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Starting your own business: What you need to know

Looking to start your own business? Here’s how to get started

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business?

Maybe you have an idea you think will take off. A passion you want to share with the world. Or you might be looking for more control over your time and flexibility. Whatever your reasons, making that first step to starting your own business can be both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.

One of the best ways to help prepare for life as your own boss is to get planning. Taking the time to think about the details and plan your approach can help give you the best start to small business life.

5 things to consider when starting your own business

Before you get started on your business, it’s worth taking some time to think through your idea and how you’ll bring it to the market. Planning ahead will help you deal with the ups and downs of running a business, as well as help give you clear direction and goals.

Here are five things you need to think about before taking the leap:

Your business idea

Before bringing your idea to the world, it’s a good idea to do some initial market research. Market research will help you find out if there is any interest in your product or service from your target audience – before you go ahead and spend time and money on the idea. It’s also a chance to better get to know your ideal customers, what they need and what your competitors are doing.

Here are some ways that you can research and test your idea:

  • Online research – Who else is selling your product or service? What are their features, prices and buying process? Having competitors is a good sign that there’s a market for what you want to sell, but it’s important to see how you can offer something different.
  • Interview potential customers – Find potential customers amongst your family, friends or wider network. Learn more about their problems and challenges, and what they’re looking for in a solution.
  • Test your product – can you test your product on a small scale? Create a basic version of your product or service for a test group that can try it. You can get immediate feedback on how to improve your idea before launching it to a broader audience.

Your business plan

Your business plan is an outline of your business, what you want to achieve and how you’ll get there. It can be used as a roadmap to help guide your priorities and where to focus your energy.

A good business plan will include your:

  • Customer profile – Create a profile of your target market. Consider demographics like age and education as well as habits such as how they like to shop. 
  • Customer needs and wants – Your product or service needs to solve a problem for your customer. What is your customer looking for? How does your product or service help them?
  • Products or services – What makes your product or service different or unique to others? Consider things like features, pricing and packaging.
  • Marketing plan – Without a plan to promote and sell your business, even the best ideas won’t make it. A marketing plan will outline how you’ll get your product or service in front of the right people and turn them into customers.

Your finances

Starting a business often means you’ll have a period of little to no income. It might also mean you’ll need to invest and spend money before you make any money. Taking a look at your finances and how you will manage them is an important step. Some questions to ask include:

  • How much do you need to get started?
  • Do you have savings, or will you need to get a loan?
  • How long can your savings or loan last before you need to start making money?
  • How many products or services do you need to sell to get to this point?

Your business structure

Your business structure will define how you operate as a business. It will impact the tax you’ll need to pay, ongoing administration costs and whether you will be personally responsible for any debts or losses.

Here are some of the different options you can choose from:

  • Sole trader – an individual trading on their own and the simplest business structure available.
  • Partnership – made of two or more people who share income and losses amongst themselves.
  • Company – a legal entity that is separate from you as a person.

Not sure what structure is right for you? Try this ‘help me decide’ tool to see which structure might be best for your business.

Your business name

Your business name is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. It needs to be memorable, have meaning, and work with the vision for your business in the long term.

When choosing a business name, checking the availability of the name is crucial. Think about your online presence – is the website domain name available? What about social media handles? Are there any competitors with similar names? Do any trademarks apply? You’ll need to find a name that’s free and available to avoid any confusion or potential legal issues with existing businesses.

Once you’ve chosen your business name, the next step is to make it official. This means registering the business name with ASIC, applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and potentially registering for GST.

Workshop your ideas – for free

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when starting your own business. And while it can feel overwhelming, the good news is – you don’t have to do it alone. At MTC Australia, we have programs designed specifically for anyone who wants to enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship.

Explore being your own boss

Our Explore Being My Own Boss (EBMOB) Workshops are perfect for people who want to get a better understanding of what it means to be your own boss and run your own business. Available online and in-person, you’ll get practical information on what you need to get started as well as opportunities to discuss your ideas with other people.

Realise your business dream

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a government-funded program that provides more advanced small business training. If you pass the eligibility criteria, you can get access to expert coaching and income assistance to help get your business off the ground.

MTC is the social enterprise that gives people the inspiration, capability and opportunity to create a fulfilling life. If you want to find out more about how we can help, get in touch.