How to run a Successful Small Business

A great piece of advice from Business Coach,  Brian Silverthorn.

All the pieces and parts that go into making a successful small business.  Preparation is everything when going into business, and avoiding the usual mistakes is a lot easier and preferable to fixing mistakes.  If you are thinking about buying a small business, have just bought a small business then you are on a steep learning curve.  Thankfully we have loads of information to share, and will be doing so.

Subscribe to our Blog and start learning with ease.  In the meantime, listen to this great advice from Brian Silverthorn :


5 mistakes new Business Owners make, and how to fix them!!!

In our experience of buying and selling a cafe, these are the Top 5 mistakes many new Business Owners make when buying their own business.  This video talks about the 5 most common mistakes that are actually fixable.  Get your pen and paper out and take down these 5 mistakes and get ready to fix them.



9 Killer Tips for Building and Selling Your Business |

Here are some tips from an Entrepreneur who has built, scaled and sold his business and lessons learned

Source: 9 Killer Tips for Building and Selling Your Business |

This is what he shared about building, growing and selling his business:

Continue reading “9 Killer Tips for Building and Selling Your Business |”

6 Steps to Starting a Business

A great small business always starts out as an idea, but you have to transform that idea into action. That’s where many individuals can start to feel overwhelmed. It’s understandable to freeze up at the deluge of things that are required to get a business started, but getting going is actually easier than you might think.

Like any big goal, if you start by breaking it down into smaller tasks, you’ll be able to tackle enough of the actions necessary to get started. Here are six ways to break down the process and simplify getting started with your own small business.

1. Write a one-page business plan.
The key to a successful small business, especially in the startup phase, is to keep things simple and costs low. Costs don’t just mean your monetary costs, but also your time.

Many would-be small-business owners fall into the trap of trying to create the world’s biggest and most robust business plan. You’re only going to need that if you’re seeking investment or financing, and even if you will be seeking either of those things down the road, I always recommend small-business owners start out with by testing their ideas first before investing lots of time and money.

So to get started, create your own simple, one-page business plan that is a high-level overview of the small business you’re about to start.

  • Define your vision. What will be the end result of your business?
  • Define your mission. Different to a vision, your mission should explain the reason your company exists.
  • Define your objectives. What are you going to do — what are your goals — that will lead to the accomplishment of your mission and your vision?
  • Outline your basic strategies. How are you going to achieve the objectives you just bulleted?
  • Write a simple action plan. Bullet out the smaller task-oriented actions required to achieve the stated objectives.
    That’s it. It might be longer than one page, but it will surely be more organized and shorter than a full business plan, which could take weeks to write. If you need more information on the one-page business plan, or want to write out a full-blown finance-centered business plan, you can check out the book I co-wrote with my brother that has a robust explanation of both, Small Business, Big Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market From Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who did it Right.

2. Decide on a budget.
While I highly recommend you keep your costs as low as possible, you’ll still need to determine a budget to get started and how much you’ll be able to spend. If you’re self funding, be realistic about numbers and whatever you anticipate your budget to be. I’ve found that an additional 20 percent tacked on for incidentals is a realistic overage amount that helps you plan your burn rate.

Your burn rate is how much cash you’re spending month over month. It’s an important number for you to figure out to determine how long you can stay in business before you need to turn a profit.

You should set up your business with profitability in mind the first 30 to 90 days. It’s possible. But have a budget reserve so you can survive if things go leaner than expected.

3. Decide on a legal entity.
Filing paperwork to start a business costs money. Often, depending on your state, it can be a lot of money. You’ll need to account for city or municipality licensing, state incorporation or business entity fees and more. Do a thorough search ahead of time to determine what the filing fees are for your city, county and state before starting any business.

Often in the initial “test” phase for your small business, it can be wise to start as a sole proprietor, as it means less paperwork and up-front expenses. That can save you some big-time cash while you determine the viability of your business. Do be aware though that acting as a sole proprietor can put you at personal risk, so you’ll want to weigh the benefits vs. risks and then speak with a local attorney or tax professional to decide which is smarter for your short-term vs. long-term goals.

