Category Archives for Getting Started

Keeping Financial Records

Be sure to keep accurate business records. You will need accurate records when it comes to tax time. Also you will be able to see if your business is profitable.

The easiest way to keep records is with financial record keeping software. Below we have recommended several packages which you can use for this task.

Cashflow Manager

Cashflow Manager This is the Australian Version its a small business accounting program. It will make it easy to keep records for tax and other record keeping requirements. Several versions are available depending on your business.


Licenses & Permits

Licenses & Permits

Depending on your particular business there may be licenses and permits that you will need from your Federal, State or local government.

There are too many requirements to list here. Consider going to your local council and inquiring about local government permits etc for your business. The same with State and Federal jurisdictions. If your in any doubt about your requirements check with a solicitor.

Business Number 

Business numbers are required in some countries they can have tax implications. Inquire locally to ascertain if your business or company will require a business number. Additionally you may require a Tax Number check with the Tax Dept. in your city.

Register Your Business

How to Register Your Business.

Now its time to register your business. Unless your a sole proprietor who is operating under your own name you will have to register your business with your government department that handles business registrations.

If you are a sole proprietor we still recommend contacting your accountant to see if they recommend registering your business. Different countries have different rules so its best to play it safe. 

See our previous post on 'business type' for links to some popular government business registration sites.

Select A Name For Your Business

 6 Things To Consider When Selecting Your Business Name.

Here are a few considerations you should make before deciding on a name for your business.

#1 First as most businesses have an online presence of some sort these days you will want to make sure you can obtain a domain name that is closely linked to your business. Consider obtaining a .com domain or if your business is limited to your country you can use a country specific domain such as .us for the United States .com.au for Australia etc.

#2 Another consideration is do you want a name that is short and punchy or a long descriptive name. We suggest a short name its much easier when building web sites, business cards and other promotional material for your business.

#3 Pick a name that is easy to say. Its much easier for customers to recommend your company if they can pronounce it.

#4 Do a trademark search. You don't want to select a great name and go to the expense of branding your business only to find someone else owns the trademark.

#5 If your going to name your business or company after yourself it may be more difficult to sell down the track if you decide to sell it at some point. Consider using a more generic name that will be easy to sell.

#6 Your business may want to expand in future. For this reason don't name your business after your city or town unless you have no intention of expanding out of your current locality.

Select Your Type of Business

Think about your business structure.

There are a number of different ways to structure your business. These range from a sole proprietor, company, partnership etc. The best way to make a selection as to what is right for you is to visit your countries government website that lists the available options. We have listed some of these sites below for USA, Australia, UK and Canada. Other countries have similar sites just do a Google search for your country.

Different business structures offer different advantages and disadvantages including the following.

  • Taxation - companies often pay a higher rate of tax.
  • Limited liability for companies.
  • Increased costs to setup and run a company.
  • Partnerships - You could be liable for the debts incurred by a partner.
  • Sole Proprietor - lower startup costs.

 Whatever structure you decide on be sure to discuss this step with your accountant or get other professional advice first.

In the United states the SBA website provides information on setting up a small business and gives a good coverage of the structures available in that country when setting up a business.

sba structure

In the USA the SBA Govt website provides information on the structure of businesses.

In Australia the ASIC website provides information on setting up a small business and gives a good coverage of the structures available in that country when setting up a business.

ASIC

In Australia the ASIC Govt website provides information on the structure of businesses.

In the United Kingdom the 'Setup a Business in the UK' website provides information on setting up a small business and gives a good coverage of the structures available in that country when setting up a business.

In the United Kingdom the 'Setup a business in the UK' website provides information on the structure of businesses.

In Canada the Canada Business Network website provides information on setting up a small business and gives a good coverage of the structures available in that country when setting up a business.

Canada Business

In the Canada the Canada Business Network Govt website provides information on the structure of businesses.

Research Competitors

Who are your business competitors?

We want to research our competitors now so that we have the option to incorporate any innovative ideas they have into our own business.

By far the easiest way to research your competitors is to do a Google search the results in the section at the top are paying to be there through Adwords. These are your main competitors as they will receive the bulk of the traffic from Google. Go through their websites and see how they operate.

Use tools such as Google Alerts  and set it up to send you a free email each day whenever there are new trends in your industry. In addition set it up for your business name and the names of your main competitors so you will be able to monitor when you or a competitor get a mention.

