Starting a Business


 

So, you have decided to go into Business!

This can be a good alternative to getting a paid job.  It allows you more freedom to do things when you want to do them.  It allows you to be your own boss and make your own decisions instead of being told what to do.  It allows you to be innovative and creative instead of doing things someone else’s way.  Sounds great….but there are a lot of things to consider.

Where to Start?

The first step is to ask yourself whether your intended business will fit in with your personal goals.  Often your business will require you to work more than 38 or 40 hours per week, which may eat into some of your leisure time.  Will the business fit in with your family?  Will it mean that you have to give up some things that you enjoy doing outside of work?

Are you interested in starting the business from scratch, or are you looking at buying a business?  There are pros and cons for each. 

If you start from scratch it can mean that you don’t have to find a lot of money to set it up.  The downside is that whilst you are establishing your business, which could take months or longer, you will need money to pay the bills both for the business and personal expenses. 

If you purchase a business already established there is an instant income, but the downside is that you will have to find a lot of money to buy the business.

The second and most important step is to do the research on your intended business.  The more information you know beforehand about the business, the less risk there is in it being a success.  Who will be your customers?  What do they want?  What is the future of the industry you are going into?  Who are your competitors?  Who are your suppliers?  Do you need employees?  What will make your business unique?

TIP – Competitive Advantage

What is the one thing in your business that will make it unique?  It could be your products, the processes, or in the people – the service you provide.  Understanding your competitive advantage can help to differentiate your business from your competition, define your target market and sell your products and services.

 

Why Do Small Businesses Fail?

Before you start your new business you need to understand that not all businesses survive.  The survival rate in the first 5 years is low.  There are many reasons they fail and they are varied but some of the main causes are:

  • Insufficient start-up funds
  • Cash flow problems
  • Lack of research and planning
  • Lack of management skills

Business Regulations

Towards success, it’s a good idea to check all levels of government regarding regulations on starting/buying and operating a business.  Some of these regulations may or may not include business registrations, licenses for the industry you will be involved in, taxes, and various regulations on employing people.

Before you register your business name, check to see if your intended name is available by searching the business name register.  At the same time you are registering your business name it would be wise to check the domain name register through any domain registration service to see if the name you have chosen is available for your new website and email address.

Protecting Intellectual Property

Once you have registered your business name consider protecting the name by trademarking it.  This will entitle you to use your name/s exclusively both nationally and also internationally if you choose.

The danger of not protecting your name could mean that anyone else is entitled to use it.  In the worst case scenario, if you do not check beforehand you could be using someone else’ name accidently and leave yourself open to legally being sued. 

Taking out Insurance

Protecting yourself, your property, and your customers is always a good idea.  For yourself, consider Income Protection insurance and if you are providing advice for clients, Professional Indemnity insurance.  Public Liability insurance will provide protection if someone injures themselves at your work premises, or damage is caused to their property.  You should also consider Office/Shop and Contents insurance for damage or theft.

Developing a Business Plan

Other than regulations and doing the research, there are many other things you need to consider.  A good place to start is to develop a business plan.  This will ensure you have not missed anything important.  Once you have done the research you will have gathered much of the information you need to put into your plan.

Your plan will enable you to put all your thoughts, ideas and research findings on paper; and it will give you direction.  Your business plan will also be a useful document to present to any financial institution if you intend to get a loan, or to attract venture capital or a potential business partner.

An important part of having a business plan is keeping it up to date; it’s a living document that will reflect the start-up and growth of your business.

Starting a Business Workbook

Continue with Starting a Business by purchasing the full workbook on this topic. Learn what goes into a business plan, identify your potential customers, create a SWOT for your business, discover your competitive advantage, develop marketing strategies, and lots more.  The workbook is packed with more tips, activities, templates and samples to help you establish your business. To further sharpen your knowledge and skills in starting a business, engage your own private Coach.  Contact us!  In its original state the workbook can be used by facilitators for short workshop presentations.

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