Reach for the stars with your feet on the ground
Why do some businesses thrive while others wither and die?
There’s no simple answer. But from personal observation, one of the main reasons is that the owners aren’t always clear about the reasons for starting their business in the first place.
Many jump in head-first because they want to leave something behind (like a tough job or industry, or restrictive working hours). But all too often they’re not really thinking through the ‘where, why and how’ of their new enterprise.
It’s common to hear a newly self-employed person expressing surprise at the workload involved in running and promoting a business. It would be fair to say that in most start-ups, a great deal more work is done building the business than earning money – at least initially.
Even in an established business, you can spend as much time behind the scenes on admin and promotional work as you can doing the job.
Many business owners are simply unprepared for the time and effort involved in working ‘on the business’, as opposed to ‘in the business’.
Be honest with yourself
Firstly – be honest about why you’re starting the business. It may be to have more freedom or work your own hours. Whatever the reason, do your research to make sure the assumptions you’re making are correct.
For example, if you’re doing it to escape the ‘9 to 5’ routine, then don’t even think about a retail business. Consider your personal goals and whether they align with your business ideas.
The second most common error we see is a failure to tackle the core planning issues – the ‘what’ – early enough.
People often get caught up in vision and mission statements that reach for the stars, but ignore the nitty gritty (like capital investment, budgets, a place to do business, etc.)
There are a million great ideas out there, but the ones that come to fruition are those founded on solid research, hard work and persistence. Once again, be realistic about what it takes to establish your business and decide if you have the skills, patience and stamina to do it.
Really look into the business before you start spending too much time and money. If you have a ‘great idea’, have you shared it with people you trust? Would they truly buy your service or product? And if so, at what price? Can you supply it at that price? What volumes will you need to move, and how quickly? Have you looked at the size of the business and profit margins of similar businesses? Will this level of income allow you to meet your financial obligations? Have you looked at whether it is a growing industry or a shrinking one?
Beyond questioning the ‘why’ and the ‘what’, the steps to establishing any business are remarkably similar across most industries.
We’ve been fortunate to work with a number of start-ups, and picked up some great tips along the way. So, in a fit of generosity, we’d like to share them with you. Please feel free to pass them on to friends, family and colleagues.
Some simple steps to starting a new business
1. Define your business in a short sentence. If you can’t explain what you do in a few words, how can you communicate it effectively to the world?
2. Hop online and find out if anyone else is already doing it. If they are, only go ahead if you have a point of difference, or can develop one.
3. Develop a business name.
4. Do all searches to make sure your business name is original. Google it, check business registers – it’s even worth checking to see if anyone has trademarked something similar.
5. Register your business name with the relevant government department (eg. The NSW Office of Fair Trading.)
6. Secure your domain name and any important variations of it. There are many companies that can sell you a domain name and their reputation will depend on their current practices. One of the most popular and cheapest at the moment is Go Daddy.
7. Write a business plan. There are many online formats you can follow. Just remember to make any mission or vision statement realistic and relevant.
Reach for the stars, but keep your feet on the ground
The Australian Government Business site has many useful resources, templates and apps that can help you, including an excellent business-planning template.
And don’t forget….Gosh! can help with new business planning (particularly strategic positioning and marketing).
In fact, we’ve developed a new business planning and marketing tool to help guide your business to success. If you’d like some further guidance, or a copy of the NEW BUSINESS PLANNING TOOL, just call or email Nerida.
Gosh! can also help with business names, bespoke logos, photography, graphic design, websites and all forms of content copywriting.
Image: © Charlieaja | Dreamstime.com
What we’ve been up to…..
- Gosh! has been working with Australia’s leading turf growers on the launch of a new industry group, Lawn Solutions Australia.
- We’ve developed a strategic advertising campaign for the Ray White Illawarra group.
- We’ve produced a marketing plan, co-ordinated a website and implemented a PR campaign for Khe Design Safaris.
- We’ve been working on a brand identity strategy for a new equities company.
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