If you are new to the world of business, it can be a bit overwhelming and the unbelievable volume of information on the internet can level your head spinning. In my last post, I talked about the value of finding mentors to guide you. Ideally if you are new to business then you want one who has built a business like what you are trying to do. This is easier said than done so let’s look at some other places to get help with your business / project. In Australia, we have a lot of support for business more so than a lot of other countries including the USA. So much so that I’m just going to focus on the easily accessible ones and try to categories them, so you have some leads to follow.
Business.gov.au: This is a federal government website to help business in Australia it has a lot of stuff on it and it’s a good place to start a search for stuff like finding mentoring & advisory programs. It has lots of document templets if you need to write a business plan / marketing plan or something. It has a lot of links to other government programs that maybe helpful like grants and government tenders. It can be a bit overwhelming as they try to cover everything you need from starting your business, hiring staff, exporting overseas, selling your business, going bankrupt, intellectual property etc. Check out this website as it’s a good place to start exploring and you can find useful stuff hear.
Australian Tax Office (ATO): some people fear the ATO and no one likes dealing with them they can be total “Vogons” that said like Vogon’s they are not evil as such just bureaucratic. The ATO has had a lot of problems lately as their boss had to step down because of his son’s tax fraud. They are also hopelessly out gunned by the Multinationals when it comes to tax evasion. But they are equipped to give you a hard time if they feel like it. Lucky for you they are not interested in “Rats & Mice” this is actually what one of them said to my students when pressed for the truth. You are going to have to deal with the ATO at some point so understand your rights & obligations. Some of the people at the ATO can be really helpful if you treat them right. By the way you must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) to operate a business in Australia and you get this from the ATO.
Australia Securities Investments Commission (ASIC): If you want to start a company then ASIC over sees this and lots of other stuff. They are a small organisation and have a lot of useful stuff on their website.
Farework.gov.au: If you need to hire someone this is the place to go for all things about hiring & firing your staff. If you hire staff build a win-win relationship with them and you will do better than the people who treat their workers badly.
Business Enterprise Centres (BEC) This is a really cool government program it’s kind of like an outreach service for small business owners. There are offices all over Australia and probably one in your suburb. Give them a call and just have a chat with them they are normally very helpful. The BEC’s tend to run a bunch of different programs like mentoring & training, the NEIS program etc. A lot of what they provide is free or heavily subsidised by the government so its affordable.
Local Chamber of Commerce: These are not-for-profits that are run by local business owners to address local small business needs. They are a good place to look for free or cheap workshops, attend a networking event, meet other small business owners etc. It’s worth checking out your local one and sometimes you can score some really good free Food & Booz at their networking nights. They can also be very dysfunctional as individuals or groups will push their agender. Sounds like every anarchist meeting you have ever been to, right? But it’s worth checking out your local one out.
Networking & Meet-up groups: There are so many of these just type your topic into google and add networking or meet-up on the end.
Co-working / Business incubators / Business Accelerators: There are a lot of these around especially in the cities but if you are out bush you should try a BEC or chamber. These types of places / organisations can be both for profit & not-for-profit. They tend to offer networking events, workshops and sometimes mentoring. It’s worth doing some google research to see what is in your area. Working / operating out of one is usually very beneficial. Sometimes business incubators & accelerators will want a part of your business this can be incredible helpful. But it can also be a disaster if you let the wrong people get involved in your project / business.
I think that covers it very basically for now, if you have questions or want to give us some feedback please email us as we love helping people.