How to start your own small business?

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: November 26, 2019

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Creating your own business can be hugely rewarding. Not only is it an opportunity for you to pursue your passions, you can also become your own boss, which is something many people dream of doing. There is also no limit to your success, which can be exciting and motivational.

Starting your own small business though is a big step and can also be daunting. To help you get started, we have outlined some of the key steps you should follow, to help turn your big idea into a successful business:

1. Develop your idea

Firstly, you will need a strong idea for your business. If you already have one, great! You’re ready to move onto the next step already. If not, take some time to brainstorm. Ask yourself the following questions and speak to friends, family and other entrepreneurs too who may be able to offer you some insights and inspiration:

  • Can you solve a problem? Consider whether you or anyone else has a problem that doesn’t currently have a solution. This may be something your business can help solve.
  • What are your strengths? Consider your strengths, skills and experiences. You may be able to develop a business idea that takes advantage of these.
  • What will the future bring? Look ahead to see what developments may arise in the future (such as technological changes). You may be able to create a business idea that links in with this and means you’re one step ahead of the competition.

2. Do your research

Carry out some detailed market research to establish whether your idea will work. It can also help you to tailor your business idea for a greater chance of success. Here are some areas you could focus on:

  • Market trends – For example, look at the value of the current market and whether this is growing or declining.
  • Competitor research – For example, look at businesses that provide similar products/services to you and consider how your business could offer something unique.
  • Audience research – For example, do some research online or at a resource library to find out more about your audience such as their location, job role and income. This can help you develop your business concept further, as well as pricing.
  • Product/service research – For example, get feedback on your business idea through interviews, questionnaires or focus groups.

3. Planning, planning, planning

The need for planning when considering setting up a small business cannot be underestimated. Whilst creating a business plan can take time, it will certainly benefit you in the long-term. Here are a few key areas to consider:

  • Business information – Outline how you will structure your business, confirm your business name and detail your products/services.
  • Market information – Outline who your target audience is and how you plan to stand out from your competitors.
  • Marketing plan - Outline how you will promote your products/services to ensure that your target market knows about them.
  • Financial plan – Outline what finances you will need to get your idea off the ground and whether you will need any financial help.
  • Business development – Consider how your business will develop over time, such as in the next 1 year, 5 years and 10 years.

4. Setting up your business

Now you’ve got an idea, carried out some research and planned your business strategy, it’s time to get started with setting up your business:

  • Register for an Australian business number (ABN) – This is an 11-digit number that you will need for tax and other business activities.
  • Register your business name – Your business name is what will identify you to your customers, so get this registered through the Business Registration Service.
  • Tax registration – Make sure you understand your tax responsibilities for running a business in Australia. You will then need to register for any taxes that are relevant to your specific business.
  • Licenses and permits – Make sure you’re aware of what licenses and permits you will require in order to trade legally. These can vary from state, local laws and industry.

For more help with these steps, follow the Australian Government’s ‘Starting a business guide’.

If you’d like to develop your skills further, consider taking Open Colleges accredited course, BSB42615 Certificate IV in New Small Business. You will gain the necessary skills, experience and confidence you need to take the next steps towards setting up your own business and making your idea a success.


Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon is an experienced Freelance Social Media Consultant based in the south of England. She works with a growing number of clients all around the world, showing businesses how to use social media more effectively and helping them to get the maximum benefit from it.

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