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Getting Started In Small Business For Dummies, Third Australian and New Zealand Edition



Getting Started In Small Business For Dummies, Third Australian and New Zealand Edition

Veechi Curtis

ISBN: 978-0-730-33392-0 June 2017 200 Pages

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Make a big splash in small business

Have you always wanted to know what it takes to run a successful small business? This easy-to-follow guide offers everything you need to get started. From learning how to create a strong business plan to understanding your financial statments, you'll find expert advice and guidance to turn that next great business idea into a thriving venture.


  • Develop a smart strategy
  • Grasp legal jargon
  • Register your business
  • Market strategically
  • Pinpoint your customers
  • Research your rivals
  • Get your books in order
  • Take on your first employee
  • Boost your profits

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 2

Where to Go from Here 3

Part 1: First Steps 5

Chapter 1: Is Small Business for You? 7

Working for Yourself — A Dream Come True? 8

Doing what you love to do 8

Earning pots of money (here’s hoping) 8

Being your own boss 9

Staying home 10

Working for Yourself — Reality Strikes 11

Teetering on the edge 12

Working night and day for little pay 12

Weathering feast and famine 13

Getting the Timing Right 13

Timing it right for your idea 14

Timing it right for you 15

Timing it right for the economy 16

Staying Safe or Inventing the Wheel? 17

Playing it safe 17

Finding your own niche 18

Going out on a limb 18

Getting the Government to Help You 19

Chapter 2: Buying a Business 23

Weighing Up the Good and the Bad 24

Buying an existing business — the upside 24

Buying an existing business — the downside 25

Asking the Right Questions 26

Finding out who owns the intellectual property 27

Analysing sales trends, profit and break-even 27

Clarifying what the purchase price includes 28

Building a Relationship with the Seller 30

Dotting Your I’s, Crossing Your T’s 31

Part 2: Jump In, Get Wet 35

Chapter 3: Planning for Success 37

Getting Started with Your Plan 38

Hunting for online resources 39

Using specialised planning software 40

Assessing the Environment 40

Analysing outside influences 41

Testing the waters (don’t get too wet) 43

Defining your customers 44

Checking out the competition 44

Declaring Your Battle Plan 46

Looking at your strengths and weaknesses 46

Choosing a strategy 48

Expressing your competitive advantage 49

Building your online business strategy 51

Developing your marketing plan 52

Creating a team 53

Charting a True Course 53

Setting off on your mission 53

Saying what you’re about 54

Matching goals to your mission 55

Presenting Financials 56

Balancing dreams against reality 56

Building on history to create a picture of the future 57

Staying real with benchmarks 58

Chapter 4: Getting the Legals Right 61

Picking a Business Structure 62

Independent and single 63

Tea for two 64

We’ve got company 65

Matching the Name to the Game 65

Using your own name 67

Making sure you’re not on someone else’s patch 67

Registering your business name (Australia only) 70

Avoiding trouble (Australia only) 71

Protecting Your Ideas and Your Name 71

Registering with the Powers That Be 73

Getting that baby’s number 73

Signing up for taxes (unavoidable, I’m afraid) 74

Checking out what else you need 75

Chapter 5: Creating Your Marketing Plan 77

Laying Down the Elements of Your Plan 78

Writing a decent introduction 79

Identifying what it is that makes you different 79

Defining Your Target Market 80

Analysing your customers 81

Researching the market 81

Analysing Your Competitors 82

Setting Sales Targets 84

Slicing goals into bite-sized chunks 84

Expressing goals in other ways 85

Creating Strategies to Support Your Targets 87

Building a brand that people want 87

Getting the products and the price right 88

Planning an advertising strategy 90

Working your networks 91

Part 3: The Nitty-Gritty 95

Chapter 6: Becoming an Employer 97

Becoming an Employer: The First Steps 98

Getting employees to fulfil their part of the deal 98

Covering employees for accidents 100

Subscribing to super (Australia only) 101

Paying KiwiSaver (New Zealand only) 104

Meeting Minimum Pay and Conditions 106

Understanding what laws apply (Australia only) 107

Creating employment agreements (New Zealand only) 108

Choosing between part-time, full-time or casual 110

Playing Safe and Playing Fair 111

Being practical, not pedantic 111

Blonde jokes are over 112

Chapter 7: Cooking the Books 115

Setting Off on the Right Track 115

Understanding how cloud accounting works 116

Addressing privacy concerns 117

Figuring out what’s important 119

Creating a Bookkeeping System 121

Keeping track of bills, receipts and invoices 122

Organising your information 124

Nitpicking over petty cash 126

Tracking How Much You Owe 127

Chapter 8: Understanding Financial Statements 129

Telling a Story with Your Profit & Loss Report 130

Understanding how it all works 130

Looking at sales 131

Counting the costs 132

Weighing up your expenses 134

Taking a Snapshot with Your Balance Sheet 134

Understanding the fine print 136

Building documentation to support each figure 137

Appreciating your net worth (someone has to, after all) 137

Why Profit Doesn’t Always Mean Cash 138

Gazing into the deep, black hole 139

Looking through rose-coloured spectacles 139

Doing the sums for sustainable growth 140

Budgeting As If You Mean It 141

Creating your first budget 142

Recognising relationships 144

Understanding the psychology of budgets 145

Developing your budget in tune with your business plan 146

Chapter 9: Calculating Margins and Ratios 149

Understanding Profit Margins 150

Differentiating between variable costs and fixed expenses 150

Understanding gross and net profit 151

Figuring gross and net profit margins 152

Looking at gross profit margins over time 153

Appreciating how margins and sales connect 154

Analysing Margins for Your Own Business 155

Calculating margins when you sell products 155

Calculating margins when you charge by the hour 156

Calculating margins if you do big projects 157

Understanding why gross profit is such a big deal 158

Calculating your net profit margin 159

Estimating Your Break-Even Point 161

Analysing how to make sales match expenses 162

Looking at things from a cash perspective 163

Factoring your personal expenses into the equation 164

Part 4: The Part of Tens 167

Chapter 10: Ten Things to Do If You Hit Hard Times 169

Work Out How Bad Things Really Are 170

Get Breathing Space 171

Innovate! 172

Slash Those Expenses 172

Pull Back Personal Spending 173

Get Rid of Dead Weight 174

Chase Up Overdue Accounts 175

Run Special Offers 175

Re-Jig Your Margins 176

Don’t Be a Shag on a Rock 177

Index 179