The Essential Start-Up Business Checklist - Part Two
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Missed Part One? Essential Small Business Startup Checklist: Getting Started
Okay. So, you’ve got your business plan, finance and company structure finalised. You’re now into the real hard work stage of running a start-up business.
- First up, create a launch checklist for your start-up business – create a step-by-step itinerary of what needs to happen before the launch. Beside each item list the details, budget and dates for the task. Stick to your list!
- Crucially then, you need to get your start-up business banking in order – you may need a transaction account, a tax account, a credit card, a line of credit, internet banking, an EFTPOS terminal, or even foreign currency. Make sure you have a good banker who understands start-up businesses and who can explain that stuff to you in a way you understand.
What’s a tax account?
A tax account is an account that is linked to your main business account but is used to hold your tax contributions until it is time to pay them. Sometimes, interest is earned on the funds in them while you wait to pay the ATO. Keeping your tax contributions separate from your transaction account ensures the funds are set aside ready for tax time.
Credit card vs. Line of Credit
Both these financial products provide a business with access to funds in the form of a loan. A business credit card is often used for smaller or regular business expenses. They can be supplied to one or many people within a business. They have set limits, fees and charges and regular repayments are required.
A line of credit is an amount of established credit that your business can use, when needed, without having to apply for a loan. That is, once you apply for a line of credit, the available funds are there to be used by the business whenever they’re required. If they are not used, the funds remain available for a time in the future. If they are used, repayments are made but the credit can be used again, when needed.
A line of credit is often used for larger amounts that may be required for significant purchases or expansion plans. A line of credit is often for a set limit, say $50,000. If the company needs the funds, it can use the line of credit up to that amount. Repayments are made regularly.
- Next up on our checklist is 'getting the right insurance' – make sure your start-up business has the right insurance structures in place, for both the business and its key people. You may need business insurance, business interruption insurance, public liability, professional indemnity, or key person insurance. Get some advice from your banker, an insurance broker or your accountant to make sure you’re properly covered.
- Next, you'll need to determine your superannuation considerations. Check with your lawyer or accountant about the amount of super you will be required to pay under the Superannuation Guarantee. If you so choose, you can negotiate with banks and superannuation providers to offer a group package to all staff of your business. This can make payment of superannuation easier. But, all employees who are eligible for superannuation can request that their funds be paid into an account of their choice.
- You'll also need to establish and document the operations and processes of your business – how do you find clients, how do you deal with customer complaints, how do you deal with requests for refunds, how does your company negotiate, set contracts? Once it’s documented, it can be assessed, changed and streamlined as needed.
- Know where to get support, too - every business owner needs support from time to time, so find where other ‘business owners like you’ meet. There are several ways of finding relevant groups:
- Contact your council or search its website for business support groups
- Find a relevant business advisor
- Contact relevant business industry associations or their local chapter
- Ask other business owners where they go to meet and seek advice
- Search on LinkedIn for groups that may focus on your particular industry or business niche.
- Find events relevant to your start-up business - You’ll get the opportunity to network, find support and, potential clients. To find relevant events, try searching Google for events, road shows and conferences or meet ups that are relevant to your industry, location or business speciality.
- Do regular checks – no matter how busy or successful your start-up business is, there will be room for improvement. Make sure you reassess your business plan, costs, expenses and cash flow regularly. Tweak as required.
- Plan your exit – sure, things might be going brilliantly well and you can’t imagine doing anything else, ever. That’s the perfect time to plan your exit from the business – will you sell it, leave it as part of an inheritance or, close it? And, when would this be likely to happen?
- Celebrate successes – creating a start-up business is a stressful, enjoyable and time-consuming endeavour. Make sure you take the time to celebrate the successes and remember why you started a small business in the first place.