Introduction 1 About This Book 1 Foolish Assumptions 2 Icons Used in This Book 2 Where to Go from Here 3 Part 1: First Steps 5 Chapter 1: Is Small Business for You? 7 Working for Yourself - A Dream Come True? 8 Doing what you love to do 8 Earning pots of money (here's hoping) 8 Being your own boss 9 Staying home 10 Working for Yourself - Reality Strikes 11 Teetering on the edge 12 Working night and day for little pay 12 Weathering feast and famine 13 Getting the Timing Right 13 Timing it right for your idea 14 Timing it right for you 15 Timing it right for the economy 16 Staying Safe or Inventing the Wheel? 17 Playing it safe 17 Finding your own niche 18 Going out on a limb 18 Getting the Government to Help You 19 Chapter 2: Buying a Business 23 Weighing Up the Good and the Bad 24 Buying an existing business - the upside 24 Buying an existing business - the downside 25 Asking the Right Questions 26 Finding out who owns the intellectual property 27 Analysing sales trends, profit and break-even 27 Clarifying what the purchase price includes 28 Building a Relationship with the Seller 30 Dotting Your I's, Crossing Your T's 31 Part 2: Jump In, Get Wet 35 Chapter 3: Planning for Success 37 Getting Started with Your Plan 38 Hunting for online resources 39 Using specialised planning software 40 Assessing the Environment 40 Analysing outside influences 41 Testing the waters (don't get too wet) 43 Defining your customers 44 Checking out the competition 44 Declaring Your Battle Plan 46 Looking at your strengths and weaknesses 46 Choosing a strategy 48 Expressing your competitive advantage 49 Building your online business strategy 51 Developing your marketing plan 52 Creating a team 53 Charting a True Course 53 Setting off on your mission 53 Saying what you're about 54 Matching goals to your mission 55 Presenting Financials 56 Balancing dreams against reality 56 Building on history to create a picture of the future 57 Staying real with benchmarks 58 Chapter 4: Getting the Legals Right 61 Picking a Business Structure 62 Independent and single 63 Tea for two 64 We've got company 65 Matching the Name to the Game 65 Using your own name 67 Making sure you're not on someone else's patch 67 Registering your business name (Australia only) 70 Avoiding trouble (Australia only) 71 Protecting Your Ideas and Your Name 71 Registering with the Powers That Be 73 Getting that baby's number 73 Signing up for taxes (unavoidable, I'm afraid) 74 Checking out what else you need 75 Chapter 5: Creating Your Marketing Plan 77 Laying Down the Elements of Your Plan 78 Writing a decent introduction 79 Identifying what it is that makes you different 79 Defining Your Target Market 80 Analysing your customers 81 Researching the market 81 Analysing Your Competitors 82 Setting Sales Targets 84 Slicing goals into bite-sized chunks 84 Expressing goals in other ways 85 Creating Strategies to Support Your Targets 87 Building a brand that people want 87 Getting the products and the price right 88 Planning an advertising strategy 90 Working your networks 91 Part 3: The Nitty-Gritty 95 Chapter 6: Becoming an Employer 97 Becoming an Employer: The First Steps 98 Getting employees to fulfil their part of the deal 98 Covering employees for accidents 100 Subscribing to super (Australia only) 101 Paying KiwiSaver (New Zealand only) 104 Meeting Minimum Pay and Conditions 106 Understanding what laws apply (Australia only) 107 Creating employment agreements (New Zealand only) 108 Choosing between part-time, full-time or casual 110 Playing Safe and Playing Fair 111 Being practical, not pedantic 111 Blonde jokes are over 112 Chapter 7: Cooking the Books 115 Setting Off on the Right Track 115 Understanding how cloud accounting works 116 Addressing privacy concerns 117 Figuring out what's important 119 Creating a Bookkeeping System 121 Keeping track of bills, receipts and invoices 122 Organising your information 124 Nitpicking over petty cash 126 Tracking How Much You Owe 127 Chapter 8: Understanding Financial Statements 129 Telling a Story with Your Profit & Loss Report 130 Understanding how it all works 130 Looking at sales 131 Counting the costs 132 Weighing up your expenses 134 Taking a Snapshot with Your Balance Sheet 134 Understanding the fine print 136 Building documentation to support each figure 137 Appreciating your net worth (someone has to, after all) 137 Why Profit Doesn't Always Mean Cash 138 Gazing into the deep, black hole 139 Looking through rose-coloured spectacles 139 Doing the sums for sustainable growth 140 Budgeting As If You Mean It 141 Creating your first budget 142 Recognising relationships 144 Understanding the psychology of budgets 145 Developing your budget in tune with your business plan 146 Chapter 9: Calculating Margins and Ratios 149 Understanding Profit Margins 150 Differentiating between variable costs and fixed expenses 150 Understanding gross and net profit 151 Figuring gross and net profit margins 152 Looking at gross profit margins over time 153 Appreciating how margins and sales connect 154 Analysing Margins for Your Own Business 155 Calculating margins when you sell products 155 Calculating margins when you charge by the hour 156 Calculating margins if you do big projects 157 Understanding why gross profit is such a big deal 158 Calculating your net profit margin 159 Estimating Your Break-Even Point 161 Analysing how to make sales match expenses 162 Looking at things from a cash perspective 163 Factoring your personal expenses into the equation 164 Part 4: The Part of Tens 167 Chapter 10: Ten Things to Do If You Hit Hard Times 169 Work Out How Bad Things Really Are 170 Get Breathing Space 171 Innovate! 172 Slash Those Expenses 172 Pull Back Personal Spending 173 Get Rid of Dead Weight 174 Chase Up Overdue Accounts 175 Run Special Offers 175 Re-Jig Your Margins 176 Don't Be a Shag on a Rock 177 Index 179
Veechi Curtis is a qualified accountant and consultant who specialises in small business finance, marketing and technology. She is the author of several business titles, including Small Business For Dummies, 5th Edition, MYOB(R) Software For Dummies, 8th Edition and Creating a Business Plan For Dummies.