vital so you can operate legally, pay taxes and claim help and benefits from the government.
Choosing your business structure will determine what types of registration you need. Each type of business has its own characteristics. For example, starting out as a sole trader might make sense if you are going into business with your own capital, you will have more control but also your risks will be higher. There are different types of structures, be sure to research which fits for you.
Your Australian Business Number or ABN is an 11 digit number that identifies your business. It’s free to apply for online and is an important step for invoicing, GST, taxes and certain business exemptions. It’s also necessary to register for an australian web domain.
Registering your name with the government means you can trade under it. Put a lot of thought into your name, as it is one of the key components of your brand identity, you should make sure your name is both memorable and descriptive.
When you are ready to register all of the information is easily available online.
Find your customers
There are a number of ways to start marketing your business. The best advice is to start small and local. A simple campaign that is targeted to a specific target demographic can get your precious first customers.
Social media is a strong place to start. Set up is free and there is already an existing audience and with just a small spend you can get your advertisements in front of users that will love your brand. We have a great article all about getting the most out of Instagram that you should check out.
Setting up your Google My Business is an important step for increasing your visibility online and making it easier for customers to find you. This is especially true if you have a physical location as it allows you to respond to reviews, update information and include your contact details on google maps. Google Ads are also one of the most powerful advertising services online that gives access to targeted search terms and even adverts on YouTube.
Set up your online presence
With your ABN you can also get an Australian domain name. Although the internet is global, search engines place a lot of emphasis on providing local results. This means that with your Google my Business account and a local domain you will perform better in search results for people who are more likely to buy from you.
Your site is your digital flagship store. Sites like Shopify can help you easily set up, manage inventory and take payments. This can take a lot of the hard work of designing, maintaining and hosting your own website. Make sure to promote your site through all your channels and keep it regularly updated with your newest offerings.
These days it’s more important than ever to have a great online presence. You can refer back to your business plan to make sure that you are guiding potential customers down the right path. If you are offering services to your clients then your website should lead customers towards your contact information. If you are offering products then make sure the route to checkout is as problem free as possible.
Choose the right tech tools
Starting with the right software tools can make a huge difference later. At the beginning it can be tempting to take shortcuts when invoicing clients and managing all of the different contact information but as you grow, doing everything manually is just too hard and time consuming.
Having a strong CRM or customer relationship management tool helps you gather and categorise all of your customer data. That could be existing customers or potential leads. This tech can help you get the most out of every customer you acquire and means you won’t miss out on leads due to mismanagement.
Another aspect of your business with data that’s too important to miss is your finances. Tools like Xero can take a bit of time to set up and get used to, but once they are working for you then it can give you a much needed overview of your cash flow and is invaluable when it’s time to do your taxes.
While we are on the topic of tech, Vonto’s free analytics app can help bring all of different parts of your business together. The app simply connects to your existing business apps and tools, like Xero, Instagram and even your Shopify site, and then serves you daily insights. These insights can show you what’s working and what needs attention, sifting through heaps of data to show you what is hiding in the numbers.
The most important lesson is to plan ahead, and verify your plan with research data, or a professional opinion. So many bad calls can be avoided this way, studying your competition means you can learn from other people’s mistakes rather than making your own.
Like all big projects, starting a business can be broken down into different elements to make it easier to tackle. Now you have an idea of the steps necessary to start your own business, use this as a base and customise it to your individual needs.
Whatever kind of business you decide to start we wish you the best of luck and success!