6 Startup Tips to Make your Business Successful

As a sole proprietor or sole trader, you alone are responsible for your staff, supplies, contracts, debts and decisions. If independence is a goal for you, then the sole trader is the perfect business model to start. Becoming a sole trader is the simplest way to start up a business, and here are some steps to lead you forward toward business setup and effective marketing techniques.

Name the business

Find an effective name for your business that resonates with you, and with your business personality. You can drive the business using your own name (for example, “Frank's Flowers”), or you can choose another name. Using your own name gives credibility to the business, but if you intend to sell the business in future then something completely unique may be a better fit. As a sole proprietor, you do not need to register your business name, but you do need to ensure that it is not the same as a registered trademark or existing company’s name.

How to Come up with a Business NameKeeping the name simple, short, and easy to spell will make it easier for people to find you. For example, "Franks Fabulous Flowers Fendalton" is a catchy name, but won't work well as a website address or email address. As an example, you couldn't expect customers to email ([email protected]). It would be better to stay simple (email: [email protected]). Often we recommend registering two domains names as they work much like signposts, simply pointing to your website location. A domain should only be about $30+gst to register per year, so it's worth having a second domain if it makes it easier for people to find you and spell your name. For example (www.franksflowers.co.nz) and (www.franks.co.nz), where you could use the much shorter email address ([email protected]).

Follow this link for more tips on Naming Your Business.

Get a business brand and logo

Having a brand and logo to represent your business is so very important. Your brand needs to be professional and easily recognisable to be at the forefront of your business. Your logo needs to be simple enough that it can be clear and readable when printed on anything from a pen to a billboard, and instantly recognisable when viewing on either a large screen or on the small screen of a mobile device. Your logo must be unique enough to not be mistaken for any other brand. Your brand should be something you are proud to stand behind so it's worth investing in the talents of an experienced graphic designer to design a stylised and professional logo that will represent your business as it launches, and for many years to come.

Click here for more information on Logos and Branding.

Register your trademark

Unlike companies, as a sole trader, you cannot stop other businesses from using your name – unless you have registered it as a trademark to protect your brand. When you register you will need to supply a clear description of your trademark, and you can upload your logo to protect it.

Click here to view costs and instructions, and to follow the steps for Registering a Trademark.

Register your domain name

I recommend that before you register your trademark, you should do a search to see if the domain is available. This could avoid a lot of problems later trying to find a domain name that resembles your company name, or trying to purchase the domain you want - at what will likely be an inflated price if someone has already purchased it for the purpose of on-selling it for profit. Consider all the TLD's as well, such as (.co.nz) which has always been popular, and now the new (.nz) which may soon eclipse the (.co.nz) option. If you are an organisation you may want to use (.org) or (.org.nz), and if you intend to trade overseas or build up a business empire, you would do well to secure the (.com).

Follow this link to search for and Register A Domain Name. This search also allows you to search for multiple TLD’s, so you can look for the (.com) domain, the (.co.nz) domain, and the newer (.nz) domain.

Start collecting website content and images

Your business will need to have a strong online marketing presence, and there is no better marketing investment than your own website, over which you can have full control. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will always have their place, but they will never give you full control like your website will. There are no guarantees with social media sites because rules can change, new charges may appear, and in many cases, you forfeit ownership of your content by uploading it. On your own website, you own and control your own content.

Web Content Curation

So yes, social certainly media has it's placed but it's important to funnel your social media audience and followers through to your own business website, where you can present the full spectrum of what you offer from one clear and professional platform. Once on your website, your visitors will also have the option to signup to your newsletter (if you choose to send one), view your location and available hours, and contact you directly through your website contact form. Some websites may include application forms or appointment forms, as well as offering products for direct sale. Talk to us about building the right website with the functionality that would aid your business process and best serve your existing customers and wider online audience.

Even in the earliest beginnings of your business startup, it will benefit you greatly in the long term to gather all the information you can. From blogging about your experience to keeping a note of important dates, significant steps, and photos of the startup in action. Your audience will be better able to connect, resonate and relate to you if you offer more than a window-view of your business, instead present your business with personality and pride.

Tips Checklist to protect your Intellectual Property (IP)

To check if your business name is available, go to OneCheck. From here you can do a name search to make sure that no other company is using the same or similar name to what you want to use. If you wish to register your name as a 'Limited' Company, it costs around $10 to apply for your name online. Click here to Reserve a Company Name and for more information.

For more simple steps to protect your business, visit the New Zealand Government website, or go straight to Simple Steps to Protect Your Intellectual Property.

 

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