Teresa McDowell is the founder of organic skin care business, Hemp Hemp Hooray. In the early years of her business, Teresa sold her products at markets while raising a young family. In the past two years Teresa has re-branded her range, built a new website and implemented an online store which has seen global online sales exceed their sales to retail outlets.
Teresa has some valuable tips for new small businesses owners or those looking to start a business:
- Develop a strong business plan
I cannot express enough how important it is to have a strong business plan and clear vision when approaching your bank for finance and support. You need to not only prove you have an understanding of your market and industry but it is also vital to bring your bank on board with your vision. We had no capital to launch our range and no assets to back us up, but we had a bank that believed in our plan.
- Create a website for your business
Even if you don’t have a product you most certainly have a service and people need to know about you – they WILL be searching. If you are not present on the web then someone else will be.
If you don’t have large amounts of money to invest in a website, programs such as WordPress are quite simple to navigate and you can have a professional looking presence for little outlay until you can afford to update or expand your site.
- Build a support team
Creating an organisational chart is a great exercise. It not only highlights the many hats you wear in your business but it also shows you where you can outsource skills to further support and grow your business.
You may not be able to afford to employ any staff in the early days of your business but you can still build a very strong team around you.
In time your team will grow and be enhanced by new employees, either casual or full time, which is a wonderful opportunity for any business owner.
- Pay for good advice
For me my best work is done when I am being creative – formulating and creating my products, visions, goals etc. I am very visual and I am less passionate with tasks such as bookkeeping and accounting.
To someone else numbers are creative and exciting so it made sense for me to outsource to a great bookkeeper, one who is now part of my team and who has been invaluable in regards to advice with GST and BAS requirements, employer obligations, super, PAYG tax etc.
Your team will also extend to those in other supporting roles such as a solicitor or your accountant. Very soon you will see that even though you may be going it alone in your business, you do have quite an extensive team around you to draw skills, knowledge and support from.