Understand the Key Factors Impacting on Your Business Success

Tips for your businessLooking to improve your business success? As a business owner, you’re already aware of the areas you could focus on to improve your business.

Before you start implementing changes to improve your business, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a full understanding of the factors impacting on your business success. Get up and running with these six powerful tips:

Create a business plan

Business plans can be daunting. Begin by outlining your vision and your mission. A summary of what you are trying to achieve and why your business exists. Set out your goals and objectives and outline the strategies you are going to put in place to achieve them.

Business plans are best kept simple and to the point unless you are looking for funding or investors, at which point you would write a more comprehensive business plan. For more information on business plans, the Business Victoria website has useful information.

From my experience, I found writing our business plan very useful as we had a huge number of ideas about what directions our business could take. By writing our business plan, we were able to focus on what the key activities of 2 Peas should be. We have been able to concentrate on those areas and stop spending time on areas that were not central to our business.

Select and register your business name and domain name

Check to see that the business name you have selected is available by searching the business name register on the ASIC Connect website. Before registering your business name I recommend that you check whether the domain name is also available.

Make sure that the business name you are using is consistent across all platforms, including any social media channels you are planning to use. A successful business name should be memorable, easy to spell, and have a positive connotation.

In our case, we had set up our business name – 2 Peas Pty Ltd – but hadn’t bought our website at the same time. When it was time to set up our website, we weren’t able to buy www.2peas.com.au. We had to settle for www.twopeas.com.au instead. From Google’s perspective, it’s better to have the same website name as your business name.

Set up your business structure

It’s important to choose the business structure that best suits your needs. Engaging an accountant or advisor could assist you with the setup. The structure can always be changed as your business grows. Some of the structure types include sole trader, company, trust or partnership.

The business structure can have long-term consequences.

For example, with income tax if you set up as a company, every dollar of profit is taxed at the company taxation rate. One client we know was shocked to be taxed at 30 percent on the company profit when their personal tax rate was much lower. Other options for their business structure could have been as a sole trader (and been taxed at the personal tax rate) or as a trust (and distribute the profits to the trustees and get taxed at the trustee tax rate). This is not tax advice. Please talk to your accountant about the correct structure for your personal situation.

Apply for your Australian Business Number (ABN)

An ABN is a unique number provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Obtaining an ABN is an easy online process which takes less than half an hour to complete. You are required to provide lots of personal and business information in this application.

We know one business who started operating and was taking cash payments without having an ABN. Fortunately we became aware of this before the first BAS payment was due and the client was able reissue their invoices with the correct ABN on it. They did not need to register for GST as their business income was below the threshold required. It was important for them to get the ABN because other businesses are legally required to withhold 49 percent as of 2015 from all amounts due if there is no ABN quoted. Many businesses will not deal with a supplier that has no ABN due to the paperwork required.

Set up online accounting software

A lot of new businesses struggle to stay on top of their financials. It’s very important to set up your accounting software as early as possible to help you streamline your record keeping and give you the ability to see how your business is progressing. It is crucial to identify early if you are spending more than you are making so that you don’t get yourself into strife.

Bookkeeping is made much simpler with online accounting software. Online accounting software helps you manage your BAS, GST compliance reporting and payroll requirements like calculating pay, tracking leave entitlements and managing superannuation payments.

Online accounting software is such a powerful tool! Automation allows you to easily produce financial reports to evaluate how your business is progressing. It enables your accountant, advisor and bookkeeper to work with you anywhere anytime and to collaborate together to help grow your business. It helps identify issues before they become major problems. More importantly, automation frees your time to do what you do best – making sales and growing!

Our clients find that they save many hours per week when they move from manual record keeping to online accounting software.

Differentiate your business

What makes your business different to others in your industry? It is important to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Use your online presence to get your message across.

Email campaigns, blogs and your website are the best way to attract new customers to you. By growing your email database you can direct people back to your website so be sure to keep it updated and fresh! Networking is also a very important aspect of getting your brand out there.

In our case, we have found that engaging a professional to maintain our website – to contribute to blogs (like this one!), be involved in various social media like LinkedIn and Twitter – helps us to rate very well in Google searches and are well known within our industry as a result. We spend no money on print advertising, but new clients regularly find us through our online presence and through referrals from network contacts.

Planning, researching and applying these simple tips will have you on the road to being a successful business owner.

This article first appeared on the MYOB-powered ‘EntreHub’ website titled ‘Six powerful tips to kick your business into shape‘.