Tips on Starting a Business
New year, new you, and you've decided to start a new business. This could be anything from a floral arrangement to a mechanic, or anything in between. Maybe you're going to be the next Elon Musk. Who knows? But what's important to know is to make sure that you have an appropriate business structure. You don't want to be starting a business if you think it's going to go in a certain direction, and you don't have the trust, proprietary limits, all the other stuff that comes with the business.
Make sure that you've got the appropriate structure for what you're looking to do in business. A lot of the time if it's just going to be you offering a service or a product that you're making from home, so a hobby-type business, being a sole trader with just an ABN can be sufficient. If you're the type of person that has gone and invested into a lot of property, or the service or business that you are starting up has legal backing, you want to protect your assets, and that's where you need to look into things such as distribution trusts, and proprietary limited companies.
Writing a Business Plan
Once you've worked out the business structure, it's the time to move on to writing a business plan. When you're writing a business plan, it's very important that you think about where you are now, where you want to be, when you want to sell the business and all the steps in between. It seems weird to think about selling the business when you haven't even started it yet, but you should always be functioning with the end in mind. Doing that will make sure that the steps that you take beforehand are calculated and you have a beeline straight from where you are now to where you're going to end up.
A Business is Like a Car
Look at the business as a vehicle. Some people start a business because they think, oh, I could do that cheaper than someone else. It's a hard ask to sort of jump from that to actually have a business where it's going to start off as the most financially competitive business and then strive onwards from there. It's sensible just to make sure that whatever the product is that you're selling, you've got the end in mind and the steps that you're taking. If you're looking to have this as a vehicle to success, you want to make sure that this vehicle is going to succeed. If you think to have this success you need only yourself, that's awesome. But if you think you need 10 employees and a solicitor, then you need to make sure that the price point that you have for your idea is going to allow for the whole team of people to be paid.
Have a Budget
It seems like such a basic one, but it gets overlooked so much. Things like having a marketing budget to actually get people to hear about your device need to be taken into account, and this can be anything from 5% to 50%, depending on the value of your product. That's something where it's a great idea to go in and have your idea tested.
If you've got something that you've made that's a physical product that you can put in the hands of someone have people test it. See what they think about the product and how it's going to react with them. Doing this can give you some great insights, especially if it's 100 random people. This doesn't have to be an overly formal process, you can just be walking along at the beach or wherever you think this product might be used and then see what people think about it.
If you have 100 people that have seen your product and you've written down the results, you're able to then target your marketing accordingly.
Don’t Be Too Broad
Never create a product that you think is going to work for everyone. Lets use the example of the fidget spinner. If it was only marketed to people who are selling goods to retirement homes, and people that are retired, they wouldn't have sold anywhere near as many as if they'd have sell it to people who can't keep their hands still and kids. So it's important to test your market and see who that product is actually going to be of interest to.
Planning on what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it is so important when starting a business. From business leaders to athletes, all successful people set goals before and during their journey to make sure that they remain on track to getting what they want. This is especially important when starting a business as there are many different areas that you need to take care of in order for it to run smoothly.
Time to Name The Business
Now, hopefully, you've got yourself a fantastic little product. You've got a bit of information as to how you're going to market that. You've got an idea of how the legal setup's going to look. The next most important step is to work out a name for your business, and names used to always start with A or double A or triple A to be at the start of the yellow pages. It's really, really funny how many businesses still exist around that have that same mentality and the same letters at the start. What you need to make sure you do is name it something that short, sweet, and concise. Our business name, Dorks Delivered, most just refer to it as Dorks. We've got another business as well, Business Efficiency Experts. Now that's a long one, but we market it as BE Experts. So it needs to be catchy and to the point, you don't want to have it really overly long. A great way to work out how to have a good business name is to research what your product is, or of the type of people that will be searching for it on Google. Use something such as the Google keyword planner and see how many people are searching for that.
Keep the Domain Name Short
You don't want to have to have a domain name that's really, really long. You don’t want to have someone come to your website have to type in something that's 30 characters long to get there. They will make mistakes and ultimately that's going to drive customers away. So something short, sweet, and concise is always a great idea.
How to Manage the Business
If you've made it this far, and you've got everything registered, you need to be able to manage this business. There are different software packages out there that do this. Trello is a fantastic piece of software for project management. It gives you a great way to be able to distribute a task amongst several different team members and see the progress of the task as it's going along.
That will allow you to see different things about your product, such as marketing elements or the production of the actual product. You might be making this product in house or you might be outsourcing that over to China, or maybe you're just drop shipping something from China.
If you're doing that, you want to know where you're at with the product, who's responsible and whose hands are in it at the moment, and where's it going next? That way you have good visibility on exactly where you're at and how much time it's going to be until it's live. You can do the same thing for marketing campaigns, all within Trello. So, Trello's a fantastic tool, and one you definitely need to have in your tool belt.
Take a Look at Active Campaign
One of the other great pieces of for when you start marketing is Active Campaign. Active Campaign gives you a lot of insight and information into what your clients are doing when they're opening up emails when they're searching around on your website and it's not that bad on price. That is what they call a CRM or client relationship management system. That'll give you all your customer's details and it could be very helpful. For example, if you're a PT and you're selling services, you could have things in there such as your clients' weight details, their current measurements, and you can then see the progress of how that's gone over time. It could be anything that you're selling. Going back to the fidget spinner thing, you might be able to see that more and more people around Christmas time are looking at your website, and then you go, okay, it's time, because I've got existing customers that are looking at my website, to send out an email newsletter telling them that there's 15 or 20% off.
Wearing All the Hats
Most of the time when you start a business, you are wearing all of the hats. You're the bookkeeper, the accountant, the technician, the salesperson, the marketer, and the tech guru. So you need to be able to manage your time accordingly and set different pockets of windows where you have time to do each of those tasks. Because if any of those tasks are missing, the whole ship will sink, so you want to make sure that everything is being adhered to and is being looked at. It can become easy to focus on the one element that's bringing in money. If you're not bookkeeping for the one element that's bringing in money (the technical part of the job) you won't be able to see you're margins and how much you're actually making from that product, as well as any trends in data. When I use the word product here, I am talking about services as well, it's whatever the thing is that you're doing in the business. If you don't market your product, no one knows about it and therefore you're never doing it, so you're not bringing in any money. So it's always important to make sure all the cogs in the system are turning together.
You'll get to a spot where you have the time to document everything, and then you can start offsetting some of these roles to other people when the business is bringing in more money. That's when it comes into creating great documentation systems so that you can grow the business at an exponential rate. I hope this has been helpful!