By Fiona Barden
Starting a business can be both an exhilarating and daunting experience. It’s an unbeatable feeling to be starting out on your own, charting your own destiny and calling the shots. However, it can also be a little overwhelming, especially having to get your head around all the other aspects of running a business apart from just selling goods and/or services such as IT, marketing, budgeting and finances etc. The good news is there are a lot of support services available to help you navigate your way.
- The Australian government’s website www.business.gov.au which provides how-to-guides on starting a business.
- Enterprise & Training Company (ETC) located in Grafton Street Coffs Harbour offers up to 6 hours of face-to-face mentoring for start-up and small businesses, at no cost to you, through the NSW Government’s Small Biz Connect Program.
- Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce and relevant Industry Associations.
- Specialist training courses covering a variety of business aspects are run on a regular basis in by ETC and other training providers. For example, there are currently workshops running on how to get the most out of digital technology in your business. If you are in Coffs Harbour check out www.coffsdigitalenterprise.com.au for more information.
Philip Babbage of PCB Architectural Drafting knows all too well about the challenges faced by start-up businesses.
“One of the biggest challenges I faced when I stepped up my building design business from part-time to full-time in October last year, was being courageous enough to price jobs in such a way that covered the hours I was putting into them,” Mr Babbage said.
“I went to see ETC for advice because I wanted to give myself the best shot at running my own businesses and found them very helpful; particularly helping me clarify my goals, developing a marketing plan, being conscious of time management and most of all building my confidence in my abilities.”
As an ETC Business Advisor, these are my top tips for anyone starting out in business:
- Develop a Business Plan – one page is enough to start with and keep you focussed on your objectives and key action areas.
- Develop a Marketing Plan – Marketing is often overlooked by start-up businesses. It is essential to let people know who you are, what you can offer and how you can benefit people.
- Get advice from as many sources as possible. There are a number of organisations out there that provide free business advice. Make contact with them.
- Engage consultants to manage specialist areas of the business such as Accountants, IT professionals, Graphic Designers, Website Developers etc.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
For further information on starting a business, or if you need help growing an existing business contact Fiona in our Coffs Harbour on 6648 5400, or Aden and Marilyn in Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Taree on 6584 2810.