Startups and small businesses play a vital role in Australia’s economy. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SMBs make up 96 per cent of all Australian businesses.
As a former small business owner and now an executive who works closely with startups and small businesses, it’s been encouraging to see the Government support Australia’s entrepreneur eco- system. The National Innovation and Science Agenda released by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a significant step forward to remove the stigma of failure and encourage entrepreneurs to learn from mistakes and try again.
Research shows one in four startups close their doors in the first year of business, and only half make it through the third year. One of the contributing factors is the lack of financial knowledge entrepreneurs have when starting out. Intuit’s own research found only 12 per cent of startups have a thorough understanding of their business’ finance.
In light of these sobering statistics, here are three simple steps entrepreneurs can take to set themselves up for success.
1. Investigate Government grants and assistance
Many of the announcements supporting the National Innovation and Science Agenda focus on empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners to take advantage of Government and global opportunities.
When starting out, it’s important to investigate all available Government and community-based options to help your business. A range of support is available, at all levels, from business mentorship and professional growth training to product or service development.
To get started, check out the Australian Government’s business resource website or talk to your local Business Enterprise Centre.
2. Learn how to manage business finance
Our customers tell us that key challenges when starting out include juggling multiple tasks and, also, undertaking tasks without much experience. Finance can often fall into this basket.
Enrolling in a basic, short accounting or finance course is a valuable way for entrepreneurs to build the right financial foundation.
Mentors are another useful resource to support business growth, as they provide insights into how to better manage finances and on-the-job learning, coaching and practical tools and techniques. Interestingly, in recent Intuit research, only one in five entrepreneurs recognised a mentor would be helpful when building their business, which suggests there’s an opportunity they may be missing out on.
3. Hire an accountant or bookkeeper
Once your business starts experiencing growth and you can hire people, it’s worth looking for accountancy or bookkeeping support, whether that’s in-house or outsourced.
Accountants and bookkeepers play an important role in the success of small businesses as they can help business owners interpret data in cloud accounting software to identify growth opportunities, that may otherwise go missed. They also help by ensuring you meet necessary regulatory and compliance requirements.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur with an idea or an established startup, you wouldn’t be in it if you weren’t passionate about your business. The early days are beyond hectic, but don’t fall into the trap of having tunnel vision. Pull back and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success from the very beginning.
About the author:
This article was written by Brad Paterson, Vice President & Managing Director of Intuit Asia Pacific