Owning your own business can free you from the nine-to-five grind, help you tap into your passion, create financial opportunities and give you more control over your life. It can also keep you awake at night. In this article, Home Loan Connexion Director, TRACY KEAREY provides an abundance of guidance.

So what are some of the traps and trials of running your own business and what can you do to replace the stress with success?

Cash flow

Keeping enough money coming in to cover everything that needs to be paid out is probably the chief sleep depriver for small business owners. Many make the mistake of not having enough funds behind them to start with, putting unnecessary pressure on turnover from the outset.

The other error is not reflecting your true operating costs in what you charge for your products or services. All ventures, no matter how small or what business they are in, have costs – rent, wages, supplies, equipment, electricity, freight and travel, to name a few. Under-estimating the full cost of operating your business is one of the surest ways to strangle your cash flow. You might win work or sell lots of product based on your prices but if revenue doesn’t ultimately outstrip expenses, you won’t be in business for long.

Suggested solutions:

  • Start with sufficient funds under your belt to cover running costs while you are building your business.
  • Consider a small business loan or overdraft to help get you started and manage initial cash flow.
  • Create an accurate pricing model that factors in all your running costs and the profit you need to make.
  • If offering a professional service, ask for part payment up front.

Define the line between work and home

You might have more flexibility with work hours when self-employed, but many small business owners find themselves spending more time toiling than ever before, blurring the line between their professional and personal lives. Not only are long work hours taxing on you, the business owner, they can take a dramatic toll on your family and other important relationships, compounding your stress levels.

Suggested solutions:

  • Set boundaries, be disciplined with work hours and find a routine that works for you and your family.
  • Eat well and find time to exercise to help manage your fitness and stress levels.
  • Make time for the most important people in your life.
  • Maximise your flexibility to attend school events, read to your kids at bedtime, make a point of eating breakfast or dinner as a family, set a regular date night, steal a weekend away and catch up regularly with friends.

Address the lack of help

It’s a catch 22 and major source of stress for many small business owners – the need to wear multiple hats but insufficient funds, or lack of revenue certainty, to take on extra help. Most small business operators find themselves working in and on their businesses, straddling everything. There are plenty of ways to access business support for start-ups if you are prepared to be resourceful.

Suggested solutions:

  • You might be eligible for a grant to support expansion. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science offers a wealth of online resources to support small businesses, including information on available grants, plus free business advisory services and workshops. Click this link to discover more about Government Grants.
  • Tap into extensive skills and knowledge without the burden of full-time wages by employing experienced part-timers, such as parents who are looking to keep their professional skills up but don’t want to work full-time.
  • Talk to TAFEs and universities about internships or part-time employment opportunities for promising students.
  • Find a trusted mentor who understands your challenges and can help you navigate growth. Many business people are willing to lend an hour of their time on a regular basis to impart their learnings and wisdom.

Compliance

Between Business Activity Statements (BAS), tax, insurance, superannuation, public liability, payroll, workers compensation and leave entitlements, small businesses face a stack of red tape, rules and forms. This is one area small business owners should not try to navigate on their own. There are plenty of ways to access business support for start-ups if you are prepared to be resourceful.

Suggested solutions:

  • Get a good tax adviser who can not only help with your accounting but can make sure your business complies with the latest rules. Ask other business owners for their recommendations.
  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission churns out regular updates for small business owners, including compliance requirements. Explore the many online resources and sign up to the Commission’s newsletters here.

By tapping into these ideas along with the plethora of free resources available to small business owners you will be well on your way to achieving success.

If you have any questions about running your small business or require funding to grow your business, email Tracy or give her a call on M: 0417 738 469.

Tracy exemplifies what small business owners can achieve when they back themselves. In 1998 suddenly finding herself a single mother she secured a position in the finance industry working as administration support. It wasn’t long before she realised she had what it takes to become a mortgage broker herself. Obtaining her qualifications she joined the Home Loan Connexion broker team developing a client portfolio that positioned her as their number one loan writer in Australia. In 2013 Tracy made the bold move of negotiating a 50% buyout of Home Loan Connexion, which now places her in pole position to drive the groups future direction and growth across the nation.

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Finance Tips Does Your Small Business Keep You Awake at Night?