The Essential Start-Up Business Checklist - Part One
Friday, February 14, 2014
So, you’re making the leap into running a start-up business. While you probably already have a cracking idea, it takes a bit more than that to get things off the ground and running smoothly. Some of these recommendations may seem a little obvious, but you’ll be surprised how satisfying it is to check off things from a list as everything rolls toward starting your small business.
- First, create a small business plan – what you are going to do, who is the target market, how is it going to operate, and how is it going to make money? If you need help, Business.gov.au has a range of free resources including some great templates and apps.
- Then, create a marketing plan – having a strategy for how to attract, engage and retain customers is essential for the long term success of your business. Again, business.gov.au has some simple tools to help.
- Next you'll need to understand the finance options available to your business – will it be self-funded, access grants, require a business loan, or seek investment from other parties? (Most businesses begin as self funded, using cash, credit cards, or business loans.)
Each state has different grants and business voucher systems that can help new businesses develop technology, grow and create jobs, and even innovate. In some instances, local government and even federal government grants are available. There are experts, often within accounting firms, who can advise of which grants may apply to your business.
Some companies instead seek external funding from angel investors, venture capitalists and private equity groups. This is more often for companies that have a developed product or service and who are on a path for rapid growth and thus can indicate return for potential investors. Speak to your lawyer or accountant first if you are considering this funding option.
On these platforms, an idea or product is showcased by its creators. The platform takes pledges to fund the development of the idea into a commercial product. If the funding target is reached, the funds are distributed to the creators. In exchange for funding the idea, those who have pledged money receive the product. Essentially, it is like ‘buying in advance’ to help fund an innovative or creative idea.
- Up next, you'll need to find an accountant and a lawyer who has expertise in your industry and type of business – they will help you with tax planning, financial planning, workplace health and safety obligations, recruitment obligations, exporting obligations and the legal set up of the business entity.
- Identify next what you need to physically start your start-up business – this may include licences, an office or store, fit-out, stock, staff, insurance, technology, websites, accounting, industry association memberships and other overheads. Determine how much these items will cost by asking other business people you know, colleagues and getting estimates from potential suppliers of products and services.
- Create a budget based on the funding you have and the expenses that will be incurred to set up and launch. If there is a shortfall, determine how you are going to bridge this gap. Or, stage the rollout, so that you can spread the costs, spending on the essentials first.
Once these ducks are all lined up, you can determine if your business is viable and if you’re really ready to get your hands dirty. More on that in the next installment.