Kate Carnell’s 9 point guide to starting a new business


It’s no secret that a lot of hard work and dedication goes into starting something new, and small business is no exception. While many Australians dream of starting a small business, not all go on to make it a reality. If you’re considering starting a small business, it’s essential that you’re armed with the right information.

Whether it is self-doubt, or a lack of knowledge about the necessary steps to take in creating a small business, it’s never been easier to get the right information and advice to get your business off the ground. For all those go-getters out there, here are my top nine tips to help you get started.

Watch (above) to hear the latest from Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO)

  1. Focus in on what makes your business different and compelling for consumers
    Despite there being a wide variety of options within small businesses in Australia, it’s critical that you consider whether there is a demand for your product or service in the area you are looking to start operating in. At the early stages of thinking about starting your small business, it’s a good idea to lock in a consultation with an Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) advisor to discuss your options and the potential feasibility of your project. ASBAS provides essential low cost advice to thousands of Australian small business owners every year.
  1. Make sure you have your business plan locked in
    Before you dive in at the deep end of small business, it’s essential to complete a detailed business plan. Your local ASBAS advisor can provide help with this, or if you are eligible, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme provides great support in bringing your business plan to life. Once you have created a business plan that you are confident about, you can move to the next stage of the planning process.
  1. Time for the paperwork
    Congratulations, you have done your research, spoken to a trusted advisor and are ready to start a small business. Now comes the admin!Firstly, you’ll need to work out what your business structure is going to be. After you have done that, apply for your unique Australian Business Number (ABN) which you will need to identify your business to the Australian Government and other businesses. Now you are ready to register your business name which will be connected to your ABN.Have you investigated what taxes you need to register for? Have you purchased the necessary licences and registrations you may need for your specific business? Finally it is time to think about the best place to buy or rent a premises for your business and insurance options.In each of these cases, it is a good idea to check in with your ASBAS advisor, to make sure you have everything in place before you take the next step with your small business.
  1. Understand the requirements for hiring employees
    It obviously depends on the size of your small business, but if you are thinking about taking on employees make sure you understand the government requirements that may apply to you as an employer. Your ASBAS advisor can help guide you through the laws that can apply when you’re hiring people, and you may also like to use the Taking on an employee checklist to help you through the process you need to be fully up to speed on your prospective employees’ rights and entitlements within your business.
  1. Find out what support you are entitled to
    Starting a small business can be daunting, but luckily there are a range of help and support measures available from the Australian Government. There’s a handy filter tool at business.gov.au/smallbusiness which brings all of the various measures together in one place, saving you time and making it easier for you to find what you may be entitled to. It’s as easy as answering five simple questions about your business to receive a tailored list of the measures and support relevant to you. The Australian Government understands that there are challenges involved in running a small business and has a variety of support available to help make your organisation a success.
  1. Find an experienced mentor
    The first year in small business varies dramatically for owners in Australia. For some, it is a gradual process of trial and error, before finding the perfect formula for success with their business. For others, they are lucky enough to find that their product is an instant success. However, regardless of how successful your business may be, it is essential to listen and learn in the early stages. Use your networks to find a senior mentor, such as an accountant or book keeper, someone who over the years has been in through the ups and downs of starting and running a business, ideally in the same industry as you. You can work with your industry association to find someone who can use their hard won wisdom to help guide the way.
  1. Set flexible Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
    Once you have created a resolute business plan, don’t push it aside. It shouldn’t be a static document, in fact, it should evolve constantly. Your KPIs should change as your business evolves, and reflect your hopes and ambitions. Utilise your ASBAS advisor and your extended business network to reflect on your KPIs, and work out where you want your business to be.
  1. Looking beyond Australia
    It may seem early to start looking beyond Australia’s shores, but exporting your product or service may help you to maximise your business’ potential. There is Government support available to help eligible small businesses take their business outside Australia. For instance, Landing Pads provide market-ready Australian start ups and scale ups with access to some of the world’s most renowned hubs including San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.
  1. Remember your reasons for starting this
    Starting and succeeding in small business is tough. However, the rewards involved in small business are endless. From conceiving the business idea on paper, to opening your small business and beyond there are milestones that should be celebrated. There are a number of reasons for starting a small business, and a key reason should always be enjoyment. During the difficult days, remind yourself why you started this journey, and never lose your self-belief that this business can and will succeed.

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Kate Carnell’s take on the 2017 Federal Budget


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