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Here at Humanised Web + Graphic Design Solutions, we frequently work with start-ups or small businesses who aren’t sure of what they need to do to start their own business. Individuals around the globe are realising that they can take their skills and hobbies and create an income, where they can be their own boss and do what they LOVE – but how do they do this?
We’ve put together this 13 step simple guide to cut back on confusing details on how to start your own business. Enjoy fellow small business owner! We all started somewhere!
1. WRITE A MISSION STATEMENT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Sit down and write a short mission statement for your proposed business. A mission statement is the short paragraph which states your ‘mission’ or goal for your business. This allows you to have a clear focus for your business from the beginning and can also be useful to look back on as a reminder of why you started your business. i.e. Our business mission is: ‘To create beautiful designs that are uncomplicated and creative for individuals who appreciate a personal and straight-forward approach”.
2. BRAINSTORM BUSINESS NAME IDEAS
Think of a name for your business. Depending on your industry, you may wish to use a straight forward name including your own full name or full name and industry i.e. ‘Joe’s Coffee House’ or ‘Lisa Jones Aromatherapy’. You may wish to use a more creative approach for your name which may include descriptive, random or abbreviated words i.e. ‘Dark Horse Printing’ or ‘DHP’. Using a thesaurus can be a great way to come up with something original. Write down some words that describe what you do, and use a thesaurus to find a unique way to explain it.
3. CHECK AVAILABILITY FOR BUSINESS NAME
Once you think of a few business names that you like, make sure they are not already taken. This step is important for copyright and legal reasons. You can check availability for your business name here on the Australian Gov. website ASIC. If you’re ever unsure of issues regarding your name being similar to someone else’s business name, it’s best to consult a legal professional.
4. CHECK TRADEMARKS FOR YOUR BUSINESS NAME
It is also important to check that your proposed business name has not already been trademarked by another business. Trademarking can be an expensive process for your business that you may never wish to undergo or you may want to do in the future. Either way, it is important to make sure that another business has not already trademarked your business name idea – if they have and you do not know, they may come back to bite you with legal drama later down the track. Go to the IP Aus website to check for trademarked business names and to read a bit more about this. If you’re really serious about your business growing into a large Australian or global company, contact a legal professional to look into trademarking for you.
5. CHECK AVAILABILITY FOR A WEBSITE DOMAIN NAME
If you plan on having a website at some time in the near future, it is also a good idea to see which domain names are available to suit your business name i.e. If your business name is ‘Joe’s Coffee House’, you may wish to register a domain name for your website such as www.joescoffeehouse.com. There are many websites online where you can search for availability of domain names. You can jump online and register your domain name yourself using a website such as Crazy Domains, but if you feel a bit unsure we can sort out your domain name registration for you. Just send us a message.
6. GET AN ABN
You need an Australian Business Number for tax purposes, invoicing clients and to register a Domain Name name using ‘.com.au’. Getting an ABN is free and you will have the same one for your lifetime which you can add multiple business names to. Get yourself an ABN here.
7. REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS NAME
Once you have decided on a business name, you need to register it with the government to legally earn money under that name. Your business name will be attached to your ABN that you’ve previously registered. This currently costs about $50 for 12 months and can be done here using the ASIC website (Australia).
8. SET UP A BANK ACCOUNT
Whether you create a new account with a bank or rename an existing account – the idea is to have a separate bank account that is only used for business transactions. This allows easy tracking of income and costs, especially when it comes to tax time.
9. GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A VISUAL IDENTITY
Visual elements such as a logo and the colours / style used to reflect your business is called ‘branding’. Having a professionally designed logo is an important step for your business. Whether potential clients are seeing your logo online, on business cards or on a billboard – first impressions matter. At the end of the day, your businesses visual identity is a long-term investment for your business. We can help you with logo design for your business; simply complete our logo design brief form for a quote.
10. GET YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE WITH A WEBSITE + SOCIAL MEDIA
We design beautiful, functional websites with attention to detail, to suit your needs & budget. All websites are created so that they can be viewed on any device. Even though we’d love to work with you for the long run, we won’t lock you in. Once your website is yours, it’s yours. We give you the keys, and you’ll have control over your website. This enables you to create blog posts, edit content and manage product orders if you have an online store, all from one spot. Once your website is up and running, we can complete updates to your website for you to free up your time, or to keep things working at their best you can book in Humanised website maintenance.
We build websites using the content management system called WordPress. This platform is secure, fast and modern – and we love it. Google is a huge fan of WordPress, which is also an important factor. If you ever need to move your website to a new online location in the future, WordPress makes this easy as well. Simply complete our website design brief form and we’ll get back to you with a free quote with no obligation.
Social Media is an important piece of business these days. It creates interaction with clients and allows you to communicate with them on a personal level, while keeping your business in their mind. Social Media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google + are simple to setup yourself. If you’d like to make your social media accounts look professional, we design assets and images to do so for you. Our marketing guru team can also customise a plan of attack for your business to achieve great results and get seen on social media. Your business may work best by using Facebook only alongside your website, or perhaps Instagram is better for you. We can help you out with this to make sure you’re using the right platforms for your business target market. Contact us today.
11. USE A PROFESSIONAL EMAIL ADDRESS
Every professional business should have a professional email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org rather than using email@example.com. This comes down to the simple fact of being a professional business who offers professional services. If you received an email from your new bank account manager and their email address was firstname.lastname@example.org – would you trust the bank is professional enough to look after your money? If you would like your own professional email account/s, let us know and we can help. For simple email use (no matter where in the world you are), we recommend setting up Google Apps for Work. You can do this yourself if you’d like to (Google have a great assistance team who make it really easy), or we can help you out with Google Apps setup.
12. PUT TIME ASIDE FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT / MARKETING
It’s important to sit back and think about your business on a regular basis. How is it going? Are your clients happy? What could you do to make them happier? How would you like your business to change / grow in the future? This is an important step for any business.
How are you going to tell people about your business and services? Who are your ideal customers and how can you reach them? There are so many ways to market your business, but if your target market is aged between 60 – 80 years old, they probably aren’t going to find you on Tumblr or Instagram. Marketing options are endless these days and can include sending email newsletters, using social media, handing out business cards / flyers locally, displaying posters or renting for billboard / public ad space. We design a range of marketing materials suited for our clients. Simply complete our Graphic Design Brief Form for a quote on your requirements.
13. LOOK AFTER YOUR CLIENTS
Check in with your clients from time to time to make sure everything is going well and to remind them that you are here to assist them if they need you. Looking after your clients and truly caring about what they’re doing will help create a mutual, long-term beneficial relationship for both yourself and your customers.
So there you have it – a simple guide about how to start your own business in 13 steps. We really help this helps you get your head around the exciting opportunities ahead. Give us a yell if you’d like to chat about how we can help you with this process.
If you ever feel overwhelmed, remember that there are always professionals out there to help you. That’s what they are there for. Accountants, Financial Planners, Designers, Solicitors etc. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re just starting out and you need assistance to do something well. Every great business started somewhere!
If you ever have questions or are after some advice, feel free to send us a message. We’d love to hear from you.
Article written by Louise Swales – Humanised director / designer