Starting a business can be really hard and writing a checklist for all types of businesses is almost impossible, but we have given it our best shot.
Ok, so you have an idea on what you want to start, and you roughly know what you need to make your dream a reality, so what's next? Set a date! Something amazing happens when you set a hard date to launch your new idea, somehow, someway everything starts coming together. We have launched plenty of businesses and this is a hard rule we live by. It's the reason we ask new businesses for the date they want to launch, and it gives our team the goal of what to work backwards from.
Don't start a thing until you have a list of the high level projects or tasks that you need to do to roll out your business. We use a combination of a Hubspot CRM (customer relationship management software) and Asana project management (think powerful digital to-do list), but you can use a spreadsheet, Google document or the trusty old piece of paper!
To kick your list off you will need (at least):
a) Business Name Registered with the Australian Government
b) Logo design
c) Social media pages created
d) Website created
e) Pricing and offer (who is your customer and what will they pay you)
f) You should also really consider setting up accounting software from the start to make sure you don't get caught out at the end of the financial year
g) Also consider whether you need an online booking platform, or maybe you need a quoting calculator when you are at a customers' house?
h) Once your business is registered you will need to set up a bank account and then consider if you need to take payments (we recommend using Stripe or Square to securely handle payments depending on your needs).
The biggest mistake we see is when people get overwhelmed by the many facets of starting a business that they don't understand. This leads to something we call analysis paralysis, which essentially means you get so caught up with the things you "need" that project deadlines get delayed and nothing gets done.
Remember, nothing is perfect, and if your business is working you will never be on-top of everything, it's just a fact. Learn to get the minimum you need to launch and then do it. You will know you are on the right track if you are a little uncomfortable because you have not crossed every 't' or dotted every 'i'.
Whatever you do, don't hire another one of yourself (just yet). Find contractors that can do the things you can't do, but make sure you know they are awesome at it! Unfortunately, there are a lot of service providers out there who claim to be amazing at lots of things when they are not. You should be especially weary of business advisors, accountants and marketers, as this space is filled with so-called 'experts'.
In our experience a general rule of thumb when trying to find a consultant or agency to help you is to ask them about the times they have failed. Failure is fine, and it's the fastest way to learn. Great people will tell you what they did wrong and what they would change next time. Look for those who have been there and done that.
When it comes to the below this is what we look for:
a) Marketers - We look for someone who has made money for themselves, either through their own course, SEO, affiliate marketing or launched their own business. We steer away from anyone (despite their amazing degree) that has only worked for another company or marketing agency.
b) Business Advisors - Unless your industry has specific nuances (like regulatory requirements) we always suggest staying far away from business advisors until your business is generating significant cashflow and you're ready to go to the next stage. Our reasoning is simple, you need to just get on with the grind and get it done. If you need support, find a team of experts, not just one person, join a business group, ask questions and research everything!
c)Accountants - Let's face it, you need an accountant or will do soon. A great accounting team can be an amazing asset you can lean on through most stages of business growth, while a bad accountant can really hurt you. To begin with you just need something simple, and a good accountant will help you (without trying to charge you to create complex structures). It has taken BSS years to find accountants we trust, so when you find a good one, hold them tight.
Someone smart once jokingly said "Sales cures all". Now, whilst this is probably not scientifically correct, it is a pretty good point! The more sales you generate the easier your business becomes. Initially, selling every day and not knowing how you can facilitate good service will be daunting, but eventually you will feel comfort in being uncomfortable. The best way to think about this is, the more you sell the more you can hire, the more smart people you hire the more efficiency you can gain, and the more efficiency you can gain, the more you can sell per employee.
Even today word of mouth is still on of the best sales channels, which means you need to make sure your customers love you. This does not mean you need to do everything for free forever; it means that if you don't deliver on your promise you need to fix it; it means you should check in with your customers and see how they are going every now and then; and it means you should probably send your customers a nice email, card or fridge magnet once per year (be creative).
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