New business checklist

Starting your own business can be one of life’s most exciting and rewarding adventures. Of course, it can also be quite daunting it can be so easy to feel a little overwhelmed.

So, here at Working Women Australia, we have decided to talk about the early stages of starting up your own business.  We’ve made a checklist of the first things you’ll need to do to get set up. Obviously, running a business is an ever evolving enterprise and your needs and requirements will change and grow as the marketplace (and your success!) does.

You’ve got your brilliant idea for a business, and you’re bursting to start. But now what? Let’s start with a basic checklist – the things you’ll need to start the ball rolling.

 

 

1. Create a Business Plan. 

Contrary to what you might think, this doesn’t have to be a complicated job. You don’t need to start out with a comprehensive document filled with research statistics and spreadsheets.

It can be as simple as a 5 year plan; outlining your goals, your strategies and importantly – you main competitors, as well as how you plan to stand out from them.  What will make your business different? I’ve had great business ideas in the past that have stumbled at this point in the process when I’ve realized that the idea has already been tried in the market and failed, or that there is already an abundance of companies doing it well.  Competition is a good thing, but if you have nothing that makes you stand out from the crowd, something that makes your business special, how are you going to be any different (or more successful) than the rest?

2. Business name selection

Do a search for your suggested business name and url. It would be so disappointing to do all of your background work only to find your domain name isn’t available. And just like naming your children – stop and think of any acronyms and whether they might have any negative connotations or alternative meanings that could reflect poorly on your business.

3. Register an ABN

Before you can register a “.com.au” domain, you will need to have an ABN. The simplest way to do this is to go to www.abr.gov.au and register your ABN.  BEWARE: you can google “register an ABN” and there will be plenty of companies more than happy to take your money to do the registration on your behalf.  However, registering an ABN doesn’t cost anything, so you will be paying for a service that you can do yourself easily, quickly and FREE! A client of mine recently fell into this trap and not only did she have to pay $99 but it also took 28 days for them to process it for her!

4. Register your Business Name. 

To do this, simply go to www.business.gov.au. This part of the process will cost you money – about $83.00

5. Registering your Domain.

There are countless companies who register domain names or urls. The best advice I can give you is to ask around. Ask your friends in business which company they use. You can either pay very little for your domain name, or something more like $59.oo bi-annually. It’s often wise to choose a company that offers web-hosting as well. This way you can skip the step of having to change your domain from one company to another.

6. More about Web Hosting

While we are on the subject of hosting, if you are planning on having a website (and let’s face it, most businesses these days do), don’t go for the cheapest option. Why? In business, as in so many things, the old adage “You get what you pay for” certainly can hold true.

If you choose a hosting package at bargain basement prices, then it may well come with bargain-basement service. Often it involves having greater downtime on your site, customers who will NOT stick around waiting for your page to load (would you?) and more difficulty with the host’s customer service.

I encourage my clients to choose Australian hosted servers; simply because if there is a problem, it helps to have customer service in the same time zone as you. Waiting for an American server to get your frantic emails (while they are nicely tucked up in bed) will be bad for your blood pressure and your business!

7. Emails and branding

Set up your emails with an @yourbusinessname.com.au address. This not only tells potential customers that you have a website, but it also looks far more professional than a generic address. You can set these email accounts up to stream through Outlook or Google, if you prefer.

So there you are. Just 7 tasks to get you started if you are thinking about starting up your own business.  We’d love to hear from those of you who have already been through all of this and can offer advice to women just starting out. Sharing our experiences and offering a hand up is just what Working Women Australia is all about.

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