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What you need to know before you start your business?

Updated: Nov 2, 2023


This guide will provide some helpful insights and save you time and energy as you navigate your new business venture.


Did you know?


97% of NZ businesses are small businesses

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment - June 2017


156,369 NZ Females are Self Employed and of those 45% are over the age of 50

Data source: Statistics New Zealand Linked Employee-Employer Data, 2016


So, where's the best place to start?

I bet you are just a little excited and probably a little nervous at the prospect of starting your own business. How did the conversation go with your family and friends? Do they think you have what it takes to be a great business owner?

Deep down, you know you are ready, so let's help you build on what you already know.

Starting a business is not easy. It would help if you learned as much as possible right at the beginning, so you can be prepared. One of the key things to remember is to understand your obligations as a business owner. So make sure you put some time aside to do your research.

Often we see people miss this step, only to discover later there is little more to it than just deciding to own your own business. It does help if you arm yourself with as much information as possible, research, research, and then create a business plan.

I have compiled a list of helpful websites, so you can learn all you need to know about your legal requirements as a small business owner.

  • business.govt.nz

  • mbie.govt.nz

  • regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz

  • nzte.govt.nz

  • worksafe.govt.nz

  • hasanz.org.nz

  • xero.com

  • asb.com

How serious are you about business?

Many small business owners start their business journey somewhere in the middle; like organising logos and websites first, we don't want this to be your journey.

We want you to be prepared, so hold off spending your money on building a website until you have refined your business idea. You might find it a little challenging at first, but I can't emphasise enough how important it is to do a business plan first.

And while creating logos and building websites are fun things to do, a business plan will give you a good overview of where you want to go and what you need to do to get there. You will then be confident that you are heading in the right direction.



Important information to include in your Business Plan

Here is a list of five key steps you need to take to achieve your goal of running a successful business. These steps are a shortened version of your business plan. I am sure you can add a few more, but these are a good start.

  • Define your business - what is your unique selling proposition (USP)

  • Cashflow forecast & personal budget

  • Start Researching business names for your - Website, Facebook, Instagram

  • Talk to your accountant to find out

- what to claim as a business expense

- insurance / register for taxes

- obligations: of a Sole Trader/Limited Liability Company/Partnership

  • Bank account - Set up details.


Let's break it down!


Define your Business - Create your Business Plan

Begin with writing down your ideas, dreams and aspirations, and the challenges you might encounter, including time frames and calculating a budget. Don't forget your Business Plan is a working file you can refer to anytime. Your business plan is there so you can measure your performance and adjust it along the way.

The more specific your plan, the more it will help you understand who your target market is. To help you get started, here are some questions you might like to answer: What are you selling? Who is your customer? How is your product or service different to everyone else? What do you do well? And what do your customers want from you?


Cashflow Forecast

I believe most of us learn to avoid finding out how much our business will cost to set up, probably because we're too afraid. Including a cash flow forecast in your business plan will help you understand your financial situation. Start by writing down all the costs/expenses you think you will incur over the next two years. A daily forecast will keep you on track and motivate you to achieve those financial goals.


Research Business Names - Website, Facebook, Instagram

You've probably searched every name you can think of by now and realised that most of the names have already been taken. Maybe someone else has come up with the same idea as you. Don't give up. Your challenge will be finding a name you can use on all three platforms, your website, and your social media: Facebook and Instagram. Use your business plan to help you identify something unique about you and your business, so you can incorporate this in your name to create your brand identity.

I've added ta video link here so you can watch Rachel from aRc Legal talk about the importance of Trademarks for small businesses.


Bank Account

Organise a meeting with your bank and talk to them about whether you qualify for a bank loan or an overdraft facility. This will save you lots of worries.


Talk to your Accountant

Organise a meeting with the right accountant and talk to them about how they can help you set up your business and save you money. Many small business owners underestimate hiring an accountant. They generally prefer to prepare their accounts so they can save money. Remember, a good accountant can save you money. They are also there to help recommend a good Insurer and talk to you about the best way to register for your taxes.

In the long run, accountants are there to save you time and money.


Where you spend your Time & Energy

The purpose of creating a Business Plan is to keep you accountable. Now let's take a look at some of the operations in your business that will need your continued attention. Below, you will find some areas in your business that require your daily/weekly attention. It might seem a lot, but that's because it is.

For this exercise, let's imagine your business is a circle; now, start adding all the operations that require your attention. Once you have established all of your functions, you can calculate how much time you will need to spend on each process daily.

Often small business owners try to action all of the operations themselves. I would recommend you focus on what you love doing and outsource the rest.

Time management is the key to having a successful, profitable business. By managing your time well, you will stay focused and reduce overwhelming feelings. As a small business owner, you are the heart and soul of your business; remember to take time out for yourself and take care of your wellbeing.


“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.

And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple, Inc.



Ines Curin is the founder of Girls Talk Business she has been a small business owner most of her working life. She loves writing blogs that help women who are just starting their business journey. And provide them with answers she wished she had when she first started her first business.


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