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Annalese Sharrock

Annalese Sharrock Strategic Director

Annalese@strategycollective.co.nz
021 615 364
06 759 7044

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I’m Starting a Business … Yikes!

Starting a new business is both thrilling and daunting. We’ve all heard the success stories—the Facebooks and Airbnbs and Xeros—but for every one of those there’s a trail of failed ventures and shattered dreams. So, how do you ensure your new business is one of those that flourish?

The following checklist for start-up businesses will help you identify your strengths as a new business owner and also reveal threats that might be hiding just around the corner.

Knowing these threats in advance is the secret to maintaining sanity in the early stages of a business, and thankfully Strategy Collective can help out with most of them. We’ve detailed where our specialties are in italics below each point.

 

CONCEPT STAGE

 

  1. DEFINE
    Outline exactly what problem your product or service will be solving. Also, ask yourself who you will be solving it for.
    Strategy, Brand & Marketing

 

  1. RESEARCH
    It can be as simple as stopping to chat to people in the street, but a little research goes a long way when it comes to understanding your target market before you go to market. What do they like/dislike? Where do they shop? What do they watch, read and listen to?
    Brand & Marketing

 

  1. RESEARCH SOME MORE
    Similarly, research the competition to understand how you can carve out a niche and be the number one player in that space. What will make you unique?
    Brand & Marketing

 

  1. PRODUCT TEST
    Trial your idea on potential customers and get honest feedback in order to further refine your idea, pricing and marketing strategy.
    Brand & Marketing

 

  1. PUNCH THE NUMBERS
    Consider what you’ll need to make in order to make the business worthwhile, then add the cost of production. Compare this to the revenue you expect to receive (based on a realistic sales forecast which takes into account the spending habits of your target market).
    Accounting

 

  1. DECIDE
    Having completed the above five steps, you will also want to decide for sure if this venture is for you. Ask yourself, “Why am I the person to make this happen?” Do you have the expertise, passion, experience and time to execute this business? A good litmus test for deciding on these sorts of life-changing decisions is to ask, “Is this a ‘hell yes’ option?” If not, then it’s just a ‘hell no’ option.
    Strategy, People & Culture

 

PRE-LAUNCH STAGE

 

  1. CHOOSE A NAME
    This can be a fun stage, but it’s important to think long and hard about your brand name considering your future goals and how the name sits in the market (also couple this with purchasing available domain names).
    Brand & Marketing, Strategy

 

  1. GET SUPPORT
    Even if you plan to be a sole-trader like an electrician or coffee cart, you’ll still want to have a business mentor (to help with your strategy and for moral support), an accountant (so you can focus on making the business happen and not just doing the books), marketing support (again, so you can focus on serving the customer and not just reaching the customer) and possibly investors. Your local NZTE office is there to help businesses like you succeed, so give them a call.
    Strategy, People & Culture, Accounting, Brand & Marketing

 

  1. CREATE A PLAN
    Your business mentor, marketing support and accountant will help you put together a comprehensive business plan that considers your mission and values, short- and long-term goals, and strategies to see those goals reached.
    Strategy, People & Culture, Accounting, Brand & Marketing

 

  1. BUILD YOUR TEAM
    If you need employees, you’ll want to determine exactly what skills and characteristics you need them to have. You’ll need to choose wisely and have all of your contracts ship shape. It’s definitely wise to bring in outside help here for recruiting, employment contracts and establishing great company culture from word go.
    Strategy, People & Culture, Accounting

 

  1. MAKE IT OFFICIAL
    Choose a legal structure, register with the Companies Office, take out business insurance, register with the IRD and ACC, comply with health and safety and other regulations in your industry, rent any premises you might need, consider any trademarks or patents you might need (chat to a lawyer about this), and create a business bank account and, if needed, seek financing.
    Strategy, Accounting

 

  1. MARKETING
    A great business idea means nothing without a plan to reach your target market. Create a visual identity to your brand that matches your goals and brand ethos and that effectively engages your audience. Consider the marketing avenues you’ll need to invest in to reach your target market e.g. website, signage, print or broadcast advertising, social media, directory listings, Google search, trade shows, sales, networking etc.
    Brand & Marketing

 

  1. SET UP YOUR OFFICE
    Good systems and processes can make life much easier as a business owner. Consider having solid bookkeeping practices, appropriate computer and email technology, and, remember, if you use a home office for your business you can offset some of their costs inside the business.
    Accounting, People & Culture

 

LAUNCH

 

  1. ASK FAVOURS
    The launch of a new business is the perfect time to call in favours from friends and family to help promote the business. Also approach local media for a story and perhaps giveaways and let neighbouring residents and businesses in your area know you’re open with a flyer drop.
    Brand & Marketing

 

  1. CELEBRATE
    If you’ve done it right, you will have been working for this moment for months or years, so celebrate the opening well and make the opening a big deal in order to gain early traction and to reward all the hard work you’ve already put in. There’s nothing like a busy opening week to help calm the nerves and make a dent in those mounting bills.
    Brand & Marketing

 

  1. DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE
    Opening a business is often compared to giving birth, so expect some significant birthing pains and hiccups in the following months. Expect them and use your passion, creativity and support team to tackle them. And, most of all, prioritise time to yourself and family to refuel and maintain your sanity and clear-headedness.
    Strategy, People & Culture

 

  1. REPORT & TWEAK
    Congrats! The business is set up and working. But, unfortunately, the work has just begun and you will need to stay on top of reports (regular financial reports will keep your finger on the pulse) and tweak your strategy and tactics.This is where an accountant who can provide and interpret regular financial reports becomes so valuable as a key member of your support team. Marketing support will enable you to keep moving with your market and staying top-of-mind amongst your audience. Human resource support will help you maintain a strong company culture as you grow; one that reflects your business goals and values and can operate excellently even when you’re not there.

 

Are you read to start your business?
Give us a bell for an obligation-free chat about how we can empower you.

P: 06 759 7044
E: annalese@strategycollective.co.nz