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 In Managing & Growing, Starting

October is Small Business Month, a time to celebrate the success and importance of small business, and learn more about starting up and growing a business.

It’s the perfect time to get inspired, take action and ensure your business not only survives but thrives. And here’s a four-point housekeeping list to get you started.

1. Cash flow and finance

You’re in business to make money – so cash flow and finances are naturally top priorities. Do you understand the basics of bookkeeping, invoicing and budgeting? Do you have a financial plan, budget and goals?

A bookkeeper or accountant can help with ongoing advice in this area or set you up with accounting software. There’s also plenty of useful information through the NSW Government’s Business Connect program, which is designed to help you grow your small business.

Other ideas to help your business thrive financially include:

2. Digital innovation and future thinking

It’s natural to be absorbed in your business, but it’s important to step back and consider broader trends and changes that are impacting businesses around the globe.

Has the rise of digital and automation affected your business yet? How will you change your business to benefit and grow from digital innovation?

Digital is often described as a business ‘game changer’ and a recent report suggests Australian businesses must embrace digital or be disrupted.

Instead of worrying about how digital innovation will affect your business, it’s time to consider what technology is available to help you grow your business. Cloud technology is now an affordable way to improve efficiencies within your business and apps can help you manage it better.

3. Work-life balance and personal wellbeing

When you’re managing so many areas of your small business, it’s easy to neglect one of the most important areas: your own work-life balance and wellbeing.

Research reveals that small business owners across the country are working harder than ever, with one in four working seven days and more than 50 hours per week, and 16% working more than 60 hours per week. With that in mind, it’s vital to make time to focus on your mental health and wellbeing.

Ideas to help better manage your work-life balance and wellbeing include:

  • Recognising the signs that you need to take more care of yourself. These include being unable to focus, feeling irritable or overwhelmed, and avoiding making decisions.
  • Blocking out time in your diary for exercise, meditation or even just a coffee with a friend.
  • Finding a business mentor who has been through the same struggles.
  • Joining a Facebook group for small business owners in your industry or niche (or a community such as Flying Solo for micro businesses) where you can find support and understanding.

61% of Australian businesses by number are sole traders with no employees. Micro business (with one to four employees) make up 27% of Australian businesses.

4. Women and business

Whether you’re a woman in business, or run a business with female leaders, there are certain challenges and opportunities that come with the territory. The gender pay gap and gender bias are real, so it’s important to continue the strides that are being made towards equality.

The NSW Women Entrepreneurs Network is a good starting point. It provides “information, resources and support from government and industry to help women across the state start and grow businesses”, including handy checklists and toolkits.

Getting involved in relevant groups and attending events that champion women in business can also help build your business and the role of women in business. Meetup, government organisations, your state and local business chambers, and groups such as Business Chicks and League of Extraordinary Women can help you get connected.

If you need help growing your business, contact Prospa on 1300 882 867 about a small business loan that matches your needs.

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