“I’m going to start a new business,” you say with enthusiasm and excitement. You have a great new business idea and tell your friends and family all about it. Then you realize that you’re not sure where to start. This article will give you a new business basic checklist. I’ll cover business names, products and services, insurance, bookkeeping and marketing, to help make your new business a reality.
So you are ready to take the plunge and get started. First things first, decide on a business name. Consider names that are easy for your customers to remember and not too long that it limits itself with social media or web page design. Check your local state for a business name register and see if your business name is available. There is usually a charge for this service and most countries require you to be registered. In Australia you may also need an Australian Business Number to meet your taxation obligations, and this is usually done at the same time.
What product or service will you provide?
The next step is to decide on what you are selling, whether it is goods, services or both. Do your local market research and look at your competition and analyze what they are providing to customers. Ask yourself if your prices are competitive and the services comparative to what you are trying to market. Let’s use a new lawn mowing business as an example. Joe’s Lawn Mowing provides only lawns and edges to customers, could you provide more? You would need to decide on what services you will be providing, for example: lawns, edges, rubbish removal, and gardening. By providing more services in some cases this may give you the competitive edge over the competition. Check your local council for any rules, restrictions or licenses that may apply to your new business.
What if something goes wrong? You are mowing away and crash, a rock goes through the car window of a Porsche. Insurance is really important to any business if something goes wrong, it’s imperative that you are protected from loss or damage. Get some quotes on public liability, and if you are consulting or advising you may need professional indemnity insurance.
I know how much we love the bookkeeping side to the business, however don’t put it off and be the one who gives the shoe box to the accountant. Take some time and learn the basics, these days you can learn over the internet on You Tube and many other sites. You can always buy an easy accounting software package to get started or if you’re a wiz at excel make up some simple accounting sheets. There are also many template examples free on the internet.
As a business you need to know how your business is doing financially at a glance. You need to know what your breakeven point is, what mark-up you will use and what your profit will be. A successful business knows what their finances are doing. With the right package you can control your stock, know what needs to be ordered and what is most popular. Put together a cash flow forecast with actual and projected figures for the next 12 months. This information is vital for your business’s survival in today’s economic climate. Your bank manager needs this information should you need a business loan and you need to know what cash is flowing in and out of your business.
Marketing Your Business
Put a marketing plan in place, there are many good ideas and templates online. Some simple marketing strategies to help you get started are:
- Set a budget and stick to it, sometimes it can be really easy to get caught up in the moment and spending more than you need to.
- Look at your target market – who are your clients? Male, Female, under or over 30, families, or tradesmen etc.
- Build relationships with your clients and find out what they need.
- Network – take business cards where ever you go, but don’t be pushy, talk, listen and build a relationship to work out their needs.
- Social media sites – fairly easy marketing plan and advertising templates.
- The local newspaper.
- Create a great easy to read and navigate website.
- Be a professional – be confident, be approachable, be understanding, and be knowledgeable about your products and services and how it fulfills their needs not your pocket.