There are various considerations when starting a new business. The expertise of a business solicitor can be useful at almost every stage of the process.

Have you chosen the structure and type of business?

What business model are you going for? What are you making or selling? Have you researched which business structure is most fitting to your product or service? These are all important questions that should be discussed with a business solicitor and any business partners you are considering working with.

What am I selling?

An understanding of your own product or service is vital to establishing any type of business, online or offline, from home or otherwise. If you don’t know, inside and out, what exactly you’re going to be selling, making any progress can be difficult, especially with the marketing of the business. Knowing your product well equates to knowing your customers well, and a good understanding of what you’re selling can affect the structure of the business as well. Are you aiming to create a purely online business, or will you need to utilize a storefront at the same time? All of this is important in determining how many employees you take on, what storage you’ll need, and what rent you will commit. It’s always a good idea to assess how sellable your product/service is. Is there a need or a gap that needs to be serviced or filled? Do your homework to see whether the idea is worthwhile moving forward, and investigate with whom you’ll be competing, and whether your target market is adequate to satisfy your benchmarks. This process requires collecting, exploring and assessing the data about your customers to enable you to shape and meet your business targets for the short and long-term. Look to your industry to familiarise with the trends in sales and speak with other business owners – this is a useful starting point. There are going to be many legal considerations along the way. A business solicitor can help you avoid any issues when starting up your business. Paying a business solicitor for advice along the way can end up saving you money. Having a qualified business solicitor advise you on what documents you will need, and how to best draft your employment contracts will ensure that the business is legally airtight. This, in turn, makes your business more valuable upon sale of the business. Try and answer the following questions:

  • What will I be creating?
  • What problem am I solving?
  • How can I protect my idea?
  • Does a market exist for this particular product/service?
  • What skillset is required? Do I have these abilities?
  • Who am I competing with?
  • What’s different about my product/service?
  • Do I have funding?
  • How much money should I invest in the advice of a business solicitor?

Who am I targeting?

Knowing your target audience is fundamental when shaping your business. Research as much as possible into what defines your would-be clients. A good understanding of customers’ behavioural patterns can help to create a more focussed and targeted marketing campaign. Knowing your clientele, and how to guide them to your website, is imperative. Do research into the types of clients that normally make online purchases, what those purchases are, and how they arrive at the destination from which they make these purchases.

Should I flesh out a business plan?

You might think jumping online and getting started is the get-up-and-go attitude your business needs to get moving, but initiating a strategic approach can be more beneficial in the long-term. Drawing up (literally) a plan for the business, (the stages you want to reach, the time frames for achieving these goals, and so on), can make a huge impact on the level and speed of growth. Working hard is important, but working smart is more so. A good business solicitor can identify any legal hurdles you may encounter and assist you in overcoming them. If you already have an online presence (website, facebook, linkedin etc), perhaps you’re already equipped with a planned approach to marketing your business. Nevertheless, it never hurts to review this plan, update and upgrade to the current market. Your target audience may have shifted in the last six or twelve months. Also, while social media is useful and often effective, there are certain rules in relation to advertising that a business solicitor would highlight for you.

How do I make a solid business plan?

You should have a scaffold approach drafted before you invest any funds into the business. Once you have begun investing money into the business, you should always be trying to improve the plan, and identify any shortcomings where there is room for improvements. The plan itself should outline your reasons for wanting to start the business, and should contain clearly identifiable goals with a planned timeline. The intention behind your marketing strategy is to effectively reach the target audience and increase your following and annuity stream. You should think about the following when drafting your business proposal:

  • The name of the business and whether it needs to be registered as a trademark
  • Who will be managing the business and what their role(s) will be
  • Operations of the business, as well as financial management

 Conclusion

Starting a business requires hard work, creativity, and a flexible, strategic approach. It is always advisable that the expertise of a business solicitor be sought to avoid headaches down the track.

Lachlan McKnight

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