You can always file for a business entity once you’ve proven in the first three to six months of business that you’ve got a viable, sustainable model.

4. Take care of the money.
Whatever business entity you decide on, keep the funds separate from your personal accounts. This is a big mistake that makes tax time and financials so confusing. It’s really easy to set up a free business checking account with your local credit union or bank. All you’ll need is your filing paperwork, sole proprietor licensing information and an initial deposit to get set up from most financial institutions.

Don’t pay for an account or get any kind of credit lines yet, just get a holding place you can keep your money separated from your personal accounts. This should take you no more than hour at the financial institution of your choice.

5. Get your website.
Regardless of whether your business will be brick or mortar or online, you’ll need a website and that means securing a URL. Popular domain sites such as HostGator and Go Daddy will allow you to search for the website domain address of your choice and purchase it for as little as $9.99.

If you’re starting an online business, you can tie your domain to an online shopping cart and store front such as Shopify for a low monthly fee, or you can build a basic website yourself on top of your URL with do-it-yourself drag-and-drop site builders such as Weebly for a low fee. Both are less than $100 a month.

6. Test sales.
You have enough of a foundation now that you can start testing some sales. Try to spread the word in inexpensive and creative ways.

If you have a service-based business, get involved with your local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter immediately and ask what resources are available for you to speak, present or share information about your business. If you have a product-based business, test the viability of your product at local swap meets, farmers markets or other community events to test what the public really thinks (and if they’ll purchase) from you.

Drive traffic to your website through simple Facebook Ads with capped budgets, or set up a simple Google AdWords account with a budget cap to test if traffic is going to your site.

You can follow these six steps by yourself for not a lot of money. It’s a fantastic way to test the viability of your small business before throwing all your time and money into an unproven idea.

Moving from Employee to Business Owner

Many of you reading this right now are working for someone else — helping someone else build their dream. But you probably have a dream of your own that thrills and excites you. And if you’re like most people, you have two main worries holding you back from making the leap:

“How will I replace my day job income?”

“I have an idea for a business, but no idea where to start!”

You are not alone, and you don’t have to hold yourself back anymore. Here are six tips to help you get your dream in motion:

Continue reading “Moving from Employee to Business Owner”

Body Language ….. how it shapes you.


An amusing but never-the-less very informative talk by Amy Cuddy about how our body language shapes us.  We need to realise that all day,  every day, we are giving out information to people with every interaction.  What impression are we creating ?  Are you encouraging people to listen, to ignore, to approach or to leave ?  Non-verbal communication has been proven again and again to be more powerful than language and the spoken work ….. so it pays to pay attention and ‘look’ at what you’re “saying”.


Close your Business or Sell your business ? Which is right for you ?

Closing your business

Deciding whether to sell or close your business is a key decision.  There are many reasons to stop operating a business including:

1. lack of turnover or profit
2. you don’t want to run it anymore
3. it no longer fits your lifestyle or personal circumstances
4. wanting to do something different.
5. the size, profitability and structure of your business can also influence your decision to either close or sell it.

If you plan to sell or close the business consider:

1. cancelling your business registrations, including business name and tax registrations
2. employees and their entitlements
3. lease agreements
4. Cancelling business registrations, including business name and tax registrations
TIP: The Australian Tax Office has a series of videos to guide you through selling or closing a small business.

When selling or closing your business you must contact the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to:
1. Lodge final returns
2. Lodge all activity statements, PAYG withholding reports, repay refunds of GST credits and pay outstanding tax debts.
3. Cancel your GST
4. Cancel your ABN
This must be done within 28 days of ceasing business. Cancelling your ABN will also cancel your AUSkey and GST registrations so it is important to make sure that you have met all other reporting and payment conditions.

