I remember the day I was working on my first big client’s accounts. I was working in a large accounting firm and I had just finalised their working file. I went to calculate their tax liability and it was huge, like more than my house is worth! I was really worried I had done something wrong on the data entry, so I got out my calculator and reviewed my figures.
No, that is what tax he owed.
I quickly gathered up my files and went into my senior’s office and asked what should we do? I knew my client was not expecting a bill to be this big.
He told me there was nothing he could do, until I had a time machine there was nothing to do. The fact was my client had traded as a certain entity and that is what the accounting was done for. We couldn’t go back in time to change it (to potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax).
So, I’m going to walk you through the 10 things you must do before launching your business unless, of course, you own a time machine.
Business Legal Structure
It’s time to set up your business and the structure you are going to be trading under. In Australia, we have a number of different structures that we can use – Company, Family Trust, Partnership, and Sole Trader are the main ones.
A lot of people when starting out go straight to sole trader, it’s easy to do yourself and costs next to nothing. However, I recommend sitting down with your accountant because depending on your forecasted income, potential liabilities and your personal assets, a sole trader structure might not be the best choice.
The biggest issue my client had was he set up his own business. He wanted to save the few hundred dollars it was going to cost to get professional help. So he became a sole trader.hen his business soared he had to take all the income as his own in that financial year.
So remember, don’t just think of the now in starting your business, think of your future goals so you can set up the right structure from the beginning and into the future, and, more importantly, not have to create a whole extra set of accounts when moving structures.
Find your accountant
Find yourself an accountant you really like and who understands your industry. Here is the thing – you can’t know everything about everything and while your accountant might be really good and their current clients love them if they have no previous knowledge about your industry they probably aren’t the right accountants for you.
There are so many different laws around Australia and the world in relation to our state and federal tax laws, so I think it’s really important to have a person that is over all of those laws to support you in your growth.
Also, remember your accountant is probably the first hire you’ll make in your business so you need to make sure you actually want to be working with them. You need to trust them and feel like they are the right member of your team.
Business Bank Account, Stripe & PayPal
Next, you’ll need to have a place where people will be able to pay you – I mean isn’t that the most important part of this?
Like with your accountant, it’s important to sign up to a bank that you like, There are many different banks and credit unions in Australia. The one thing you’ll need to realise is that even if you are a sole trader you’ll still be required to have a business bank account. This is for 2 reasons.
- From the accounting side of your business to claim the expenses (eg the bank fees) it needs to be in your business name not just your personal name and
- Many banks have terms and conditions that require you to be registered as a business account. The scary thing is, if you are found to be trading in a personal account they can withhold access to your funds for a period of time or just close your account altogether.
Even though you might be sitting on your couch working in yoga pants you need to make sure you are properly insured. We don’t like to think that bad things will happen but unfortunately, things do go wrong and when you know that you have the right insurance in place it’s a whole lot easier to move on from the situation.
Bookkeeping – Tracking – income, expenses, mileage
Before you launch your business you need a bookkeeping system in place to be tracking your income and expenses. Even if your initial system is a spreadsheet, you’ll save a lot of stressful nights trying to collate the information in the future to get your tax done!
If you set up good practices around business and money now, they’ll help you grow and scale faster in the future. You’ll be able to make decisions quickly with all the information at hand.
Register your domain names
If you are building an online business you’ll be needing to register your domain name and create a hosting account (you can see my favourite here) so you can build your website.
Once you’ve decided what domain you’ll be registering I suggest purchasing all extensions and possible variations of your domain to protect your brand from tailcoat riders as well as domain sharks who’ll purchase your variations and then sell it back to you at an exorbitant price.
Website – social media doesn’t count
Great, now you have your domain and hosting it’s time to build your website, by the way, social media is not your website and it’s not a replacement for your website.
I recommend getting started with a template website because until you have refined your busy model, and trust me – you’ll refine your business model during the start-up phase. A template gives you the ability to make updates and changes without having the added expense of having to contact your developer.
However, I will disclaim here, if this is not your jam – outsource and don’t let it stop you from moving forward.
Create your content plan
We are almost ready to launch, but first, we need to create and implement our content plan. Consistent content on your website and social media accounts are going to open your business up to a larger audience.
The reason I think creating a content plan is important when starting out is so that you can be clear on your objectives for each piece of content and start to create your profit streams. If you want to find out more about planning your content to check out “Cash In Your Content”.
I love email marketing! The biggest regret I have in starting out online was not building my email list earlier! Even if you haven’t built your Profit Streams yet, create an opt in form on your website to start capturing emails. Then head over to Money For Jam and learn more about how you can convert these email accounts for cash in the bank.
Finally, it’s time to get social!
Social media is an incredible tool to meet and engage with your audience, while it shouldn’t be the basis of your whole marketing strategy it’s time to share your new business on the social waves.
While I don’t think you should be on all social media platforms – because: hello burnout – I do suggest going on to each profile and trying to create an account to save your business name to prevent anyone else doing so, as it’s always best to protect your brand from any confusion in the future.
Congratulations, now it’s time to launch!
It’s over to you, have you learned any lessons in growing your business that you would like to share, leave the comments, and while you’re here don’t forget to subscribe to this channel.