Tips for starting a business
Entrepreneurs: Top 10 Tips for Starting a Successful Business 

Have you got a great business idea and don’t know where to start? Here are some great tips to get you started on your way to owning your own successful business. 

1.     Do what you love.
You will devote a lot of time and energy in starting a business and building it into a successful enterprise, so it’s really important that you truly and deeply enjoy what you do, be it creating pottery, cooking or organising events.

2.     Start your business while you’re still employed.
How long can most people live without money? Not long. And it may be a long time before your new business actually makes any profits. Being employed while you’re starting your business means money in your pocket as go through the start up process.

3.     Don’t do it alone.
You NEED a support system while you’re starting a business (and afterwards). Having a family member or friend that you can bounce ideas off and who will listen sympathetically to the latest business start up crisis, is invaluable. Even better, find a mentor or, if you qualify, apply for a business start up programme. Experienced guidance is the best support system of all.

4.     Get clients or customers first.
Don’t wait until you’ve officially started your business to line them up, because your business can’t survive without them. Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services at first. You can’t start marketing too soon.

5.     Write a business plan.
The main reason for doing a business plan first is that it can help you avoid sinking your time and money into starting a business that will NOT succeed.

6.     Do the research.
You’ll do a lot of research working through a business plan, but that’s just a start. You need to become an expert on your industry, products and services, if you’re not already. Joining related industry or professional associations before you start your business is a great idea.

7.     Get professional help.
On the other hand, just because you run a small business doesn’t mean you have to be an expert on everything. If you’re not an accountant or bookkeeper, hire one (or both). If you need to write up a contract, and you’re not a lawyer, hire one. You will waste more time and possibly money in the long run trying to do things that you’re not qualified to do.

8.     Get the money lined up.
Save up if you have to. Alternatively, approach potential investors and lenders. Figure out your financial fall-back plan. Don’t expect to start a business and then walk into a bank and get money. Traditional lenders don’t like new ideas and don’t like businesses without proven track records.

9.     Be professional from the start.
Everything about you and the way you do business needs to let people know that you are a professional running a serious business. That means getting all the basic requirements such as professional business cards, a business phone and a business email address. Professionalism remains key, starting with treating everyone in a professional and courteous manner.

10.  Get the legal and tax issues right the first time.
It’s much more difficult and expensive to untangle legal and tax issues after they have happened. Learn what your legal and tax responsibilities are before you start your business and operate accordingly. Does your business need to be registered? What documents will be required?

Will you need to have Workers Compensation or deal with payroll taxes?
How will the form of business you choose affect your income tax situation?