Record keeping obligations :
Under tax law, you must keep records for five years. This includes records of sales (including the sale of your business), payments to employees and payments to other businesses.
Advise the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) if you transfer or cancel your business name.
For more information visit the ASIC website and also the ATO

Employees and their entitlements

You will have obligations towards your employees if you decide to sell or close your business.
The exact obligations will depend on the industrial relations system you belong to and may include:
• notifying employees that the business is to be sold or closed
• paying accrued annual or long service leave
• making redundancy payments.

Lease agreements

When you decide to sell or close you have obligations if you lease business premises:

If you close before the end of the lease period you must still meet the terms of your lease, including paying rent. If you sell the business, check if you need your landlord’s consent before transferring the lease.
Check your lease agreement carefully and seek professional advice if you are unsure of anything.
Find out more about leasing commercial premises or contact one of our commercial tenancy advisers.

NB. The information contained in this article is provided as a guide only and should not
form the sole basis for any advice in relation to the particular situation of any person
without first obtaining proper professional advice.

Tips for buying an existing Business

Considering buying an existing business? Here’s some tips to help you assess if the business is suitable for you.

Buying an existing small business can be easier than setting up a new business from scratch. But the process can be daunting, especially if you’ve never been in business before. The main reason most people buy a small business rather than starting one is the advantage of having established systems, infrastructure and ongoing cash flow. People buy franchises for similar reasons – they usually come with supplier agreements and a proven system of what works and what doesn’t.

The approach

Once you’ve found a suitable business, you’ll need to verify the state of the business before making an offer. This includes ensuring that sales are as good as the owner says they are, that employees will be happy with a new owner, and that customers will remain loyal once you take over.

Make sure you investigate all aspects thoroughly. Are the business systems sound and documented, and is the cash flow sustainable? A business owner will want to sell their business for as much money as possible and as the buyer, you’ll want to pay as little as possible.

Establish your credibility

Formally register your interest in buying the business. The owner will usually have instructed a business adviser / broker, to sell the business. Approach the broker rather than the owner to register your interest.  Your integrity and your future plans for the business are usually extremely important to the seller.

Analyse the seller’s objectives

Working out the seller’s motivation will assist you later in the process:

  • Does the owner have to sell?
  • Does the owner wish to sell just the trading part of the business, or a company that holds both assets (such as a building) and the trading part?
  • Is money the prime motivation for selling or is there some  reason, such as illness or divorce?

Go deeper

Before you make any offer, you will need to sign a Confidentiality Agreement in order to complete your ‘due diligence’.  This Confidentiality Agreement will allow the Broker to disclose the Business’s financial details, thus ensuring the business has no major problems.  Always ask yourself this question – “If the business is as wonderful as they make out, why they are selling?”

Sellers often gloss over the weak areas of the business or create short-term gains to give a favourable impression of the business. For example, lowering stock levels to artificially inflate profit (before stock needs to be re-ordered) can make a business seem more profitable.

Get a feel for the business

Immerse yourself in the business:

  • Research its market and main competitors.
  • Assess the risks associated with the business’s future trading and with the industry as a whole.
  • If the location is important, stand (out of view) outside and estimate the sales activity.
  • Visit the business at different times.

Ask industry experts

Tap into the knowledge of those in the know:

  • What’s the current and future demand for the business’s products or services?
  • Are prices (and margins) rising or falling?
  • How is the competition in that market changing? For example, which new competitors are entering or who else is looking to exit?
  • Contact the relevant industry association if there is one. For example, if you’re interested in a retail business, talk to your state retailing association.

Conduct detailed due diligence

Once you’ve indicated that you’re serious and interested in buying the business and you’ve signed a Heads of Agreement   you can usually get access to more detailed information.

Analyse results and trends

Analyse historical information and trends:

  • Look at sales growth, profit margins, overheads and working capital (review debtors, creditors, stock and work-in-progress).
  • Is there scope for improvement? What specific value can you add to this business based on your skills and experience?

