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Five steps to start-up: an outline for new business success

31 May 2018 / By Desley Grant

It’s hard work, starting a business. It takes courage, commitment, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Even with all your passion, it sometimes seems like success is impossible. The truth is, you can’t know or remember everything that’s important.

That’s why the focus of this blog is on making it simple. Follow these five steps to make your new business a success.

Step 1: Have a plan

Don’t shoot in the dark, make a business plan. You need to know your first steps, how you’ll run your business and how to grow it. That’s a lot to cover, but there are business plans for different needs.

If you intend to apply for financial support, you need to know that investors and financial institutions expect a traditional business plan. These are long and detailed, with specific sections that they’ll look out for.

Otherwise, you can use something simpler – but it’s still a good idea to have a business plan. Even a one-page plan is a good start to help you clarify your goals and methods.

Step 2: Get your finances together

A small business needs capital to get started and enough funds to last until you turn a profit.

First, estimate the one-off costs. That’s things like licenses, insurance, and inventory. Record this in a spreadsheet. Second, add the costs of keeping afloat for at least 12 months. Include everything the business will need to run, including employee wages, rent, utilities and production.

All together that’s roughly the investment you need to start. You can try to make it with the minimum, or look into financial backing.

Step 3: Get feedback!

A fresh perspective can spot what you missed, so actively seek out feedback.

When you receive negative feedback, hit pause. Listen carefully and consider what they’re saying. Engage with the customer curiously – ask questions and understand the issue properly. Remember that one problem isn’t the end of everything: it’s a chance to reassess and improve. Use feedback to adapt your product or service.

When you receive positive feedback, keep a record. It’s a great inspiration and a boost to your morale when you need it. Find a way to proudly display it to customers and prospective clients.

Step 4: Build the right team

To grow your business, build a great team with a partner, employee or freelancer. To find the best fit, develop a hiring process. Figure out what questions to ask, how you’ll be vetting applicants and what paperwork you’ll need.

You’re not done after hiring. Make sure all team members understand and support your business goals, and foster mutual respect. Respect will help establish a healthy company culture, as will empowering staff through training or mentoring.

Looking to build your team? Learn about the roles that your business will need.

Step 5: Use technology!

Stop chasing distractions and use technology to take back your time from administration tasks. Automate what you can and streamline processes when you can’t.

We’ve made the search for the most valuable software tools for New Zealand small business owners easier for you.

  • Xero. New Zealand’s tech hero, Xero offer a fantastic software system that saves businesses time and expense on accounting and administration.
  • Ranqx. Links your accounting data (securely and anonymously) into their database, and compares it, to give you easy comparisons to similar businesses in your industry.

You don’t need to struggle alone, taking shots in the dark. Follow the five steps outlined above and put your business in the best position to succeed.

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