15 Steps To A Better Business; Your Ultimate Startup Checklist
Thinking of starting a business? In order to be successful, you need more than just a great idea! That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate startup checklist to help guide you through everything you need to make your dream become a reality.
1. Determine Viability
The last thing you want to do is waste time and money on an idea that has no market value. Before going any further, it’s essential you sit down and evaluate every aspect of your idea. This is the time to be brutally honest. Would you buy it? Would anyone else buy it? Will customers pay enough to cover your costs and make you a profit? Is it sustainable in the long term? Can it be scaled? These are just a few of the all important questions you need to ask yourself.
2. Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses
As much as you might like to, it’s not always viable for you to manage every single aspect of the business by yourself. That’s why it’s important you clearly understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you know what areas you should seek help in and which ones you’ll be fine handling on your own.
3. Create A Business Plan
While it might be tempting to just wing it, having a business plan with financial projections will force you to think through all the details of your idea. Having one in place will also help keep your business on track and moving forward. Remember, as your business grows and evolves, you can always revisit and adapt the plan as necessary.
4. Do The Numbers
A lot more goes into launching a business than you might think and there can be a lot of hidden financial costs that you need to account for. Sometimes it can take years before your business starts making a profit, which is why it’s essential to know all your figures upfront, so you can budget and plan for all your expenses. This includes your own living expenses, not just your business costs! Determine how you will cover your basics while trying to grow your business. If you need financing to get things up off the ground, you’ll need to start investigating options as soon as possible.
5. Figure Out Your Legal Structure
Sole trader, partnership, trust or company? You’ll need to decide which of these best suits your needs. You should always discuss your options with your Accountant to make sure you are fully aware of what your obligations are.
6. Register Everything
It might be boring, but this is must-do stuff to make sure you’re set up correctly. This includes things such as ABN, Business Name, Domain Name, Trademarks, Social Media Names, Email Accounts. Everything you’ll need to get your business set up and running.
7. Get Insurance
Regardless of what type of business you’re starting, you’ll need some kind of insurance, such as public liability, workers’ compensation, income protection. Insurance may seem like an unnecessary cost during startup phase, but trust us, you’ll be grateful you got it when something goes wrong!
8. Set Up A Business Bank Account
While this isn’t an absolute necessity if you are a sole trader, trust us when we say you’ll be thankful you did this when it comes time to doing your taxes! Having a seperate account set up for your business will help make sure you’re accurately keeping track of all your incomings and outgoings. It is essential if you have chosen a different business structure than sole trader that a separate bank account is set up.
9. Set Up An Accounting System
Once your bank account is all set up, your next step is to choose an accounting software. Again, this might not be a necessity, but it will make everything much, much easier for you to handle. There’s nothing worse than letting your books get messy and having to deal with it later! You should always try to start out how you want to finish. Setting up accounting systems later down the track may mean extra work or doubling up on work already done simply to get you at the correct starting point.
10. Define Your USP
USP - Unique Selling Point. Every business that wants to be successful needs one of these! It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and gives you a point of difference that will make your customers want to choose you.
11. Brand Yourself
Branding is one of the most undervalued aspects of setting up a business. Believe it or not, it’s about much more than just creating a logo or style guide and there’s a lot more work involved than simply picking pretty fonts and colours. Good branding will work toward positioning you amongst your competitors and help you appeal directly to your target market.
12. Set Up Your Online Presence
Earlier you registered your domain name - now it’s time to set up your website! Having a website is an important aspect of your business, especially if you are entirely online. This will act as your ‘home base’ and will be where people find you, get to know you and contact you. You should also set up your social media profiles so you can start marketing and reaching a wider audience.
13. Create A Marketing Plan
When it comes to social media and content marketing, it’s tempting to just start posting. How hard can it really be… right? Well, in actual fact, there’s a lot more involved than just posting pretty pictures! If you want your social media and marketing channels to actually work for you (aka, bring people in, warm them up and eventually convert them into paying customers) then you need to have a strategy in place that guides you towards achieving goals.
14. Start Promoting
You have everything in place, so it’s time to start working toward gaining customers! This is where your marketing plan will come in handy, as you’ll have created a sound strategy that will help you take your potential customers on a journey. When you’re first starting out, it’s likely funds will be tight, so it’s also a good idea to start small with your advertising. There are plenty of different channels out there, so do your research and figure out which one is most likely to help you reach your target market.
15. Build Your Support Team
This is where you can go back to your earlier strengths and weaknesses analysis and decide what aspects you’ll need help with to make your business grow. Whether it be employees, contractors, suppliers, business coaches, mentors, lawyers, accountants or anything in between, decide which area/s you need assistance with the most and go from there. Sometimes your support team can simply be trusted friends and family who can lend a hand or who you can bounce ideas off of. Regardless of what form they take, having a solid support team in place will help make sure you stay on track and have the best chance at success!