Google Alerts

The Google Alerts Page

Another tool from Google which is also free is the Google Trends page here you can research trends within your industry. Just type your industry into the search box and you will find various statistics will be provided.

Google Trends

The Google Trends Page

Google is not the only place to research competitors use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to see what your competitors are saying. You can bet they will announce all their new initiatives here first.

Conduct a survey by contacting your competitors directly and ask how they provide a service that you provide. You may want to consider outsourcing this task to a site like Amazon's Mechanical Turk they can do that type of work incredibly cheaply and you will be doing it anonymously.

Test Your Business Concept

Will your new business be a success?

A startup is a business that provides a new idea, process or product. If this is your business model then it makes sense to test out whether its just you who thinks its a good idea or whether its a paying proposition.

You can do this by spending a couple of hundred dollars on Google Adwords before you spend thousands developing a website or apps etc. Use a tool like the Google Adwords keyword planner to search for words that potential customers are looking for.

This article by Inc. asks 8 questions which will test your new business concept and is worth a read.

Other products like QuickMVP may be able to assist you with this process. You can try that product risk free. They make it easy to build landing pages to test your product.

If your looking to start or buy a conventional brick & mortar business then you will want to speak with your accountant to make sure your business plan is feasible.

Write Your Business Plan

Spend some time writing your business plan

By now you should have bought some business plan software such as Live Plan that's the one we went with here at Busi Start. The advantage of using a software package to write your plan is that everything is set out for you.

There are lots of considerations when writing a business plan such as financial, marketing, competitors etc by writing your plan using business plan software you are led through each section in detail and provided with examples to guide you in the process.

Once you have finished writing the plan it will automatically format it into an impressive looking document that you can use when applying for finance to potential investors or financial institutions.

However you decide to write your plan don't skip this step. Remember the old saying by Benjamin Franklin "If you fail to plan, You are planning to fail!"

Planning Software

Obtain Planning Software For Your Business

Obtain business plan software. Its a good idea to always have a business plan. Even if your funding the business yourself by having a plan you have a good point of reference for any ideas.

It helps with time scales and financial planning. Your business plan is a good opportunity to compare what your competitors are doing . By putting it down in writing you are making it clear in your own mind what your objectives are.

Listed below are some of the more popular planning packages.

Liveplan

Live Plan is a full featured program with many advantages over other products. Reasonably priced. Used by over 1 million businesses. Our top Selection. (Used by Busi Start to make our business plan)

Business Plan Pro

Business plan pro Good program but lacks some of the features of Live Plan such as 'Pitch' Business plan pro is desktop edition planning software.

enloop

Enloop Basic planning Software with a Free version available.

Business Ideas

Think about the Type of Business you want!

  • Below is a list of business ideas to help you. A few things to consider:
    1. Will this business make me sufficient money?
    2. Is it a business I'm qualified for?
    3. Is it a business that I can train for?
    4. Will your business be online or a conventional brick & mortar business?
    5. Can you attract sufficient funding for your project?
    6. Some businesses listed below may link to example
       sites or linked to the type of business listed.

Builder

Blog Consultant

Bookkeeper

Business Consultant

Candle Maker

Candy Maker

Carpenter

Catering Service

Childproofing Expert

Computer Repair Service

Computer Training

Construction Cleanup

Customer Service

Data Entry Service

Desktop Publishing

Direct Mail Marketing

Disaster Planning Service

Dog Trainer

Dog Walking Service

Freelance Writer

Furniture Removalist

Gardening Service

Garden Planning Service

Genealogist

Graphic Design Service

Gutter Cleaning

Hair Salon

Hand Made Crafts

Home Repair Service

Home Handy-person

House Painting Service

Import / Export Service

Ink Cartridge Refilling

Interior Designer

Internet Affiliate Sales

Internet Training Coach

Inventor

Jewellery Maker

Laundry Service

Life Coach

Locksmith

Luxury Goods Sales

Marketing Consultant

Massage Therapist

Mechanic

Medical Transcripts

Motivational Speaking

Musician

Nutritionist

Organic Garden Service

Party Planning

Personal Chef

Personal Trainer

Pest Control Service

Pet Grooming Service

Pet Minding

Photographer

Pizza Shop Owner

Pool Cleaning Service

Private Tutoring

Public Relations

Real Estate Service

Restaurant Owner

Resume Writer

Retail Store

Security Service

Senior Care Service

SEO Consultant

Social Media Consultant

Speech Writer

Travel Consultant

Virtual Assistant

Writer