Starting a small business can be beyond challenging. Working extra long hours and juggling tasks to keep the business going, it can often feel like you’re all alone, struggling to keep it all together. But, there is help available.
Yet, so many small business owners avoid asking for help even when there are so many resources available to them.
So whether you’re starting a new business, buying an existing one or just need help in the day-to-day running of your business, know that there is help available and it’s closer than you think.
How to start a business
If you’re thinking about starting a business, you probably already have an idea in mind, but there are a few questions to ask yourself before you start, such as:
This is where websites such as the New Zealand Business website can prove invaluable, guiding you through the steps to building a strong business foundation.
Financing your business
Whether you are going to outlay your initial capital yourself or borrow the startup money, talking to your bank is still vitally important. Many banks offer startup packs to new businesses that include fee-free accounts, low interest rate credit cards, lending and Point of Sale systems (EFTPOS machines).
Take advantage of free online tools and classes in your local area to gain as much financial knowledge as quickly as possible and learn more about the government grants system to see if your business idea is also able to access financial support from the government.
Running your business
When you know the structure and base of your business are sound and steady you can begin growing (or scaling) your business without getting buried in the emotional weight that comes when you are starting your venture.
Learning new skills such as hiring staff, managing employer contributions and payroll early means your business can scale more rapidly without adding any extra stress as you transition into a leadership mindset rather than that of an employee.
You can even register for the Regional Business Partner Network to receive advice, make connections and learn from business advisors, while building your profile in the entrepreneur community. Some business owners find wonderful support in paying for a small-business mentorship, which can provide hands on coaching in how to run your business more effectively.
Protecting your business
Don’t underestimate the importance of protecting your intellectual property (IP) and copyrighting any products or services created by your business. In New Zealand, “a patent gives you a legal right to stop others from making, using, or selling something you have invented for up to 20 years.”
Understanding when and how to protect your intellectual property is vitally important. As is learning what to do when you feel as though your confidence has been breached by another business or individual.
Depending on the type of IP you own and how it was breached, there are New Zealand enforcement agencies able to assist, but first you’ll need to consult with either a patent attorney or a legal professional specialising in intellectual property.
Starting a new business comes with a steep learning curve, long hours (most likely without a salary) and a completely new mindset shift from employee to entrepreneur.
Don’t guess your way through it. Accept help and seek out support when you need it. With so many free resources available, there is no reason to suffer in silence.