Taking care of business, from the start
Want to start your own business? You might think it sounds like an impossible task, but if you have a great idea and are prepared to work REALLY hard, it’s pretty amazing being your own boss. Saski Collection started the same way and we wanted to share our experience with all the budding entrepreneurs out there.
We had a chat with Saski General Manager Amy Hembrow, who gave us her top tips.
- Start with a business plan.
Sure, you might have a great idea but if you want to turn it into a business, you need to have a plan of how you’re going to get it off the ground and allow it to grow. A good business plan can help with the important things like defining the direction of your business, securing finance and creating strategies to achieve your goals.
This template from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is a great place to start: https://www.business.gov.au/info/plan-and-start/templates-and-tools/business-plan-template-and-guide
- Know your customer.
It might sound simple, but you really need to think about who is going to buy your product or service. If you don’t identify your ideal customer or a target audience for your product, you won’t find your place in the market. Once you identify your customer you can also figure out the best way to reach them, which will also influence your marketing strategy.
“After completing our business plan, we figured out who Saski’s typical customer would be and what makes them tick. We needed to focus our product offering on what they wanted so we would be successful,” Amy said.
- Work out what gap you’re filling in the market.
What makes your idea unique? What are you providing that nobody else is doing? You need to take the time to identify what sets you apart from the competitors in your market. There will always be competitors so it’s important to identify their strengths and weaknesses and how you’ll differentiate from them.
- Build a network of likeminded people, mentors and people with experience.
So many people have done what you’ve done, taken an idea and transformed it into a new business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, your professional networks, business contacts, friends and family can be your best resource. You never know who can offer you a different perspective, invaluable advice or a new contact unless you speak up.
“Coming from a corporate background, I was grateful to have professionals in different sectors and with different types of experience to ask questions and bounce ideas off. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to share their insights with you, because they’ve been there before,” Amy said.
- Create a budget
As much as you’d hope the money starts rolling in overnight… it doesn’t. You need to manage it from the start and have a clear budget in place, because you need to plan for how you’ll fund the business while you’re getting on your feet.
“If you’re not sure about budgets, find someone who can help you because understanding complex things like cash flow and forecasting is so important. We have a great bookkeeper and accountant who keeps us on track, so definitely bring in the experts on this one if you need to,” Amy said.
- Remember that things don’t happen overnight.
As much as you want to be a success after a few months, it doesn’t happen that way – and that’s ok! There’s a lot of hard work, sacrifice and failure along the way but just think of every setback as a learning experience and each mistake as an opportunity to improve.
“When we first starting talking about Saski I was working a corporate job and putting in hours before and after my 9-5 job with Tammy on starting the business. Once I left to join Saski full time, the hard work really began and it was tough on my personal and social life, but I knew it would be worth it to reach our goals,” Amy said.