Written by Alex Hodgkinson. This article is part of our Red Papers business content series.

Australia is home to more than 2.3 million small businesses run by you, those with an Aussie spirit of independence and courage to give things a go. As a fledgling entrepreneur, your goals can be big or small.  Wanting to take on the world, or earning just enough to support your lifestyle? Either way there are certain important things that every small business owner needs to get right to keep their plans on track.

The Australian Government’s Starting a Business Guide will help you check your business is in good shape to start trading. Here are some other useful tips to help you on your way.

Success is not a given

Just because you’re open for business doesn’t mean you’re going to immediately make money.  It takes time to let people know who you are, so stay focused on achieving your short-term goals.  Around 75% of customers state that they consider customer service a true test of a company’s competence.  Your product needs to be better, and work better than your competitors to the point where it’s intuitive that they’ll choose you. Talk to your customers about what they like (and don’t like so much), and find your niche.

Using social media to promote your business

Word of mouth can make or break a small business.  Beyond providing a great customer experience, you don’t have control of what’s being said about you. Social media is where you can get your message across as you want it, whether it be about satisfied customers, new products, or special deals. These days you have the option of blogging in your pyjamas at home, without having your words changed by anyone. If you’re unsure about how to get it right, there are online guides to help.

Making your business smartphone friendly

The phone is the go-to tool for online customer research, so you need to make sure your online presence, including your website, is mobile friendly. Using phones to pay is also a real convenience to customers, and it’s a great way of improving your cash flow. Vodafone offers a suite of products and services to help keep you connected and up to date.

Keeping the cash flowing

Cash flow problems can be an ever persistent headache, but there are so many steps you can take to avoid this.  Be objective about managing your inventory.  Use a cloud-based service to track what’s moving and what’s not, and have it as part of your overall accounting software platform.  Test the waters.  Maybe you need to increase your prices – if it’s too affordable, customers may perceive your value is less than your competitors. The key is to find a price point that helps boost your cash flow without reducing sales.

Inspiration and guidance

Everybody needs a little. Divert calls to your Call Screen operator-answered calls, and head to your local library.  Look for books, audiobooks and DVDs about entrepreneurs who’ve overcome hardship, doubt and failure on their road to success.  Even if they’re not like you, their stories and take-outs will give you tips on tracking your own business progress.  A library is also a great place to create some stillness (something that doesn’t involve yoga) away from the demands of the everyday.  You deserve it.

Watch

Learn more about 'The Future of Work'

Watch the new Vodafone Business Red Wire series, hosted by Taryn Williams. In this first episode, Taryn interviews Lisa Messenger (founder and CEO of Collective Hub) and Soren Trampedach (founder of co-working space Work Club) about 'The Future of Work’.

Red Wire Series: The Future Of Work

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