How to get your new business off to a flying start
When you’re starting a new business there’s no time to waste, so setting it up properly from the start is important. Here are some tips to give you a great chance of success.
Why do some start-ups fly while others struggle – or even fail? Based on our experience of working with business start-ups across New Zealand, here are some tips and insights to make it easier for you to get off to a great start.
Start with a solid business plan
Flourishing businesses have one thing in common – a solid business plan. But it’s surprising how many people start a new business without one, and wonder why they struggle. Your business plan is your roadmap – and without a map, you risk losing your way.
Take time to think through your business plan before you take the leap. It should show exactly what:
Your business goals and objectives are
Your budget and forecasts are for your business
Your competitive advantages are; and
Your key risks are and how you’ll manage them.
Don’t be daunted – it’s not as hard as you might think. Your business plan doesn’t have to be horribly long or complicated. It’s simply a meaningful summary and map of the steps you need to take to achieve your business goals.
This is important at any time, but particularly so in the first few months. Small businesses don’t always make money from day one but the longer you run at a loss, the harder it will be to succeed. If you need help, ask for it early.
When you’re running your own business it’s natural to think everything’s important. But you can waste a lot of time and energy doing things that don’t really matter. Prioritising how you spend your time is the key to achieving your goals – and keeping your sanity!
Write a to-do list, then mark the most important things and focus on them. Only move on to other things when your priority tasks are completed.
Have a sounding board
Running a business can be lonely. Having people you can talk to and bounce ideas off can make all the difference. Advisers such as your accountant and lawyer can provide valuable advice and so can a business mentor. An ANZ Business Specialist is also an invaluable resource. Check out our article on Building your business network to find out more.
Generate quick sales
Generate quick sales with a targeted promotional plan
A new business needs customers – and sales – fast. A targeted promotional plan for the first 90 days will help you get them. Here are some tips on how to develop one.
Aim before you fire
Don’t waste precious time and money with a ‘scattergun’ marketing approach. All marketing works better when it’s targeted, so build a profile of your customers. Be as precise as possible. For example, if you’re selling technical equipment to the health industry, you might want to target purchasing managers of hospitals and clinics with more than 50 staff.
Set specific objectives for your promotions
For example, your objectives might be:
If you’re offering a subscription service, to gain 1,000 customers in the first 90 days.
If you’re opening a café, to achieve 600 customer visits and a turnover of $7,000 a week.
If you’re an online business, to achieve 2,000 website hits a week with a 5% conversion rate.
Don’t forget to measure how well you achieved your goals and refine your tactics if necessary.
Choose tactics to suit your target and objectives
Once you’ve defined your target customer and objectives, think about promotional tactics that match them. Brainstorm 10-15 potential tactics, these could be:
An ad in a trade journal or a direct mail campaign for a business selling to other businesses.
An email newsletter complemented by social media marketing for an online business.
Flyers in mailboxes and an ad in a community newspaper for a plumbing business.
Radio ads and cycling event sponsorship for a café on a popular cycling route.
Launch with a splash
Let people know you exist with a launch that gets attention. For example, can you invite some well-known people to the launch or create a launch event that gets media (or social media) coverage?
This material is provided as a complimentary service of ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited ("bank"). It is prepared based on information and sources the bank believes to be reliable. It is subject to change and is not a substitute for commercial judgement or professional advice, which should be sought prior to acting in reliance on it. To the extent permitted by law the bank disclaims liability or responsibility to any person for any direct or indirect loss or damage that may result from any act or omission by any person in relation to the material.
This material is for information purposes only. Its content is intended to be of a general nature, does not take into account your financial situation or goals, and is not a personalised financial adviser service under the Financial Advisers Act 2008. It is recommended you seek advice from a financial adviser which takes into account your individual circumstances before you acquire a financial product. If you wish to consult an ANZ Business Specialist, please contact us on 0800 269 249.