So, you’ve decided that it is time to start that business you’ve been thinking about?
Congratulations! This may be one of the best things you ever do—if you do it properly.
The decision to start my business changed my life. More than a year later, I can’t imagine life any other way and I’m so glad I made the decision to back myself and take a leap of faith (boots and all).
Being a business lawyer, I’m also privileged to chat with new business owners every week—and I often can’t hide how excited I am for every new business owner I work with.
When you are new to business, it can be overwhelming. There is so much information out there and it seems like there are so many hoops to jump through, especially at a time when you just want to get out there and do the work you love. We don’t know what we don’t know, and it can be really tricky trying to navigate through these early stages.
Enter me, someone who is there to help cut through the overwhelm and support you to set the foundations for success in your business.
Here are my top five things to consider and act on when you start in business.
1/ A business structure that fits.
Just like those Louboutin’s must fit your foot or you risk falling flat on your face, your business structure must fit your needs.
It can seem all too tempting to grab whatever business structure seems okay (cheapest registration, easiest paperwork), but like the sale Louboutin’s that sit in the cupboard because they’re a size too small, the wrong structure set up can leave you with regrets down the track.
This year many businesses found themselves exposed when we were met with the tough times of COVID, left out of much-needed stimulus packages because the business structure they were operating under was not the most suitable (or appropriate) for the business. It’s never too late to change, but getting the structure right from the start can save a lot of pain! (There are no blister pads for business, and we all know those things don’t work well on our feet, anyway—prevention is better than cure!)
Take some time to really consider your options on business structures—you won’t regret it.
Business Terms & Conditions—because you’re worth it!
You know that friend in school who just took everything from you but left you high and dry whenever you needed anything in return. Remember how you kept this friend because they were popular, and you thought you needed them? Remember how liberating it was to break free of them and to realise that you are worth so much more?! I want you to remember that you are always worth so much more—don’t ever let another person determine your worth.
When starting a business, we can often neglect to set our terms and conditions, because we’re just so damn grateful to have a client or because we think they are the cool kid that will lead you to other customers. But when we don’t set the expectations, we let someone else determine our worth, and this can be dangerous. It’s high school all over again!
Whether it’s Service Agreements, Terms of Trade, or Terms & Conditions, you are worth proper ‘Business Legals’ (as I call them) that are drafted professionally, tailored to your individual business, and compliant with the Australian Consumer Law—because only then can you be sure that your business is protected. (And if you’ve followed me for long, you’ll also know that I think a legally protected business is damn sexy!)
Website Ts & Cs—putting your best foot forward.
Let’s face it, these days, a website can be where people really feel like they see you for the first time. In the absence of many face-to-face gatherings, more people are online and they’re looking at your website. Make sure your Louboutin stays on your foot (no Cinderella moments here) by having a clear set of ‘rules’ that govern how users are permitted to use your website. Your Website Ts & Cs are designed to clearly outline the expectations of visitors to and users of your website, and importantly, they set out what is prohibited.
They also place a disclaimer to limit your liability arising from the use of your website and the material on it, and they will protect your intellectual property.
Show the world that you are worth every penny by protecting yourself.
Build that team of advisers—with the right people by your side, you will soar!
Business Chicks says it all with their fundamental belief that ‘every woman is capable of achieving brilliant things—but you can’t do it alone’.
Since starting my own business, I completely get this. At the start, you can be led to think you have to do it all alone—don’t tell anyone your ideas, don’t ask for help and whatever you do, don’t show that under the surface is a mess of chaos! This way of operating is not only a lonely path, it’s limiting. Putting a team of advisers and supporters around you is one of the best things you can do for your sanity and for business growth.
And when you put that team of advisers, support network and amazing community around you, the best thing you can do is focus on diversity. We don’t know what we don’t know, and that’s okay. We are not supposed to know everything about everything, all of the time. That’s what your tribe is there for! When we surround ourself with people with the same skills and background as us, we can be led to an echo chamber that purely supports our way of thinking only. Sure, it can feel good to have all your thoughts reinforced, but it is the challenging views, the different advisory areas and the advice that helps us see our blind spots that really matters.
One of the best pieces of advice I have received in business is ‘Value Yourself’. Really value yourself. When you do this the right clients will come. And it’s true for advisers too. Value yourself enough to ask for help, to ask for differing opinions and different areas of expertise. The common thread is valuing you—your advisers may come with different viewpoints, but they are anchored by the high value and care they have for you.
To help you find the advisers you need, work out your strengths and identify your weaknesses (we all have them!). Once you have done this, outsource, outsource and outsource some more. Whether you need support from a virtual assistant, a business coach, a PR whiz or a detailed, visionary accountant, outsource it. When you do this you will find that you have organically and holistically surrounded yourself with the right team of advisers. This is the key to your future growth.
Look after yourself—because your Louboutin’s can’t walk themselves, they (and your business) need you!
At the end of the day, your business will be worth nothing if you fall in an exhausted heap. And I don’t know about you, but I also find it really challenging to walk in my Louboutin’s when I’m exhausted. It all just goes to waste… You’re worth more than that!
I know that part of the reason you started your own business—or you’re taking steps to start—is because you are amazing, passionate and you want to do things your way, on your terms. Yes, I see you.
Prioritising YOU has to be part of your business plan. What is important is for you to keep healthy (physically and mentally).
Self care is an investment in your business, it’s not a luxury nor is it indulgent or self absorbed. Go forward and take care of yourself—you really are worth it!
Tracey Mylecharane is a Business Chicks Premium member and business and litigation lawyer with over 17 years experience. Visit her website if you’re interested in working together to achieve a sense of security in your business.