Starting a business

You’ve got your business idea. You’re inspired. So what’s next? We take a look at the steps to starting a business.

A small business owner placing a price tag on a lounge chair

1. Start with a 1-page business plan

A short plan helps you lock in the idea, and iron out the rough bits. You can make it longer later.

2. Profile your customer

List key characteristics like:

  • where they are
  • what they care about
  • how much they spend

This will help you refine your product and your marketing.

3. Check out the competition

Figure out who’s competing for the same customers and learn from them. Why have they succeeded? And how could you be better? List their:

  • Weaknesses: Why you can win
  • Strengths: Why winning will be hard

4. Do your numbers

Plot your projected costs on a timeline. Do the same with projected income. You'll run at a loss when you first start a business. How will you make up the shortfall?

Research shows that most businesses do this through owner savings, bank loans, friends and family, or credit cards. Learn more in our guide to finance.

5. Speak to a pro

Check your numbers with a bookkeeper, accountant, or a business mentor. They know how to start a business and will call out gaps in your thinking.

6. Register your business

Contact the tax office to check your sales tax and income tax obligations. And contact the government department for business development to learn what else you may need to do.

After starting a business

So now you know how to start a business, but what comes next? Lots of questions, that’s what. Keep your advisors and mentors close. And look for helpful articles in our small business guides.

The covers of three small business guides

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