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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds When I first started my business, I hadn’t really a clue about structuring any of these really important things for the business. It actually hinged on finding the right bookkeeper who, in my mind, is absolutely critical to helping me understand all those figures. I went through about five bookkeepers until I got to the right one, who I now have and that made all the difference. My online company, when I started that, was a little bit difficult. I found that I really needed to have quite a bit in reserve, because there are a lot of hidden costs. Hidden costs such as website development, for example. Things are changing all the time.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds You have to have a platform that can grow with your business. I think there are ongoing things that you don’t expect all the time. And in terms of starting up your business, I think there are many, many ways that it can be done. But certainly in my own experience, I did put aside some funds to start the business, but I found that for a good four years, I actually worked part-time jobs to keep that cash flow happening, while I was building and experiencing and understanding the nature of the business.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds We had no money to start the business. I had a bit of an idea about what I wanted to create. I probably had too many ideas. I had these amazing incredible ideas, and I had to narrow those ideas down. Because suddenly I had copyright fees, legal fees. I had design and development of the website. And these fees were absolutely enormous. And they were something I hadn’t considered. So I really had to rethink and re-strategize how I was actually going to do it. And the best option for me at that time, was to run a crowdfunding campaign.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds So the crowdfunding campaign, itself, was not only a way to get the funds, but it was also a really, really great way to get proof of concept. And to see how my idea would be taken in the world.

Get independent advice

Small business startups often focus on going to market without planning the business structure or funding, sometimes without seeking advice in the belief that they are saving money. But it may cost you. Initial advice on your business structure is important, given potential legal liabilities.

Some business operators know nothing about accounting, pricing, or costs, yet they offer a product at a price without doing the numbers. Clearly you will need professional advice at some stage, such as a solicitor, accountant or insurance agent.

Each of these professionals offers expert advice. A solicitor may be required to check contracts, such as lease agreements for rented premises; an accountant for compliance matters, financial advice, assistance with cashflow and financing; insurance brokers will assist you to identify business risks that you may not have thought of, such as public liability insurance. Seeking professional advice is money well spent when setting up a business.

A good accountant or bookkeeper can also help with setting budgets for your business, providing a cashflow statement, income statements and statement of financial position needed to borrow funds. Employing a bookkeeper will keep the accounts up-to-date, tell you if the business is making profit or loss, whether you have customers owing money and your cashflow position and ensure regulatory compliance.

Rather than a cost, they are are a valuable resource to your business. Having decided what professional services you need, they can help identify and determine your start-up costs.

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This video is from the free online course:

Online Business: Pricing for Success

RMIT University