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Top tips to start or grow your own business

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Australia is a nation of small businesses. In fact, nine out ten of Aussie businesses are small businesses, employing over 40% of our nation’s workforce.

If you’re thinking of starting up a small business and have a business plan ready to put into action, or you already have a small business you’re looking to grow, our business team have put together these handy hints and links.

Apply for an ABN

If you’re looking to start up a business it’s important to ensure that you have an Australian Business Number, commonly referred to as an ABN. It’s pretty easy to get organised, all you have to do is head to the Apply for an ABN page. You can register for an ABN online without charge.

Not everyone is entitled to an ABN. To get an ABN you need to be running a business or other enterprise. To operate as a sole trade, you need to be:

  • Genuinely running your own business;
  • Paying your own income tax and GST directly to the ATO;
  • Sourcing your own clients by, for example, advertising your services;
  • Able to delegate work to others if you choose without approval from an ‘employer’;
  • Quoting for work, including setting or negotiating your own prices;
  • Invoicing for work;
  • Maintaining a business bank account separate from your personal account; and
  • Paying for your own business insurance such as public liability.

It’s important to note that if you’re looking to get started on one of our iiNet business plans, you’ll need to have a registered and active ABN.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics also has a page dedicated to services for small business with information about the community and industry, market research, and tips and tricks. There’s even State and Territory links for your reference.

Buy or lease an office space

When it comes to looking for a HQ for your business it’s important to consider the tech aspects of choosing a business premises. When it comes to the ‘net, here’s what you should keep in mind:

1. What kind of internet is available at the location?

Firstly, you should find out the type of internet technology and whether NBN™ is available at your business address. Consider how you’ll be using your internet to determine which available technology, speed and bandwidth is suitable for your work. For example, will you be sending large files, participating in video conferences, running online backups, and downloading large amounts of content? If so, make sure your internet plan has enough download/upload speed to support your business and your staff on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to keep in mind that hosted phone services such as BizPhone will not work over satellite, NBN™ Fixed Wireless, or mobile broadband.

 2. Is there already cabling installed?

If there isn’t cabling already installed at your business premises, just as you would if you moved house, you’ll need to spend the money to get it installed. When it comes to getting the cabling connected be sure to identify where the Ethernet and phone ports are located. These ports should be close to where you plan to have your equipment including your modem, computers and phones and in areas such as the receptionist desk and main office space. If you’re planning to make use of video conferencing, don’t forget to consider the cabling and location of ports for the screen or projector.

 3. WiFi and mobile coverage

Consider what the WiFi coverage is like between each room and from the front to the back of the premises. If your business relies on mobile phones, you should also look into the mobile coverage in that area to ensure there are no black spots around or inside the workplace.

You’ll find more information on what you need to know when building or moving in our blog Building an NBN™-ready home.

Payment systems and your internet

If your business relies on EFTPOS and HICAPS systems, surveillance cameras and alarms, fax machines or photo copiers, you’ll need to think about whether your existing equipment will work at your new premises. If you’re in an NBN™ area, you’ll need to make sure they’re compatible with the NBN™ technology so be sure to speak to your suppliers to find out. You should also consider where they’ll be located to determine the cabling you’ll need to make sure your devices will be close to Ethernet ports or at least receive good WiFi coverage.

Get Online

The whole world is online nowadays. In fact, internet users make up 85.1% of the Australian population so it makes sense to ensure you join them to ensure your business is visible. Getting online means creating a website and developing social media pages for your business. Creating these platforms will make your business easy to find and even easier for customers to communicate with.

Developing a website adds credibility to your business and provides customers with a place for them to view your product and service offerings and easily get in contact with you. According to the Sensis e-Business Report 2016, 60% of Small/Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with websites believe it’s improved the effectiveness of their business.

While social media platforms are popular, search marketing and website development is still essential to promote your businesses online. Additionally, with users wanting to find what they’re looking for in seconds with search engines such as Google and Bing, having a website will help your business appear in search engine results.

Consumers on social media tend to have different intent when browsing their feeds, compared to those looking on a search engine. Utilising different online platforms will allow you to grab the attention of your customers across multiple platforms, piquing their interest whether they’re buying, window shopping, researching, or just looking to engage with your content. When it comes to social media, don’t look at each platform by itself. Instead, utilise a range of platforms to complement your existing marketing activity and digital assets (such as your website) to strengthen your online presence. You’ll also be able to analyse your metrics and website data allowing you to better segment and target your audiences online.

If you’re looking for some tips and resources on how to get started with your social media presence, check out these links on the Australian Government business website.

Have you started up a small business? Share your best piece of advice with us in the comments.

 

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2 comments

  1. Aamer says:

    Hi There, I moved to iiNet NBN50 from Telstra a week back. My house is single story open plan with FTTN connection. My problem is iiNet NBN router connection drops from devices due to distance with the house. It is common to have 15-25 meters distance from router within the house. I was not facing this challenge when I was using Telstra router. My request to iiNet is give your customer device that can do the job for customer instead of asking customer install extenders as this is common distance within the houses from last 12+ years. It is not easy for most customers to figure out the issue, resulting frustration n support calls! Think what’s worth quality device OR customer frustration n support calls n how one support call cost.

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