10 Tips for Small Business

I have had a number of small business start-up’s over the years.  I have had a lot of years of experience and I have learnt some hard lessons in business.

The list below of 10 small business tips and useful advice will hopefully give you some help and some direction when starting your own small business.

The list compiled below is a selection of contemporary business tips, that ethical business owner’s understand.

As well as the small business and start up tips listed below, it is also very important to register your trademarks.  Protect your IP as soon as possible, it is very important.

Understand ‘why’ you are starting a Small Business

Starting your own small business is an incredibly rewarding enterprise.  You must bear in mind however, it can be a very hard road to walk down.  You must always remember why you decided to start in business yourself.  That way, when you are at the end of your tenth 15 hour day in a row, you will need to remember what your primary motivation was.  It may have been to earn more money, it may have been to have more control of your working life, it may have been a lifestyle decision, or it may have been to not have a horrible boss!  Whatever your motivation, you must find a way to remember the reason ‘why’ when things get tough.

What is your Point of Difference?

One of the motivating ‘why’ factors for starting your own small business or start-up may be that you know that you can do it better than the businesses you have worked for.  What are you going to do that is different to your competition?  What is your main point of difference going to be?  During your research stage, you must check out your competition to see if and where there is a gap in the market.  It may be a customer service issue, a cost issue or any issue that you feel is lacking in your field.  You must check out the competition, I know that my competition check my business out!  It is vital that you do all the proper market research before you invest time and money into your small business idea.  Don’t directly steal from them though, keep your integrity at all times, it is very important.

How are you going to Structure your Small Business

business committee smallbusinessMake sure that you get the structure of your business right.  There are pro’s and con’s in every business structure.  A company, partnership, or sole trader all have benefits depending on what type of business you want to be.  They all have tax implications and liability implications.  Ensure that you speak to your business lawyer and accountant to get the best advice depending on your goals, now and for the future.

Law, Rules and Regulations

Ignorance of the law is no excuse!  You can be liable for something that you didn’t know even existed.  Make sure you are fully aware of all of the laws, legislation, rules and regulations in your chosen area of business.  This is true of the both Federal level and on the State level.  Check websites like ATO, ASIC and reliable business websites to get all of the right information.  If in doubt (and you can afford it) go and see a small business lawyer to ensure that you have done all of the due diligence.  You should check up on employment law, taxation law, corporation’s law (if you decide to become a company), workplace safety, and health & safety – amongst others.

You are the Boss – Act like it

You are in charge of your own destiny now!  If there are problems in the business it is up to you to sort it out.  If the matter requires to put in an all-nighter, then you have to do it.  You are the boss, you need to lead by example.  Don’t expect other people and employees to do something that you are not prepared to do yourself, or that you have not done (with your eyes closed) a thousand times before.  The idea of a passive income when you are in small business is like a unicorn or Father Christmas – it’s a mythical creature that doesn’t really exist.  No one is going to love your business like you do.

Do Not Accumulate Debt (unless your accountant says it’s ok)

Don’t worry, your accountant will NEVER say that it’s ok!  lol.

This is a tough one because it depends entirely on the business and the economy.  However, for every success story like in the Shark Tank – “he turned a $5000 loan into an empire…” you know what I am saying, there is hundreds of thousands of small business people and entrepreneurs who have lost the shirt off their backs, to banks and money lenders.  If you can build your business without borrowing money, or becoming encumbered under debt or a bad lease, then it is probably better that you do.

Take Time Off – It is Really Important

Sometimes you will need to dig deep and do what needs to be done.  We have all pulled all-nighters, or worked seven days per week, but this type of work for most is unsustainable.  It is really important that you take some time off and actually be off.  There is no point in taking some time off and then having your head at work the whole time.  Be present with what you are doing right now, and forget about work, it’s not going anywhere, it’ll be there on Monday when you get back.  Google “mindfulness meditation” to help you gain the skills needed to find some peace and stillness inside.

Surround Yourself with Great People

It is really important in business to surround yourself with good people!  Lose the negative people and gossip spreaders from your business and surround yourself with great people.  There are thousands of great, highly profitable small businesses that don’t follow that horrible cut-throat corporate way of doing things.  If you treat people properly, you will get the best out of them and they are more likely to take some ownership of their role.  If you pay your staff properly, treat them properly and try to offer them some benefits to working with you, then you will get the best people in your business, and they will stay with you for longer.

Get Business Advice and Ongoing Training

If you are not betting better, then you are getting worse!  I never really understood what this meant until a few years ago.  Basically, all of your competition could be learning new skills, developing existing skills further and broadening their skill-set.  If you are not doing the same then you are dropping behind.  Dallas Mavericks owner, entrepreneur and billionaire Mark Cuban says “business is like a basketball game, except it’s 24/7 and everyone is trying to kick your ass”.  It is vital that you are learning new skills all the time, but it doesn’t have to be directly related to your business.  For example, you could learn SEO, or book-keeping or management skills, all of which add to your business and help you to maintain or surpass your current position.  Conducting a course of study or training could add 25% or 50% to your business!

Get More Organized

If you are lucky enough to be in a business that uses administration software, then if you can afford it, use it!  It is really important that you use more than Outlook or Google email and calendars in your business.  Doing the tasks long-hand that a good software can do can take up a lot of time, and you may end up not even doing them.  Organising your great quality, opt-in mailing list is a good example of something that gets missed all the time, but you can put your brand in front of people, and help to drive sales with this, and we may not be even doing it.  There are also some great open source tools for business if you don’t have the budget, but if you do, then use a good business software, you will appreciate it as your business grows.

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Quick Off the Mark® is a division of Mark My Words Trademark Services Pty Ltd (MMW). MMW was founded in 2011 and is headed by Jacqui Pryor, a registered trade marks attorney with more than 16 years experience.

In 2015 MMW acquired Quick Off the Mark®, which is a fast and affordable Australian trademark registration service. Quick Off the Mark® offers fixed fees that are affordable to help Australian businesses register their trademarks.

Disclaimer – The advice provided in this blog is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your business objectives, legal situation or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, legal situation and needs.