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Working for yourself

Nothing’s as rewarding as being your own boss - it’s a chance to shape your future and show your entrepreneurial flair. But there’s also a lot to think about.

The secret is to plan ahead so you can be prepared for anything. By building a solid plan and a financial safety net before you start, you can deal with the unexpected and take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.

While a lot depends on the kind of business you want to start, there are some fundamentals no new business can afford to ignore. So here are some must-do tasks for your start-up checklist.

  • It all looks good on paper — but will it work in practice? Before you launch your business, you need to test your idea by researching demand in your target market, then think about how much of that market you’re likely to capture.
  • A competitor analysis will give you an insight into how crowded the market is and how other businesses present themselves. Are you offering something new or better than the rest? What is your unique point of difference? How will you market your idea to stand out from your competition?
  • Writing a business plan is a great way to refine your vision, goals and strategies, then translate them into a practical action plan. Download our business plan toolkit to get started.

  • Without cash in the bank, even the best business idea can fail. So a detailed financial plan is a must. Our financial plan template will help guide you through the process.
  • The idea is to add up all your start-up costs and discover how much capital you’ll need or how much you’ll need to borrow. Then build a detailed forecast of each month’s sales and operating costs to calculate cashflow and profitability.
  • Be realistic when you plan. It’s great to be optimistic, but over-estimating cashflow today could cost you dearly tomorrow.

  • If your financial plan stacks up, it’s time to get down to the administrative essentials. Start by registering your business name in the state you plan to trade in, then applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • If your turnover is more than $75,000 per year, you’ll also need to register for GST.
  • Don’t forget to register your domain name. Having the right URL could make or break your business if you plan to sell or promote yourself online.

Even if you’re a sole trader, you are not your business. So it’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate. If you’re a CommBank customer, you can open a Business Transaction Account in just a few minutes online, then add a Business Online Saver to make the most of cash on hand.

  • Cash flow is the fuel that keeps your business running so you’ll need to work out how you’ll accept payment from your customers. Obviously the faster your customers pay you, the better, so it’s good to get across the latest technology options for online payments or if you’re receiving payment in person. For example, the Emmy and  Small Business app lets you create estimates and invoices on your compatible smartphone or tablet and accept payments on the spot, using your mobile phone or tablet as a mobile merchant terminal.
  • Every new business is likely to face a cash flow gap from time to time, when bills arrive faster than customer payments. A Business Overdraft or Business Credit Card can help you take care of expenses while you’re waiting to get paid.

  • Your business is your livelihood, so you’ll need to pay yourself a wage. That means balancing your needs against the needs of the business, so you can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve while re-investing money to help your business prosper and grow.
  • Don’t forget to pay yourself super. Retirement may seem a long way off, but the sooner you start saving the better. An easy to understand super account like Essential Super lets you see it alongside your other accounts in NetBank.

There’s plenty to think about, especially when you’re just starting out. That’s why it’s important to get great advice and profit from the experience of others. If in doubt, talk to our Business Banking Specialists

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product or taxation advice. Taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws and may be subject to change. You should consider seeking independent financial or taxation advice before making any decision based on this information.

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