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20.05.18 | Business

Our top 10 tips when starting a new business

By Amanda Kirkman

We recently reach an important milestone, our fourth birthday! We thought this would be a good time to sit down and reflect on some things that have helped us start a new business.

1. If you can, work from home for the first three to six months. Not only will this save you in office rent but keep your overheads low in the initial setup period.

2. The most common question we are asked is how do you get motivated? The simple answer is, keep a routine. Keeping to regular office hours and working other things into your day e.g. your gym visit or morning client coffee keep you in that ‘work-time’ mindset. If you are working from home, have a designated office area with no distractions.

3. Give yourself a regular low wage (to start). This one kind of sucks, but is really important. The first six-twelve months is all about building up a buffer in your bank account – so putting yourself onto the same wage you had when you left your last full time job is just setting yourself up for disaster.

4. Take advantage of free social media to get your name out there. Depending on your business, you have options like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn. Personally, I don’t put too much weight into which is best, rather think about them all linking back to your home page, which inevitably improves your SEO. Also, familiarise yourself with the best practice of using these networks. Check out businesses that have a steady following and make note of tone, hashtag usage, quantity (and quality) of posts.

5. Network. Check out your local business groups, meetings and catchups – you can find most of this through Google.

6. Ask professionals for help, starting with a good quality accountant and soliticitor. Also, call the ATO (seriously!). They are more than happy to help with small business questions about Tax and GST. There a lots of free government initiates aimed at supporting small business so take advantage. Fair Work Australia is really handy for info on employees and if you’re based in Newcastle talk to the lovely people at The Business Centre.

7. Spend some time on setting up your systems and processes. We recommend Google for email and calendars, Trello for your ‘To-Do’ list, Harvest for time tracking, Xero for accounting and Slack for internal communications.

8. Have insurance. This can include contents, public liability, professional indemnity and workers comp. A good insurance broker will help you know what you need to be covered, depending on your industry and state.

9. Consider a part time job while you’re getting started. You don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want too, it can be in your same industry, or even just some casual or freelance work. Just something to take the pressure off while you find your feet.

10. Know what your goals are and where you want to be in 12 months including a review date. After six months if you’re not profitable, are you going to head back to the work force? Know your limits.

Amanda @ Shorthand

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