Home' Border Enterprise : Winter-Spring 2010 Contents Q&A
Q I have an idea for a small business but
no start-up funds. Where can I find out about
any possible grants or assistance offering
small business start-up advice?
A. A few thoughts but certainly not all the
possible contacts. Success with any small
business depends on practical elements of
research and planning. Find out as much as
possible through your research. Ask plenty
of questions, look for infor mation and links,
research more links, ask more questions
and ar m yourself with as much infor mation
as possible. You will be far more likely to
succeed as a result.
While many small businesses fail to see their
way through the first one or two years, many
others make it. "People don't plan to fail, they
just fail to plan." So don't underestimate the
value of research and planning.
Other elements to value are vision and
deter mination. Your business idea might
be an absolute gem, so don't sell yourself
short. Very successful business people like
entrepreneur Dick Smith, Justin Herald
(Attitude Clothing) and Gerry Harvey
(Harvey Nor man) started businesses from
humble beginnings but were ar med with
self-belief, vision and determination.
They went out and did what they had to
do to be successful. Find a good accountant
--- someone you can talk over financial and
business issues with. If you are unemployed,
have a look at the New Enterprise Incentive
Scheme (neis.com.au), which is funded
through the Department of Education,
Employment and Workplace Relations
(deewr.gov.au). Get in touch with your local
council. Many offer support to new local
businesses through mentoring and assistance
with securing cost-effective premises.
Check out related state gover nment
departments (their websites can offer great
ideas, leads, etc) including Business Victoria
(business.vic.gov.au), NSW Small Business
(www.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au). Major banks
can supply infor mation about getting started.
The inter net will lead you to plenty of useful
Q I have a medium-sized business that
is surviving the tougher economic times. I
have good staff but I am concerned about
how some may be handling the doom and
gloom news that seems to be around. Is there
anything extra I could do to support them?
A. For starters --- good on you. You are
considering issues and looking for positive
responses that can potentially make a big
difference for your staff and your business.
Beyond Blue (beyondblue.org.au) is an
outstanding organisation providing very
practical support for people trying to cope
with depression, anxiety or related alcohol
and drug problems.
According to Beyond Blue, undiagnosed
depression in the workplace costs more than
$4.3 billion in lost productivity and every
full-time employee with untreated depression
can cost a business more than $9500 a year,
with cost issues including staff absences and
Beyond Blue also estimates about 62 per
cent of people with depression don't get help,
while research shows that early diagnosis
and intervention programs can result in a
five-fold retur n on a business's investment as
a result of increased productivity.
Taking all that into account, employers
everywhere should be looking at support
programs on offer through Beyond Blue,
including a national workplace program,
workplace services and resources and a
range of industry-specific initiatives.
Employers and employees can contact
Beyond Blue on (03) 9810 6100 or by email to
Q I'm thinking about starting my own
business. I have considerable working
experience. Do you have any advice?
A. You will find useful advice about starting
your own business through contact with good
accountants and financial advisers, banks
and both gover nment and private sector
sources found on the inter net.
Any infor mation you discover needs to
be thoughtfully considered (particularly if it
comes with dollar costs).
If you are thinking of linking with
advertised business offers, please be
careful about committing your hard-ear ned
money without fully checking how reputable
and reliable the business offers may be.
You need to consider your financial
commitment (set-up costs and ongoing costs)
and the market for the product or services
you are going to offer through your new
business (will people want to use or buy what
you are offering?).
A reliable support, such as a chartered
accountant, could be of great benefit in
advising you about safer steps to take to
enhance your business plans.
Sources such as related industry
associations, chambers of commerce and
local councils that may have links to your
fields of interest are also likely to be useful
contacts in your planning.
Planning really is crucial. Given many new
businesses fail to get through the first year or
two, the adage that "people don't plan to fail,
they just fail to plan" really can hold true.
Do as much planning and research as
possible before starting a business. Talk with
as many reputable people as possible and
consider many options, supportive advice
and critical concer ns that may be raised.
The more you know --- the more infor mation
you can consider --- then the more likely you
will be to make better decisions.
Successful businesses grow from a solid
base of planning and infor mation gathering.
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