Look for changes

Take care to look for changes or inconsistencies:

  • Has the business recently changed its accounting policy to show better profits?
  • Compare the business’s financial projections with other evidence you have. Do the forecasts tally with the historical trends?
  • Is the sales forecast achievable given the current order book and what you’ve learned from customers?
  • Does the forecast reflect the outlook for the industry and the whole economy?

You may need to revise any projections that are out of step with these indicators.

Check the finances

Does the business have an efficient accounting system in place and does the owner monitor key performance indicators regularly?

Check the major balance sheet items:

  • When was the last full audit? If it was over six months ago, ask for another one.
  • What are stock levels? Rising stock levels may be a dangerous sign, especially in manufacturing, seasonal or fashion industries.
  • How large are the bad debts and why did they happen?

Uncover any legal issues

As part of your due diligence:

  • Confirm legal ownership of all key assets. This might include property, equipment, vehicles and intellectual property (such as registered patents, designs and trade marks). Is the ownership clearly defined in all cases?
  • Check for any past, current or pending lawsuits.
  • Examine all contractual obligations. This includes employment issues and contracts with third parties such as customers and suppliers. Look for any contingent liabilities.
  • Consider what effect a change of ownership will have. Are you likely to lose any contracts?

Making the first offer

Before you make an initial offer, make your own sales and profit projections rather than relying on supplied figures.

If you have ideas on how to increase profits, this is your good fortune, so don’t inflate your offer price because of opportunities you’ve identified.

What is the risk?

Consider your level of risk. The risk is higher if the target business:

  • has assets (stock and equipment) worth less than your offer price
  • relies on one or two major customers – or suppliers or key employees
  • is currently unprofitable or has a history of losses. In this case, you may have to fund losses for some time to come.

Though it sounds obvious, making a lower offer and increasing it if required is always a better strategy than going in high at the start. Ultimately, the business is only worth what someone will pay for it. The seller might have to lower their expectations.


How These Aussie Small Businesses Have Cracked the US Market — Huffington Post Australia Athena2

The U.S. has long been a hot market for Australian small business to tackle — and it’s still brimming with opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs.But it’s a big country — where does an Aussie small business even begin to evaluate how to grab a slice of the market share, where to set up an office or…

via How These Aussie Small Businesses Have Cracked the US Market — Huffington Post Australia Athena2

How To Not Be A Horrible Boss — Huffington Post Australia Athena2

Most of us have experienced, or endured, a horrible boss. He/she might have had anger issues and delighted in yelling at employees until his voice was hoarse or non-existent. Or he might have picked on just one or two employees, making their lives hell until they resigned.Or perhaps he had his own brand of horrible…

via How To Not Be A Horrible Boss — Huffington Post Australia Athena2

Subscribe to our Practical Advice Newsletter

If you’ve ever dreamt of owning your own business, whatever business appeals to you, you will no doubt have a picture in your mind of what your life will look like, as a business owner.

You may have dreamed of choosing your hours and days of work, and assumed this will lead to a better lifestyle with less stress and greater personal satisfaction ……

BUT, is this the reality of it, or just the dream ?

It can be either, and the truth of it is, it is will depend on you.  Owing and running a business requires many skills you may never have thought of or considered, but which you really, really need to know before embarking on what could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

We intend to go through all the different aspects of owning and running your own business, so if you, or someone you know, is currently running a business, or thinking about running a business …. suggest to them they sign up to our newsletter to receive chucks of practical advice on how to they best ensure their investment becomes a dream rather than a nightmare.

Sign up here – we promise not to bother you more than once a fortnight and will not sell your details to any third parties whatsoever.

Business Sales Victoria
Business Sales Victoria


Independent coffee shops ruling the roast in Australia

Australia’s coffee market is dominated by independent coffee shops and there is no better time to get in on the act.

Source: Independent coffee shops ruling the roast in Australia