It’s exciting, even exhilarating, to start your own business. So what do you need to know before you start?
Well a good starting point is to ask those that have started a business 12 months later what are the lessons they have learned, or what they wish they had known prior to starting a business?
Unfortunately, that excitement you felt at the beginning can quickly turn to stress when you realise all that is involved in running your own business. Many small business owners will be feeling pretty overwhelmed in that first year or two. However, this stress can be avoided.
You start a business with a view to doing something that you love and to have more flexibility with your time. You then realise that you are not only the technician doing the thing that you love, but also an accounts administrator, IT geek, debt collector, sales and marketing manager, operational manager, health and safety and compliance manager, and that’s just for starters. You’re also the tea lady.
There’s so much you need to know about! From regulations for health and safety, company compliance (if you are operating out of a company), if you have employees then the many Acts that make up Employment law – Fair Trading Act, Consumer Guarantees Act, Privacy Act, Tax laws, Product safety, and so on. It is hard to be a technician as well as a business owner without great support (Team) and a plan.
Here’s what we recommend you do before starting your business:
Make sure that you have your personal finances sorted with reserves to draw on if necessary and a loan structure that will give you flexibility. If you are seeking a top up, you will need to declare any potential negative impacts on your future income so have a chat to your Financial Adviser about that.
Make sure you have a business plan for your new business before starting, when you start a business there is enough to learn and do in those early days without trying to plan in hindsight. A good starting place is this business plan template from Business.govt.nz
If you are able to start the business while still working (straddle the new business and your job), it will allow you to test some of your systems and your market with a financial safety net. This is ideal for trade type businesses.
Get a business mentor or coach to help you identify what you need to do, and to help support you through the stressful times by offering an outside perspective. Knowing that you have someone with experience who you can bounce ideas around with can make all the difference. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel!
Talk to / interview other people who are doing similar work, and find out what worked and what didn’t, and what they would do if they were starting out now. People love to share their story and help others. In a few years time you’ll be doing the same for others.
You can be in business as a sole trader, but this does not mean that you are doing it alone.
Engaging the right experts to help you is essential. The cheapest advice and support may cost you in the long run, so do make sure that you are setting yourself up for success.
Talk to us if you want a steer towards the appropriate experts – we have lots of very useful people in our networks and we love to see our clients and friends succeed in their new business ventures. You’ve got this!