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Given all you need to start a business these days is a computer and an internet connection, why has the number of businesses registering for GST almost-halved compared to one year ago? It highlights two potential situations – are there fewer new businesses surpassing the $75k revenue mark (which is when you need to apply for GST) or is the SME sector in big trouble?

Either way it draws into question just how much encouragement today’s potential entrepreneur needs to move a business idea into reality.

Now, a business owner can create their own affordable website quickly and without hassle. They can set up a simple email system at no cost. They are much more likely to have flexible working environments, where they and their staff work from multiple locations outside an office. They are able to benefit from the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and ‘Bring Your Own App’ mindset of their technically savvy team members. And so on.

They certainly don’t require expensive IT infrastructure to exist. The proliferation of affordable, flexible, scalable cloud computing solutions has enabled many business operators to work on their own terms more than ever before. With such solutions ranging from simple online document creation to online document storage and sharing, to online accounting and other business management solutions, the modern business owner is enjoying a much more agile environment.

Further, with a number of these solutions moving into next-generation cloud – where they’re accessible offline as well as online – there is even more reason to give your own business a go.

Here is a quick MYOB checklist for those considering starting up their own venture:

1. Begin with good advice – get help from an accountant, business mentor and/or bank advisor.

Professional guides such as these not only help navigate the relevant regulations, but can provide benchmarks against other similar businesses – what they’re experiencing, how they’re set up and challenges they’re up against. Glean knowledge from others’ mistakes as well as their achievements.

2. Do your research – test the water first by checking out the market, costs and competition.

Spend time gaining market intelligence from the internet, newspapers, magazines, radio shows and other avenues before leaping into your business development process. Research the area you are considering (both sector and location), the terms you can get for things like equipment leases, the possibilities of your potential market and the businesses you’ll be up against.

3. Write a plan – make a thorough, honest assessment of your goals and the road to achievement.

Determination and desire to succeed will get you far but they will get you much further when applied to a solid business plan. Use your peers, partners and mentors to build a plan that will not only see you through the first few years but can be easily reassessed and reworked.

4. Get your books sorted – ensure your accounting system will support your growth.

If you set up an accounting system early on rather than relying on a shoebox and spreadsheet you will be on steady footing to grow your business quickly, managing your accounts via a relatively simple process. There are many affordable options out there, both desktop and/or cloud, and there are many professional advisers who can assist if needed.

5. Get online – investigate all relevant cloud-based business management solutions.

MYOB research shows the two big barriers for those steering clear of using the cloud for business are lack of knowledge and lack of comfort with the security aspects. If you use internet banking you already trust your financial information to the cloud and understand the convenience of ‘anywhere access’. Think about the benefits that provides then consider how a vast range of cloud solutions supplied by credible, trustworthy providers can make your business as productive as possible.

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Kristy Sheppard

Kristy Sheppard

Kristy Sheppard is MYOB's manager for public relations. She has more than a decade of experience in the public relations space, spanning B2C and B2B corporate and consulting roles within the technology, financial services, franchising and FMCG industries. At MYOB she delivers programs communicating its vision, business advocacy stance and milestones as it advances products towards and within the online landscape.

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