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Setting up your own business is exciting but can also be challenging if you are not prepared. The Australian government and Small Business WA have a wide range of free resources available to anyone looking to start their own business. Are you looking to start? Or not sure whether you are really ready for the challenge? Read the tips below to determine if you are ready, and if you are, what are your next steps in the process.

  1. Think, think, think!

Owning a business can involve a lifestyle change as well as large financial commitment. This website can help you anticipate any challenges you may face and help you overcome them. There are key areas to help you in thinking about the business you'd like to start, the planning process and identifying how your product or service will differ from those of other businesses in the marketplace.

A written, well thought out business plan is a great place to start in determining your concept, the risks, and what resources you will require to get set up. Some questions to consider are; what is the product or service that you will offer? How will you protect your idea? What skills do you have that suit this idea? How much money will this likely cost to get off the ground?

From here, market research will help you to identify the external factors that might impact your business and how you operate. By searching online, speaking to other local businesses and just observing the area (if it is a physical business), you will learn a lot which you can carry into planning.

  1. Make key decisions and figure out finances

Once you have done the research and set up a plan, you need to make some key decisions on what you want your business to look like. You can lean on the support of your friends, family or outsource some help to a trusted and reliable adviser who can help you with start-up issues and then assist you as your business develops.

An important part of running a small business is understanding how to set up and manage your finances. You will need to work out whether you can afford to start the business and how much money you will need. It’s not just your start-up costs, you will also need to assess how you will access the money to fund your future plans.

  1. Register your business or patent your idea

Do you have a business name you really want to capture and own? To make your business official you will need to register it. This includes an ABN and business name. This makes sure your business official and able to operate within the law.

  1. Showcase your business!
    Many small businesses come up with a great business idea and then fail to market it successfully. You need to get out and spread the word about your product or service to the right people to generate business. Advertising and selling are part of the process but there is much more involved. Today, there are many low budget ways of promoting your business including Facebook, notice boards and other online communities.
  1. Seek advice and support

If you have gone through the steps and believe that you’re ready to take the next step, start with seeking professional business advice. Go and speak to your bank, or accountant, maybe a mentor or someone who has set up a similar business. There are great free community business events which can guide you in the right direction and connect you to the right people.