26 October 2021
Got a great business idea?
How to set yourself up for success and navigate ‘the new normal’.
The last couple of years have been undeniably tough on small businesses forced to weather the pandemic and the associated economic downturn. It has been a time of uncertainty that has tested the strength and resilience of even the most seasoned of operators.
By definition, ‘resilience’ is the ability to rebound or recover, and now many people are drawing on theirs to start something new. If you have an idea for a business, or even a kernel of one, we want to help you get your wheels in motion.
Starting a business in ‘the new normal’
A lot has changed in the last couple of years in the way we work, shop and live. With daily life gradually becoming something more recognisable, it’s not necessarily a bad time to start a business, especially if your product or service helps people live their lives better or caters to their needs right now.
During the pandemic, the businesses who responded quickly and redefined their niche not only survived but thrived. Take Australia’s Stagekings, whose quick pivot from creating theatre sets to home office furniture saved the company. Others went from distilling gin to pumping out hand sanitiser.
Equally, as we step forward into the ‘new normal’, it comes down to having the right offering at the right time or solving a problem (or need) the customer didn’t have before.
So how do you work out if your new business idea is sound? Start by asking yourself these five thought-starters:
1. Have I identified a new need that customers have? Is this need likely to continue in the next few years?
2. Is my product or service better than the current alternatives? Am I doing it differently, or just recreating old business models?
3. Will I have enough time and money to start this business? Can I keep it going until my business is profitable?
4. Do I have the right experience or qualifications to solve this customer problem? Can I hire others (freelance or consultant) or find a co-founder to help me if I need it?
5. What are my legal obligations? Will I need to set up a company? An ABN? What about paying tax? What kind of business or professional indemnity insurance might I need?
While it sounds like a lot to think about, if you can answer most of these questions with a solid yes and you’re across what needs to be done from a legal perspective, you could be well on the way to setting up your new business.
Where to next? Turning your idea into something more tangible. Business Australia has put together a great step-by-step guide that can help you take the next steps, from seeking feedback to putting together a prototype.
Why right now could be the right time
From a financial perspective, with interest rates currently low it could be a good time to borrow capital to launch your business. You might find rent is currently more affordable as landlords try to fill empty spaces vacated by businesses that were forced to close. And you could pick up cheaper equipment as businesses sell off their inventory.
In addition, many people lost their jobs during the pandemic, which means for you as a potential employer, there’s a deep pool of skilled people out there.
Need some help?
There are some great online resources that can help you get your business up and running - and stay that way. Here are a few to get you started:
Business Australia is a great resource for any small-to-medium enterprise, with loads of helpful, practical advice on everything from managing cash flow to where to apply for business grants. Membership is free and you only need an ABN to join. The site has useful guides, templates and links to all kinds of resources a new business will need, all in one place.
With Health and Safety more of a priority than ever before, ensuring your staff, customers and suppliers are safe has never been more important. SafeWork Australia has a number of helpful tools and checklists to get you started.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a page dedicated to ‘Starting your own’ business with everything you need to know about getting your business up and running for taxation purposes. It also includes links to help you understand reporting and paying tax, records you need to keep and what you can claim.
Whether your business is a hobby farm or a consultancy, it’s important to know what type of insurance you’ll need. NRMA business insurance is available across Australia, including SA, WA and QLD. We offer many different types of insurance, from public liability to professional indemnity cover. Visit NRMA Insurance for more information or to get a quote.