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Top tips for starting a business in 2011

So New Year hit and you set yourself some New Year’s resolutions.  One being to ditch your day job and chase the dream of working on what you love and running your own business.  But where do you start?

If you’ve been inspired and decided to embark on the exciting journey of running your own business, the following points will help you get started.

Do your research

Before you commit to anything, do your research. Is there a need for your product/service? Who are your potential customers and competitors?  What’s your point-of-difference? What costs and funding avenues exist? What’s your long term business goal?

Develop your business plan

This research will assist you develop your business plan. Outline what you’re aiming to achieve over the next 12-24 months, how you will achieve this, how you’ll track goals and how you’ll meet and beat any challenges that may arise. Don’t forget about your marketing plan, team structure (if it’s needed) and an exit strategy.  It’s all about setting yourself up for success and helping you make the right business decisions.

Don’t just register your business name

While you need to register your business name, don’t forget to also grab your web domain names and user names for social media channels.  While you might not be ready to use them just yet, at least when the time comes you have already registered them and don’t get disappointed.  For example, you’d hate it if you were ready to develop your online presence and you found out all variations of your business name were already taken as domain names, Twitter handles or Facebook pages.

Understand the legislation

Decisions being made by Governments at all levels will impact your new business at some point. Make sure you check out www.business.gov.au

Seek advice

Don’t isolate yourself. Ask for help early – it’ll be the difference between make or break in the first few months. Build a relationship with a trusted expert, for example an accountant can help you plan, set up key systems and structures, and work though legislation and financing.

Get the right business systems

Along with finding a good accountant, having good accounting software overcomes some common pain points such as successfully completing your BAS, managing cashflow and dealing with compliance.  It’ll reduce the stress and make business life much easier.

Make the most of the web

Our research has found that the majority of SMEs struggle with marketing and attracting new customers. It’s no longer enough for businesses to place an ad in a business directory and cross their fingers. Having a web presence is critical if you want your business to be found. If needed seek advice.

Work the network

Word of mouth is a powerful way of attracting business and referrals. Social media has made this even easier with sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re ideal to create and engage with your network of friends, business contacts and acquaintances.

Love your work

For many business owners starting their own business was about having passion, which ultimately drives the business forward. Love your work and give yourself a better chance of achieving your dream.

So good luck on your journey!

If this is a journey you have taken before, what pearls of wisdom do you have to share with Australia’s budding business owners?

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Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is responsible for MYOB’s corporate affairs, government and public relations in Australia and New Zealand and is also New Zealand general manager. The qualified lawyer has spent much of his career at large multinationals in a range of senior legal, sales, marketing and customer management roles. Julian is a regular keynote speaker and business commentator and sits on a number of government and industry boards and advisory panels. Julian can be found on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/JulianTSmith">@JulianTSmith</a> or contacted via email Julian.smith@myob.com

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