So, you have an idea and an entrepreneurial spirit? And you want to make the most of these attributes and channel your passion into a business? That’s great! When it comes to working out how to start a business things can seem very overwhelming, very quickly. There are a number of steps you need to consider before jumping in. Here we will discuss the basics of business and guide you through some of the most important factors you need to know.
What is business?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a business is “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.” Further to this, in their book, “Business,” Professors William Pride, Robert Hughes, and Jack Kapoor state that business is “the organised effort of individuals to produce and sell, for a profit, the goods, and services that satisfy society’s needs.”
In other words, to profit in business, you must provide a service, product or good that meets a need of society in some way.
Key business skills and knowledge
When starting your own business, you should have fundamental skills and experience in several key areas. Or at least be prepared to invest some time to learn about them:
Invest in time management and learning the skills you need to be able to prioritise tasks. Above all, staying organised will help you to stay focused and feel less stressed.
Invest and learn to use tools that aid in keeping your business organised, marketing your business, and streamlining day-to-day operations.
To thrive in business, you need to understand how your selected industry works. Learn from other businesses that do it well and try to improve on what they offer.
Keep up-to-date with everything happening in your industry. The variety of tools and methods utilised in the business world are ever-changing. Dedicate yourself to continuous learning and improvement.
Basics of business
When you have decided to dive in and start your own business, a business plan is vital in preparing you for what’s ahead. You need to consider all aspects and create an outline of how your business will operate. In doing so, this will help you avoid any mistakes and make sure you have everything covered. Therefore, consider the basics of business:
1. Product or service
Whatever you are selling, you need a way to sell it. Will it be online, based out of a physical store? Or both? Where will you source the product? If it’s a service you are selling, how will you provide it to your customers? Research other businesses that provide a similar product or service for ideas on what may, or may not be effective.
2. Customer service
Work out how you will provide your customers with the best possible customer service. Think about the complete sale process from point of sale to managing feedback, complaints, and after-sale support. What can you offer that will make you stand out from the rest?
You need to let people know about your business and hopefully pique their interest enough to find out more. In order to achieve this, you need to develop a marketing strategy. Think about your target audience. Who do you want to sell to? What kind of customer would be interested in your product or service? And how will you reach them? Consider marketing your brand on social media, creating a website and email marketing. These are powerful tools for connecting with and informing potential customers about your business.
Grow your business with Square email marketing software.
It’s important to ensure you have enough capital to build and launch your product or service. A solid business plan will be very important in securing funding for your business. In other words, if you do not already have capital at your disposal you will need to have a strong proposal to impress the bank of your business’s viability.
5. Team management
How many people will you need in your team? Are you going solo, working in a partnership, or are you creating a company? Depending on how well your business is performing, ensure you have the staff you need, whether it’s permanent employees, part-time or casual staff, or hiring freelancers ad hoc. Utilise the various recruitment tools available in your area or online to find new staff, such as online employment websites, classifieds, and freelance sites.
Your vision is essentially the driving force that made you want to start a business in the first place. What is the overall purpose of your business? Your goals and aims? How do you want your business to operate? These questions will help you determine the direction of your business, understand what you want to achieve, and provide the basis of every decision you make moving forward.
Essential business equipment and software
Business basics 101 – you need the right resources to do the job. Whether you are selling a product or a service, you will require some form of technology for your business to run effectively. Here are a few go-to’s:
Whatever the scope of your business you will need a computer. From managing communications and handling financial concerns, to marketing and online retailing, you will require a laptop, tablet, or PC to handle day-to-day operations.
2. Point of Sale (POS)
If you have a front-of-house operation or a physical shopfront, you will need the ability to process payments, both in cash and electronically. Square offers a simple solution to all your POS hardware needs including a fully integrated POS register, EFTPOS terminal, and credit card reader.
In today’s world, a business benefits from a strong online presence to help reach your customers. A website will help you increase your SEO, but can also provide a platform on which you can sell your products or services. An online store will allow customers to view and purchase your products electronically. Square offers free website solutions to fit your business, from retail sales and restaurant orders to appointment bookings and accepting membership fees.
4. Invoicing software
Your business model may allow your customers to receive services prior to payment. This means you will need to produce, issue, and track invoices. For a solution that saves time and gets you paid faster, Square Invoices accepts payments 24/7 at the click of a button and will issue automatic reminders to customers.
5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Manage your business relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers with CRM software. You can use data to analyse trends and develop targeted marketing campaigns to engage with your customers and grow your business.
6. Accounting software
The other side of business – keeping up with your finances and tax requirements. You will need to effectively manage your accounts, budget, and reconcile your transactions to run a successful business. There are a number of accounting packages available online that will help you stay organised and make tax reporting simple.