How to Start a Small Business

Posted on July 17, 2015 by Nikki Lane

Before you get into the nitty gritty details of how to start a small business the first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘Do I have the right mindset for small business?’

Running your own business is hard work, it’s very isolating (if you work from home on your own) and you need to be incredibly disciplined.

Running a small business means that you perform every role in your business; you are the boss, the marketing department, the sales department, the receptionist and secretary, the bookkeeper, the IT manager and even the cleaner. You need to be focussed, disciplined, professional and organised to be successful.

If you’re still with me and aren’t put off by the above, then you can move into the logistics of setting up your new business.

First of all you need to start with the legalities:

  • Choose a name for your business (doing research to ensure it hasn’t already been taken and the domain name for your business still exists)
  • Register a domain name for your website (with hosting so you can have a business name email address)
  • Decide on your business structure; sole trader, partnership, company etc. (seek advice from your accountant on this)
  • Register an ABN / ACN
  • Register your business name at ASIC
  • Register any trademarks you may have for products or services
  • Register at the ATO for GST and PAYG
  • Find out what insurances you might need for your product or service
  • Open a separate bank account for your business

Once all this is taken care of, you can move onto the fun stuff:

  • Create a logo and tag line for your business
  • Design and print your business cards
  • Find a web designer and get your website up and running (start up businesses can easily get a website between $500 – $1000 these days). Ensure you are able to edit your website yourself moving forward (this is a MUST!!!)
  • Start writing content for your website
  • Start gathering ideas and content for your website blogs
  • Put a business-like voicemail on your mobile phone
  • Create a professional email signature and use your business email for all correspondence (including personal emails as you never know where your next client will come from)

Create some plans for your business:

  • These don’t have to be major documents but at least one page each for a business plan and marketing plan so you know where you are going, what you want to achieve for your business and who your target customer is.

Once you have a website and a business card then it’s time to get out there are get clients:

  • Get networking!! There are so many networks out there from women’s networks to business networks and regional networks. Find ones close to where you operate your business and get out there and make business contacts in your area (networking referrals are a great source of clients).
  • Create some DL flyers and do a direct mailout (with a call to action) to your target customers, ensuring you follow these up with a phone call.
  • Get going on social media: create a facebook page and start sharing your expertise. Join LinkedIn and hook up with contacts. Start tweeting your expertise on Twitter.
  • Contact everyone you know, people you have worked with in the past to let them know you are in business. Offer them an incentive to refer people to you.

Once you have followed the above you’ll be on your way to a successful small business. Please note however that this is a very high-level check list and there are so many more details in each of these stages.

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