So, you’ve got a business idea and want to turn that into your own business. But maybe you’re holding off because we’ve only just come out of 2020 and the challenges of COVID-19 are still on the horizon.
Our first piece of advice is: don’t let the fear of current circumstances stop you from launching your business in 2021. Why? Some pretty big businesses were formed out of hard times in history. For example:
- Microsoft was founded during the 1973-1975 recession
- The first Hyatt hotel was opened during the 1957-1958 recession
2020 definitely brought it’s challenges – business were forced to close, some forced to pivot completely at the risk of becoming completely redundant. However, on the flip side, we’ve been given a lot more time to reflect and hone in on what we do best.
Starting your business could be the best decision you will make this year. However, there are a few things you need to know and prepare for before going full speed ahead.
- Have a well thought out, documented business plan
Your business plan is the first key to your success in launching a business. It outlines you business idea, your goals, methods for achieving those goals and who your business is targeting.
A business plan does not have to be a professionally designed and printed document from the very beginning, it can be a work in progress and be updated as your business grows. We recommend you review your business plan on a regular basis (quarterly or bi-quarterly) to ensure you are keeping on the right track and to pivot if you need to.
A good start is to create a one-page plan that includes:
- What problem your business solves
- A one sentence elevator pitch
- A list of target audiences or personas
- SWOT Analysis
- Marketing Plan
- Financial Plan
- Financial projections
If you don’t know where to start, you can download free business templates and guides from business.gov.au.
- Get support from those around you
Gather as much support as you can from your loved ones, your peers, friends, or co-workers. Make sure to communicate and be transparent with them. Let those involved or supporting you know your vision and purpose.
Your support team will become your tribe as you grow your idea, remember to keep those around you in the loop with how you are feeling and what you are doing as it will be easy to feel disconnected once you dive all in to following your dreams.
- Record keeping is important and essential
Make sure you keep all your documents and legal files safe and have a copy of each file saved in a folder online like in Dropbox or your email inbox to be able to access files at any given time.
Starting a business requires a lot of paperwork from record keeping to compliance with insurance. Make a checklist of all the paperwork you will need to get started from legal documents, to your accounting obligations.
Open a separate business bank account and keep all business records and transactions separate from your personal ones. Make sure everything is properly processed and up to date.
If you are starting a business, there are various government websites available when registering your ABN (Australian Business Number) to help get you started. Each state has different rules and regulations so be sure to keep this in mind when registering for your business.
- Get your finances and bookkeeping in order
You need to have the right systems in place to keep track of your finances and forecast for your business in the future. This includes getting set up on a system like Xero or MYOB to record everything in the cloud and streamline your tracking and reporting.
Consider hiring a bookkeeper or at least doing a crash course in the basics of bookkeeping so that you can be in control of your money.
- Establish your branding
Your brand is incredibly important. It is how people will visually recognise your business. A strong brand identity will help you stand out in 2021 and make your business memorable.
How do you establish your branding? Start out by developing a creative brief by outlining your business mission, vision and values. You need to understand the HEART behind your business first to build your brand.
Next develop your customer personas in more detail – if you have made your business plan you can use your target audiences to expand upon this.
Decide on your brand colours, typography, tone of voice, and develop a unique logo. We could go more into depth on this, but that would take up a whole post on it’s own!
- Advertise your business
Finally, you’ll want to jump online and start advertising. More people are online than ever before thanks to COVID-19, so utilise this new normal! Invest in building a website, or if your budget is tight, start off my developing a strong digital presence on social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest.
Decide on the most powerful and effective platforms to advertise your business and start there. We always recommend setting up a Google My Business account for your business too, to gain visibility on Google in the search engine.
Don’t be afraid to start your business this year. Take one step, whether that is writing your business plan or getting advice from someone on how to start.
If you need advice or help on starting your business, we can help. Book in for a 15-minute discovery call to see how The Small Business Lounge can help you launch your business!