If you haven’t got an idea of what you want to do, Here’s some tips for business ideas:
Fix It: Is there something grinds your gears, annoys you or would make your life easier?
Technology: What’s new? What’s emerging? Can you cash in on the advancements?
Do it Better: Don’t have an original idea, then improve on one that’s already in play, just do it better! Bigger, Better, Cheaper, Faster, More!
You can try a combination of these methods:
- Online Resources
- Interviews, by phone or in person
- Surveys and Questionaires by email or in person
- Your local library or council
- Industry Associations
- Newspaper and Magazine Articles
The information you gather will be helpful in refining your product and determining your market. Vital stuff for any business.
The questions you ask will obviously be relevant to your product, whether it’s an online product, goods or services.
Common things you will want to find out in your research are:
- Who is my competition?
- Compare the Competition (Take notes on advertising and placement)
- Demographics? (Location, Location, Location)
- Would you purchase this product / Use this service? (Who will be the main purchaser)
- Can it be improved? (suggestions)
- Best marketing /Advertising Strategy?
- Taste / Style / Branding? (If in Prototype)
- Name of Product or Service (suggestions or your selected name)
- Who will use this product / service the most? (Men women, children? – Target market)
People have taken time complete your surveys and questionaires. Make sure you thank them and don’t be afraid to ask more questions if needed. Do not get upset with the results if you don’t like them, instead try to find out why. What’s not working?
Look for common responses in the results – take notice! Don’t jump to conclusions, ask more questions – keep refining your research.
Then complie your results, bar-charts, spredsheets, or whatever the best way to demonstrate your results.
This information once evaluated and compiled can be incorporated in the next step.
Create a graphical display of your results
What your business plan should contain:
- Cover Page -With the name and address of your business, your logo and identity
- Executive Summary – A brief and compelling synopsis of your business
- About Us – An understanding of the identity of your company
- The Business Concept – Operations, Demographics, Products and Services Category
- Our Services – A section dedicated to what services you provide or products you sell
- Our Products – An itemised description of each product
- Our Marketing Strategy – Who your market is, how you will target that market, mediums etc
- Competitive Analysis – Discuss your competition, strengths and weaknesses – how you compare.
- Our Marketing Plan – Go into detail here – how will you implement each advertising method and your strategy
- Manager’s and Founders – Management’s/Founder(s) company profile / short bio
- Financials – Where is the funding coming from? Projections and considerations
The business plan you develop will demonstrate to yourself and others (lender’s etc) whether or not your business idea is worth pursuing. It is a way for you to objectively look at your idea holistically. It is a contant reference for you to refer to. So you can address any issues that stand out as road blocks. You should be constantly revising this document as your business grows and changes.
What’s in a Name?
Your business name identifies you as a business to your clients, customers and consumers. It also separates you from your competitor’s. It is your brand/product (s) unique identity. By registering your buisness name, you secure the use of that name.
Before you register a business name you will need:
- To make sure it is available and not already in use.
The Australian Business Register (ABR) is a free online database where you can search through publicly available information for registered businesses by name, Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN). You can register your business name on the site. If you’re planning to have a website, you’ll also need to check that the domain name is available. You can do this with any hosting provider. It’s probably a good idea to purchase the domain name if it’s available. But you can only do that once you have your ABN.
2. To have an ABN or apply for one
You will need your ABN, (Australian Business Number), during the registration process. If you register your business name at ABR You can also apply for your ABN at the same time.
3. Know your business structure
Basicaly there are four main business structures in Australia:
- sole trader – the simplest structure, gives you full control
- company – more complex, limits your liability because it’s a separate legal entity
- partnership – made up of 2 or more people who distribute income or losses
- trust – where a trustee is responsible for business operations
You can find more information here
Once your registration is complete (about 15 minutes online) you will recieve confirmation from ABR in 2 to 5 business days, depending on your payment method.
Are any other licences or permits required?
Depending on your Industry, location, council regulation you may be required to have additional licences or permits.
You can visit The Australian Business and Licence Information Service (ABLIS ) website to check if your business requires any other licences or permits.
Finance: How will the business be funded?
- Self Funded
- Bank Loan
- Small Business Grant (search Grants & Programs)
There are a lot of different ways to get the resources for your business. Once you have your finances sorted, make sure you get a good business accountant, and if you haven’t already done so, you should now be looking at opening a bank account for your business.
- Do I need Insurance? This will depend on the type of business you have, the location, products/stock & a host of variables
- Tax and Records Do I need to register for GST?
- Do I need Legal Representation Is there a partnership, are you hiring staff, are there any legal issues?
- Business Loaction Demographics, accessability, competition, traffic and costs associated.
Define the business
If you have been following the steps on this site, you will have your business defined through:
- research (step 2),
- feedback (step 3)
- and by creating your business plan (step 4)
You should have a clear vision of your mission, your philospophy, your audience and the style of your business.
Create a Logo
Let’s save the expense of a proffessional and design our own brand. You will need to take the time and do a few tutorials to get going, but its worth it in the long run.
Here are 2 few free graphic programs that you can use.
Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor for Linux, Windows and macOS. It’s free and open source.
I recommend using Inkscape, and creating vector graphics, so you are not constrained by resolution for creating your logo. I would use Gimp for creating images for your website.
Where to Start
What images come to mind when talking about your business? What style do you like? Are you going to use an image, text or both to portay your brand? Are you going to have a slogan/tagline?
Here’s two sites that I recommend to source graphics and fonts. Most are free but please check the licences associated.
This site has both free and paid vector files. I like the fact that you can pay for images and not be sucked into a membership or subscription. They also have a Vector Editor, you can edit files before downloading them. Every vector is fully customizable. You can easily change sizes, colors, fonts and much more!
Keeping it Consistent
The most effective way to re-inforce your brand is to keep it consistent. Being consitent is key. If you have more than one member in your team, you will want to create a style guide. There are a few online style guide generators like Mockflow and Fontify. They range in price with free trial options. But are a fantastic resource to maintain your brands style, colours fonts etc. So every team member is using the same ‘style’ and your business maintains creditability.
Spread the Love
Brand Everything! Start with an email signature then move on to create stationery & business cards. I have added templates to my shop for downloading – both free and paid. If you need some proffessional printing, please visit my print portal to quote your project at very reasonable prices.
Build a Website
There are several free website builders out there like Wix, Weebly, Jimdo, Strikingly etc. But to be honest with you, you get what you pay for. These website builders are far from free and will cost you monthly, you will be limited in the editing capabilities and have adds throughout your site. I do not recommend any of them!
I recently built a simple site for FREE with my friend only paying $8.95/month for hosting. I used WordPress and Elementor. You can find out how I did it here.
Share Your Business
The two most popular methods to share your brand are blogging and social media, both are free or in-expensive.
I suggest you reseach which platform that suits you and which is best to reach your target audience. Then go nuts with uploading fresh content, photos and keep re-inforcing your brand. Keep active and maintain your profile.
Your Brand – Your Success
Maintaing your brand once developed is reletivley easy. It’s the initial investment of time that will cost the most, but with the free tools and resources avaiable you will save a small fortune and learn a lot along the way..