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  Explore options of starting your own business before you take the plunge and invest money unwisely. Refer to the Australian Government website www.business.gov.au on how to start your own business and for more useful tips and advice. The following information provided by Australian Government of Science Education and Training provides some good pointers.  
 
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  Get into enterprise:  
  Starting your own business is something you may not have thought about. You do not need a degree, or to be good at business studies, or to have any formal experience to start and run a business. These things can be helpful – but they are not necessary. It all depends on what kind of business you want to run and how you decide to go about it.

People start their own businesses in Australia every day. Some run their businesses part time while studying; others have a stake in the family business; and some run their businesses full time as their regular 'day job'.

There are many reasons to go into business for yourself. You might have a special talent or skill that you really enjoy and want to make a life out of. You might want the flexibility of working from home and setting your own work hours. Or perhaps you like the idea of building something that is all yours – you control the vision, the decisions and the successes.

Starting your own business means you can be flexible about what you choose to do. You will learn very quickly about taking risks, exploring opportunities and overcoming challenges.

It is not for everyone – but it certainly is an option you might like to consider.

Where to start:

So how do you know if self-employment is the right career direction for you?

First, you should examine the reasons for going into business. Starting a business is always hard work – you will work long hours, make countless decisions and sacrifice time with your family and friends. But if the business is successful the rewards could be great.

If you decide that being a business owner interests you, you then need to have or develop an idea. A business idea may come from the things that inspire you. What motivates you to work hard? What are you passionate about? It is important to do something you like, as you will work harder to make it a success.

For your business to work, it needs to make money, and that is where analysis comes in. Get to know the industry you are interested in – is it competitive, is there something missing that you could offer? By choosing an area that is under-resourced, unique or in high demand, you are much more likely to be successful.

You can then move on to doing some research. Find out everything you can about your potential industry, market, competitors, products and services, suppliers and customers. You also need to gather information on the costs, resources, skills and time needed to start your business.

After you have thoroughly researched your idea, you need to find out its feasibility. A simple way to do this is by completing a SWOT analysis – just list all the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to do with your idea and weigh up the pros and cons. You will need to re-check the feasibility of your business at every stage from now on.

A business plan will give you a clear path to follow. Books and software on how to write business plans are available to guide you through each step. The plan will include aspects such as finance, marketing, structure, legal issues, federal, state and local government requirements, and human resources.

Your plan, once complete, should give you another chance to see whether your idea is feasible. It will tell you how much it is going to cost, whether and when you will make a profit, and what time and money needs to be invested. Based on your business plan, you make the decision whether to start your own business.

How to get set up:

These are general steps that apply to many businesses but you should consult an accountant and lawyer about your own special situation. You need to be 18 to have a business in Australia.

  • Choose your business structure – Show your business plan to an accountant. They can advise you on which legal structure (sole trader, partnership or company) your business should be.
  • Register your business name – Find the relevant government department that registers business names. For a fee, you can register the name of your business, which must not be the same or misleadingly similar to another, already registered business name.
  • Get your Australian Business Number (ABN) – You get an ABN from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you do not have an ABN, your customers can withhold 48 per cent of payments to you. If you expect to earn over $50 000 from the business annually, you also need to register for GST with the ATO.
  • Open a bank account – Open a business bank account using your ABN and business name.
·        You should then start referring to your business plan for what to do next.

Tips and tricks:

  • Get a business mentor - A mentor can help you with strategic decisions, new contacts and 'opening doors' to new business opportunities.
  • Learn new skills - You need to become a mini-expert in a range of business skills. Enrolling in a short business course, diploma or degree, or at a community college may help, as can reading business books. You can always sub-contract out for areas you do not have interest or talent in.
  • Start networking - Get out there and meet other people in business. Networking is a great way to find new suppliers, services, customers and opportunities.
  • Go wholesale - It is easier (and less expensive) to use wholesalers and business suppliers than it is to use retail outlets.
  • Ask for advice - It is worth the time and money to get professional advice on your business and could save you from making costly mistakes.
A final word:

Starting your own business means a lot of hard work, long hours and financial risk. But it can also be the most challenging, rewarding and wonderful experience you will ever undertake. You will learn some valuable lessons about life, business and yourself and gain new perspectives on the world. You may even make some friends and money along the way!

The information is based on information prepared for the Job Guide by Shasheen Jayaweera and Ainsley Gilkes as members of the National Youth Roundtable.

Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2005
 

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