Over the years we have literally helped hundreds of clients negotiate their way through the business start-up maze. We have identified the key elements you need to address in the start-up phase and they extend way beyond your choice of business structure, accounting software and various business registrations.
Before you decide on your business structure (sole trader, partnership, trust, company etc.) you need to consider asset protection, the potential admission of new partners and your eligibility for discount capital gains tax concessions. The wrong choice of accounting software can be disastrous and there are so many software options with price tags to match. While we have a preference for programs like Cashflow Manager, Xero and MYOB we need to assess your business needs level of accounting skill before we make a recommendation. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach and incredibly, we still pick up clients who have been using the same software for years despite producing computerised shoebox records and paying excessive accounting fees. Part of our client brief is to minimise the cost of compliance and the right software is an important part of the equation.
Of course, during the start-up phase there are simple things like GST, ABN and TFN registrations to complete and if you are employing staff you also have to consider HR issues plus register for WorkCover and the Superannuation Guarantee. According to the World Bank's 2011 Doing Business Report, Australia is the second easiest place in the world to start a business with entrepreneurs needing only two days to get a business registered and operational. However, before you start the registration process you need to assess the viability of the business which necessitates the preparation of budgets, forecasts and cash flows. This might mean identifying your best and worst case scenarios and potentially shelving the idea or possibly refining the product, prices or services.
Make no mistake, starting or buying a business necessitates research, risk, passion and courage but the most important ingredient is planning. Clearly, the old saying, ‘people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan’ still applies. It remains both valuable advice and a warning for people intending to start a business. A business plan that outlines the 'big picture' for your business usually incorporates a marketing plan and supporting financial projections. We often give clients our start up expense checklist to identify all their business start-up costs and they usually get a shock when they miss items like branding expenses, signage and website costs just to name a few. (You can download a copy of this checklist from the resources section of our website). From there we help you produce revenue estimates and financial forecasts based on a number of assumptions. During this phase we play devil’s advocate by constantly asking ‘what if?’.
Over the years we have developed a number of practical tools and checklists to help clients fast track through the start-up phase. These are very useful but courtesy of the GFC, technology and the internet, the business landscape in this country has changed. Websites are the 21st century business card and depending on your target market, social media could be your most important marketing channel. The harsh reality is that enthusiasm, money, hard work, talent or a great idea is not enough to guarantee success in business. You also need to have a marketing plan and blueprint for the business.
Unfortunately many people starting or buying a business fail because they don't seek or receive the right professional advice from the outset. We are very proud of our reputation as a business start-up specialist and financial aspects aside, we enjoy helping clients with their marketing, branding, slogan, logo, website, search engine optimisation and social media strategy. Our role is to support and guide you through the process and it starts with the right advice. Having assisted so many clients in your situation you can benefit from our experience.
We are passionate about your business success and to help our clients we have published a comprehensive guide titled 'Starting or Buying a Small Business'.
This 45 page booklet provides valuable information on a number of key issues that confront business start-ups including:
Full copies of the booklet are available from our offices.
If you're an ambitious business owner looking for a lot more than just basic accounting and tax compliance services from your accountant contact us today. We primarily work with business owners who recognise the importance of marketing and we invite you to book a FREE, half hour introductory consultation to discuss your business needs. At this meeting you can expect practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice designed to help you accelerate your business success.
To make a booking call us today on (03) 5941 4868 or complete your details in the box at the top of this page and let’s get to work ON your business so it's more profitable, valuable and saleable.