If you are in the exciting (and daunting) phase of setting up a new business, you’re no doubt a little overwhelmed and a little confused. There is so much to do and your to-do list just keeps getting longer. Many new business owners get distracted and veer off-track. As a professional service provider offering virtual reception, virtual offices, as well as serviced offices in Sydney, we’ve seen countless businesses at all stages. From their startup phase, through to growth, maturity and even exit phases. We know the challenges that go with each stage and are here to support you.
SOI’s top 8 tips from our virtual office support perspective
Take a look at our top list of “must do’s” when launching a business. Sure, some are obvious, but there are a few surprising steps many business owners overlook. These steps can mean the difference between launching a business that thrives, and one that just survives.
1. Register for an ABN
In order to trade as a business, you must hold a valid Australian Business Number (ABN). An ABN is a unique number which identifies your business and is used for invoicing, tax and GST. You will also need an ABN in order to register a domain name for a business.
Not everyone is qualified to hold an ABN, but generally, if you are already conducting activities towards running a business, you will comply.
2. Register a business name
Depending on whether you’re a sole trader, partnership, company or trust, there are laws around your business name and trading name. You must always register your business name with ASIC, unless:
- the business name is your name
- you have a company and the business name is the company name
- you are in a partnership and the name consists of all of the partners’ names
That means, if you’re a sole trade unless you are going to trade under your full name, you must check availability and register your business name.
3. Secure your domain names
As soon as you have your ABN and know your business name, you should always secure your domain names. Your domain name should be your business name and you should register both the .com and .com.au versions. It also doesn’t hurt to secure other extensions (like .net, .biz etc.). You don’t want the worst to happen and you build a successful business website on a domain name and someone comes along and takes the same name with a different extension. It happens all too frequently, unfortunately.
4. Get a business address
That’s just the address you work from, right?
If you’re a sole trader working from home, you won’t want to advertise your home address as your business address. You want to protect both your privacy and ensure security. And unfortunately, a PO Box doesn’t instil much faith in potential customers. People often don’t trust a business without a physical address.
Or if you’re a business with multiple “offices” but operate from just one location, there’s an easier way to build a presence in a particular city without the expensive office lease.
The solution? A virtual office address!
A virtual office address is an address we allow our clients to use and advertise as part of our virtual office packages. You can have your mail sent to us (and we simply redirect it to you). You can even use our meeting rooms for meeting your team and clients and reception staff to answer your phones (more on that later).
So, why bother with a virtual office address?
- Present a professional image in a CBD location
- Protect your privacy by keeping your home address secret
- Work from anywhere (home, the library, Hawaii) and stay connected
- Have access to professional and prestigious meeting facilities with full support staff services (no more fumbling around at the coffee shop)
- Know that someone will always be there to collect your mail
- Access our nationwide and worldwide network of business centres
5. Get your finances in order
Even if you’re not planning on getting a business loan and are self-funding your business startup. It’s important to get your financials systems sorted and much easier to do from the get-go than down the track. That means:
- Opening a business bank account (compare the best ones here)
- Signing up for web-based accounting software (like Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks)
- Engage a bookkeeper for day-to-day financial management and a tax accountant for your tax return
6. Get your office phones sorted
Something a lot of new business owners don’t consider is – who’s going to answer the phone? And what should that phone number even be?
You probably don’t want to hand out your mobile number (and many people don’t trust a business with just a mobile number). With the home phone, you then run the risk of the kids answering thinking it’s grandma. Or maybe you don’t even have a landline phone (which is more common than you think).
Our advice? Get yourself a virtual receptionist.
A virtual receptionist from SOI isn’t some online answering service. It’s an actual person here in our office that answers your incoming calls simply by diverting your number to us. And if you don’t have a landline number, we can supply you with one!
Take a look at how an SOI virtual receptionist works:
What are the benefits of using a virtual receptionist service?
- Never miss an incoming call. Did you know that a study conducted by Forbes concluded that just over 80% of prospective customers won’t leave a voicemail if the phone goes unanswered? They’ll simply call your competitor…
- Give yourself the gift of freedom by not being tied to your business phone 24/7. This is especially great if you’re not in the office full-time (like a working parent) and not always available to take calls
- Increase productivity by not being disrupted by a ringing phone
- Let us weed out those annoying telemarketers for you
- It costs less than you think. Take a look at some of our packages here. But we also love putting together tailored packages so be sure to chat to us if it’s something you’re interested in.
7. Get a properly designed logo
Your logo sets the tone of your business. And a poorly designed logo might allude to a poorly run business (which isn’t the impression you want to give). Ensure you outsource your logo design to a graphic designer or marketing agency that knows their stuff. By having your logo done right the first time, you’ll save money down the track by having a logo you and your customers love. You will also receive the correct file types saving you time and money when it comes to printing etc.
8. Create a Facebook Business page
Whilst a website is crucial to online marketing, a Facebook Business page is your quickest route to getting your business on the internet and in front of potential customers. With Facebook’s ease of use and popularity, you can already be sharing your valuable content and engaging with potential customers while your website is being built behind the scenes.
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If you’re in the process of setting up your business and would like to learn more about SOI’s virtual reception and virtual office services or would like to find out what else we offer, get in touch with us today.