Guide to finding the support you need to manage and grow your small business
If you have created your own small business, or have gone into business taking over a company already established, you are to be congratulated. One of the proudest feelings you can have in your lifetime is that of running your own small business and being independent of having to work for another person. Running your own business puts you in control, you become master of your own destiny and you get to live with the feeling that you are achieving something special, especially when you get to the stage where you can employ others.
Managing a successful small business is hard work
What you have taken on is not easy, there will be many hardships you will have to endure and the time will come when you will seriously wonder if it is all worthwhile. When these occasions come about remember that you are not alone and there are many institutions set up to assist you. What you will have to do is to sometimes swallow your pride and take advantage of what is offered, if you do you will emerge strengthened in your resolve to continue with a better understanding that what you are doing is not only to your own ultimate benefit but to the benefit of the country at large.
Assistance is always at hand
There are many organisations purposely established to assist small business to get up and going. Three of these main ones are included here:
- One of the first places many budding entrepreneurs go to for knowledge and assistance is their local Business Enterprise Centre. Business Enterprise Centres are located in all states and territories in Australia with a primary role of providing representation to government and other bodies on behalf of its member businesses. It is an organisation with offices in all cities and regional centres and is often the best place to visit if you want to learn more about what your obligations are in business as far as government regulations are concerned, as well as advice on research matters and the production of a operable business plan. A Business Enterprise Centre can help you in developing a business investment plan, as well as provide mentoring services and offer timely advice on management skills. All these matters are very important when starting a new business and many people in the past have failed in their dream simply by not availing themselves of such readily available assistance.
- Being a small business owner means working hand in hand with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Before you entered the intriguing world of business you might have pictured the ATO as being a natural enemy when it comes to running your business profitably. Nothing could be further from the truth. Believe it or not but the best friend you will have in running your business will be the ATO, especially if you run into hard financial times. If you are open and upfront with the ATO they will effectively bend over backwards to help you. The ATO operates a Small Business Assistance Program, a program that helps you understand and properly manage all your taxation matters. When you enter this program you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it becomes to gain access to highly experienced ATO officers. They will even go to the trouble to visit your place of business if you want them to as well as invite you to attend various workshops and seminars.
- Business.gov.au is an invaluable aid to any emerging business operation. This is a website set up and maintained by the Australian Government to give advice online. A particularly important time saving initiative. When you take advantage of visiting www.business.gov.au you will find you will be able to comply with all government business requirements. This site will provide you with all the information you need regarding the starting up of your new enterprise, all your licensing and taxation obligations, particularly that of getting your Australian Business Number (ABN). This website is being updated continuously and you can be assured that any new developments will be included.
Important matters to consider before starting your own business:
- Carry out a thorough research program. You must find out whether people will buy the product or service you intend offering. Have a good look at any competition you will come up against and ensure that the market you will be working in will be big enough to sustain your ongoing profitability.
- Do you have the financial backing required to keep you in business while working towards a profitable situation. The amount of finance you need will depend on the type of business you intend pursuing. It is often best if you start small and allow your business to force any growth in its own right. If you have the patience to do this you will minimise any risk of getting too big too early and having your legs cut off beneath you before you even get properly started. The less money you borrow to get your business started the better position you will be in to stave off any low income periods you come to experience.
There are two types of market research for you to undertake.
Primary research will involve doing survey work, interviews of likely customers and taking to other businesses to ascertain the level of support you business would be likely to receive once you've got it up and running. Secondary research is what you do when you look into what others have already done such as that found in trade publications and government statistics.
An important government department for you to look up as regard to getting your figures right is the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) http://www.abs.gov.au.