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All the most successful businesses solve a problem. No coffee shop close to your local school? That’s a problem for parents. No gluten-free salad dressings on the market? That’s a problem for celiacs. No sustainably-made dog collars? That’s a problem for eco-conscious pet owners. Your ability to fill a gap in the market better than anyone else will be the key to your business’s success. Remember that often, customers won’t even know a problem exists until you present them with the solution. If you’ve never heard of a Portuguese tart before it’s likely that you don’t know that a bakery specialising in Portuguese tarts is missing from your life. So, when searching for or refining your business idea, consider the following:
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you’re off to a great start.
In order to gauge the size of the market you are entering, you’ll need to research the competition. Look for local competitors that sell the same, or similar, products or services. If there are many, you’re going to need to develop a unique value proposition, that is, an offering that sets you apart from the rest and gives customers a reason to visit your business over an established competitor that they know and trust. This research will allow you to identify gaps in the market and potential opportunities upon which you can capitalise. Additionally, it will help you to develop your own pricing strategy that is competitive and attractive to customers, and will give you an idea of the marketing tactics being used in your space. To stay up to date on the latest developments and announcements, join the mailing lists of your competitors, follow them on social media and set up Google alerts for business names or topics related to your industry.
While these steps won’t apply to every business, the majority of businesses operating in Australia will be required to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and Goods and Services Tax (GST).
An ABN is a unique 11-digit identifier that is issued by the Australian Business Register (ABR) to businesses and organisations operating in Australia. It is free to apply and can be done through an online application or by submitting a paper form. It’s important to note that businesses are required to have an ABN before they can register for GST, claim business tax deductions, or access other government services and programs.
If your projected annual turnover exceeds $75,000 (or $150,000 for non-profit organisations), you will also need to register for GST. Once registered, businesses must charge GST on their goods and services sold, and remit this amount to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on a regular basis. The current rate of GST in Australia is 10%, which means that businesses must add 10% to the price of what they are selling.
At best, regulatory requirements are a headache. At worst, they’re a major roadblock. To ensure that you are across all your legal responsibilities and restrictions as a business, it is imperative that you check the Australian Business Licence and Information Service. This online service will help you find any licences, permits, and/or registrations you might need to operate legally in Australia. It may also be a good idea to check with your local council, as some restrictions may only apply to a very small area. For example, in some areas of Melbourne, you are able to roast your own coffee beans on-site, whereas in others, regulations will prevent you from doing so. If you’re ever unsure, it’s a good idea to seek expert legal advice. While it may cost you upfront, it will save you money and stress in the long run. Doing your research early will reduce the burden of compliance later on.
Your business name needs to effectively communicate your brand identity, resonate with your target audience, and help your business stand out amongst the competition. What’s in a name you ask? All of the following.
Market research, surveys and feedback from small business communities are all valuable. Yet the best way to confirm your business idea is a good one is to start selling your product or service. Paying customers will always be the best source of feedback. A soft launch is a good way to see how people will react to a product before making it available to the greater public. Invite a small pool of people to test your offering. If possible, use the opportunity to take pre-orders and generate some initial funding to cover your first inventory. If you’re selling products such as homemade goods, clothing, homewares or coffees, consider renting a stall at your local market. It’s a cost-effective way to get your business out there and market your product without investing heavily. Additionally, having the opportunity to speak directly with customers lets you gain insight from them and allows you to spread the word about your upcoming opening. If you’re planning on running a service business, consider starting with a discounted trial. Make sure to ask your first customers for a testimonial that you can use in your initial advertisements on social media, or a review on Google My Business.
Whether or not you are looking for investors, lenders or partners, writing a business plan is a highly valuable exercise for any budding business owner. Writing out a detailed overview will help you to articulate and refine your business idea, which will in turn help you to communicate it to anyone you’d like to get on board. It will be a very useful asset to have on hand, at least during the initial stages, as it will serve as a roadmap to keep you on track and to not lose sight of your objectives. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got all the answers just yet, you can always review and change it later. The first iteration of your business plan should include the company's goals, strategies, and financial projections. While it might be daunting at first, going through each step will likely uncover questions or blind spots and will help you know which tasks to prioritise. Keep the plan manageable and succinct, as you may have to deviate and review it as your business grows. Click here for our step-by-step guide on how to write a business plan.
There are a number of ways to legally structure a business in Australia. Knowing the difference now will save you a lot of time and effort down the track as your legal structure impacts critical parts of your business — such as your personal liability and tax obligations. It can also be difficult to change later on. There are five main types of business structures to consider when setting up a new business.
Choosing the right legal structure for a business depends on factors such as the number of owners, liability protection, tax implications, and management structure. It is important to consult with a lawyer or accountant to determine which legal structure is best for your business.
From tax compliance to accessing funding, planning investments and managing cash flow, there are countless reasons why every business owner needs to organise and streamline their finances from the get-go. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as most of the mainstream banks make it though. Zeller is an Australian provider that simplifies the process in all of the following areas:
To get your business noticed and draw in potential customers, you’re going to need to do some marketing. What strategies work is going to entirely depend on your product or service and your target market. Therefore, understanding your customer is going to be key in getting your business name in front of their eyeballs. There’s seemingly endless possibilities when it comes to marketing, but here are the major tactics you need to consider:
Once your business is up and running and you have a pool of engaged customers, you can also try the following tactics:
We understand you’ve got a lot to think about. So, to make life easier for yourself, Zeller will help you out with everything finance and payments related. We’ve worked with thousands of businesses in industries spanning hospitality and retail, beauty, tourism, medical and everything in between. Our Sales Team loves speaking to new business owners to guide them through the weeds and help them get set up. Whether you’re ready to press “launch” or are still in the early stages of developing your idea, our team is always happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact Zeller Sales, or visit our website to learn more about how we can streamline your business.