Brought to you by our friends at TAFE NSW.
COVID-19 and beyond, there are several factors that are critical to ensuring that your business is set up for successful growth. We spoke to Alison Tait, a TAFE NSW Teacher of Management & Small Business, and part of the team that developed the Women in Business program, to understand the pivotal questions every small business owner (or potential owner!) should consider.
Why do you want to operate your own business?
It is important to have a good understanding of your reasons behind wanting to run your own business. Is it because you want to be your own boss, or do you want to make a difference to other people? Perhaps you feel there is a need to provide a product or services to satisfy an identified need in the marketplace? Everyone will have different motivations behind wanting to operate their own business, so it is important that the reasons are fully researched and paint a realistic picture of what running a small business will be like.
What is my business vision?
Ensure that you have a clear and concise vision based on your goals and aspirations of what you want your business to be in the future. This can be done by writing a vision statement for your business. A vision statement describes what the business wants their customers to experience and feel when using their products or services.
Do I have the skills and knowledge required to operate a small business? Can I juggle multiple tasks?
Running a small business requires a person to be across all facets of business operations. In a small business you are the financial manager, the operations manager, the customer service manager, the marketing manager and the human resource manager. As a future business owner ask yourself, what is my level of knowledge on these areas? Can I juggle multiple tasks? What skills do I have, and what skills do I need to obtain to run my business effectively? If you don’t have these skills, you’ll need to factor in training to upskill where required, or hiring these positions to set yourself up for success.
What resources do I need to run the business effectively?
Consider what physical and human resources you need to run the business and research where and how you can obtain these resources. Create a checklist of your resource needs, including supplier details for your business, so you can document your resource requirements and keep track of suppliers you may need to work with.
Am I financially prepared to launch a business, and have I considered the financial costs involved in establishing the business in the initial 6 to 12 months?
Small business owners need to be fully aware and realistic about the financial costs involved in establishing and running the business. You should consider these for a minimum of 12 months while you are in the process of setting the business up and building a customer base. Consider what ongoing costs you will incur in the business, and how you will fund these expenses in the short term while your business is growing. You also need to ask yourself how long you can afford to fund business expenses whilst waiting for the business income to be adequate enough to cover expenses. Speaking with an Accountant or Small Business Advisor can assist you in identifying your financial capabilities.
Who are my target customers? Where are they located, and how can I reach them?
Before launching any business, it is important to be clear on who are your target customers, where are they located at and what strategies you are going to use to market your product or services to them. You want to ensure that when you launch that you are able to reach your target markets effectively and as quickly as possible, so conducting solid research and developing a sound marketing plan is the key.
Do I have a support network around me?
Consider what support you have around you that will be able to provide you with not only small business guidance and assistance, but also emotional support. Launching and running a small business can take a huge toll on your mental and physical wellbeing, so having access to a strong support network can help you to build your business and reduce stress levels by sharing ideas, suggestions, problems and solutions. A support network can be friends and family or it can be other business professionals just like you.
Women in Business is a NSW Government and TAFE NSW fully subsidised* program for women who are looking to establish a micro business, a small business, or who are already operating a business. It’s online and totally flexible, so whether you’re self-isolating or balancing other commitments, you can make it work for you. Learn more and register today. (*eligibility criteria apply)