How to Start a Small Business in Australia: Your 6-Step Guide
The day you open your small business will likely be one of the most memorable and fulfilling days of your career. But as you plan your grand opening, it is important to remember that not all small businesses are destined to succeed. Starting a successful small business in Australia requires strategic planning, hard work, and dedication. If you embody these qualities, your odds of long-term prosperity will rise. Below are six steps to starting a new business in Australia.
Step One: Do Your Research
The path to a prosperous business begins with extensive research. Whilst you are likely eager to open your doors (physically or virtually) as soon as possible, you should never forget to do your homework and carefully research your target industry. Here are some short questions to consider before you begin developing your official business plan:
- Is there a need for the products or services that I will be offering?
- Who will I target with my products or services?
- What location would be best for my offices/store/base?
- How can I gain an edge over my competitors?
Finally, do not forget to consider extenuating circumstances. For instance, it may not be the best time to open a fine dining restaurant in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. However, you could realise your dreams to open a food-related business by starting with a restaurant that specialises in take-out and delivery. You can then expand your business to include eat-in dining tables.
Step Two: Prepare Your Business Plan
A strong business plan will help you in three key ways: First, it will help you identify your needs with respect to funding and staffing. Second, a well-written business plan can help you secure a loan. And third, a business plan will provide an organised framework to help you achieve your first-year goals. Your business plan should be clear and concise, and should include the following points:
- An executive summary, or a short synopsis of your business goals
- A description of your business that outlines the goods or services that your business will deliver
- A market analysis that explores the need for the products that you will offer
- An organisational summary that lists the key players or employees you plan to have within your business
- A marketing strategy that details the advertising initiatives and promotional techniques you plan to employ
Step Three: Register Your Business
“Registering for an ABN is free and you can register for a business name and taxes at the same time.” – Australian Government Business Registration Service
Once you have decided what type of business you would like to open, the next step is to register your business with the Australian Government. The Australian Government’s business registration service is easy to use and you can complete the process in a matter of minutes. The site even offers a helpful tool that will help guide you through the business structure and tax registrations that would best suit your new business.
Step Four: Secure Operating Capital
“When searching for funding, keep in mind that you’ll generally need to meet certain criteria to be eligible, and that aside from funding assistance, many programs can help your business by building your skills and knowledge.” – Australian Government Grants and Programs
Most small business owners need funding to get their businesses off the ground. Depending on the nature of your business, you will need money to pay for your office space, equipment, furnishings, marketing expenses, and daily operating costs. And because most small businesses take at least several months to begin turning a profit, you may need to turn to one of the following sources of funding to help cover costs:
- Grants and funding programs: The Australian government offers a variety of grants and funding programs to qualified business owners.
- Traditional bank loans: Seeking a loan from one of the many banks in Australia is a popular option for many small business owners.
- Private investors: There are many angel investors in Australia who are interested in lending financial support to new businesses.
- Your personal savings: If you have plenty of money saved, you can dip into your own cash savings to get your business off the ground.
Step Five: Develop a Marketing Plan
Now that you have secured funding for your business, you will need to determine how you will market your products or services. Unless you have a strong background in marketing, you may wish to hire a marketing specialist to help you develop your marketing plan. Here are a few points that your marketing plan should include:
- Website development and management
- Your social media strategy
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) planning (Get your website ranked high on Google)
- Advertising channels
Step Six: Consider Having a Soft Opening
“The biggest mistake that new entrepreneurs make is they start off with a big grand opening celebration right away. Then they find out that the computer system still has some bugs, they did not hire enough staff and the phone system is not working properly. That is why every business should have a soft opening at least 30 days prior to the grand opening.” – Diane Seltzer, Small Business Marketing Tools
In your eagerness to start serving customers, you might be tempted to schedule your official opening before you have worked out some common kinks. You can help avoid some of the typical problems that plague business owners during their first operational week by scheduling a “soft opening” roughly 30 days before you officially open your business to the public.
A soft opening will allow you to assess the effectiveness of your website, phone system, production line, and other key facets of your business. Most importantly, it will help ensure that things flow smoothly during your first official week of operation.
The Bottom Line
Launching your first small business is one of the most exciting things you may do in your life. And by following the steps above, you can put your small business on the path to success from the moment you officially open your doors.
To learn more ways to propel your business to success in Australia, we invite you to contact us at Nationwide Super. In addition to guiding you through the phases of starting your business, we will help you maximise your company’s financial future through our personalised super savings advice and tools. We look forward to helping your small business grow and thrive!
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