Start-ups: Tips to take on board

Starting a new business venture can be both an exhilarating as well as stressful time for many entrepreneurial Kiwis. The brave decision to “dip one’s toes” into the world of business should never be taken lightly. It requires everything from a clear vision and sound planning, through to an undying passion and belief in what you are doing.

For people navigating their way through the early stages of their start-up journey, particular attention should be paid to the following areas:

What is your ‘why’?

Dedicate time to thoroughly analyse the reasons for starting a business. Sit down, define your reasons — including what your specific goals are and what you are aiming to achieve. Be objective and realistic, ensuring your business plan will be able to deliver on these goals.

Advice you can trust

Be smart and wisely invest in an independent business adviser who will be able to work alongside you to gain a better understanding of your unique needs and requirements. Working with someone who complements your own personality and values is certainly a great foundation for building a solid working relationship going forward.

Access to information

Knowledge is power. Having the right information systems in place to make timely and quality decisions is key to the ongoing success of your business. Speak to your trusted business adviser who will be able to recommend a tailored business solution that meets all your reporting needs.

Determine best business structure

Obtain advice on what structure you need to set up for your business — whether it is a trust, company, partnership or sole operator. You need to be fully aware of the different tax and legal obligations of each structure, so getting the right advice on the matter is essential.

Financing your business

Consider how you will finance your initial day-to-day operations and whether there will be any major capital outlay required.

Doing your research

Market intelligence is critical and needs to be undertaken at the outset.

• Know your audience/target market, ie understanding the industry sector, demographics of your consumers, what is the buyer behaviour of consumers, including preferences, attitudes etc.

• What is your point of difference or your unique selling point? What is your story?

• Who are your competitors?

• How do you best interact or connect with your market? ie social media, website, electronic direct mail etc.

Know your strengths, weaknesses

Leverage off your strengths and be prepared to surround yourself with reliable and skilled people to fill any gaps and minimise any weaknesses. Preparing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis will ensure you are well-positioned to cover any potential shortfalls by turning them into a real advantage.

Networking & Event Opportunities

Learn from the success of others who have blazed the same trails. Attend regular events where there is an opportunity to network, share experiences/insights and gain advice from other business owners in your local community e.g. Business Network International (BNI), Business and Professional Women New Zealand (BPWNZ), Chamber of Commerce.

Be prepared to do the mahi

Perseverance, hard work and dedication go hand-in-hand with any new business. Ensuring you put in all the initial groundwork in the early stages (short to medium term) will help to build a great business. People who are successful in business are usually extremely persistent — they believe in what they are offering and find workable solutions in which to navigate through the challenges and difficult times.