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Guest Post by: Rob McEwan, IT Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki and Mentor at Startup Weekend Taranaki

Staples Rodway
Get business advice early on to prevent issues!

 

It’s a commonly accepted opinion that creating a business is hard work. Of course, there’s your product or service to perfect and your funding to sort out but some of the logistics are much easier than people realise. It’s often when something is overlooked that it all feels a bit too hard. Staples Rodway IT Director, Rob McEwan has been involved in helping businesses succeed for over 30 years now and if he had to narrow down some advice for areas people overlook in the early stages of business, these tips would be on there.

  1. Incorporate strategic planning sessions from the start, even better if you do this with an external advisor. Building these habits and relationships early give you a great base to develop from as your business grows.  Clear strategic direction engenders greater clarity of direction, unity of decision-making, and provides greater traction to actions taken. Vital issues are considered early, often resulting in savings of time and money.
  2. You may not have a CIO or CTO on board when you start. This is no excuse to defer all IT strategy until you have the skills in your team. It’s important to get IT advice near the beginning because it’ll be easier to set you up for growth then, compared to trying to retroactively tidy up down the track.
  3. Find a good accounting system and use it! A system won’t help you if you aren’t inputting the correct information. From day one, ensure that you know how you will track your income and expenses and make sure you keep it up to date. Most cloud accounting systems automate a lot of these tasks for you so speak with your accountant to review which would work best for your business.
  4. Consider your marketing plan early on. Knowing how you will be promoting your business lets you design systems, processes and collateral that support your intended channels. This saves wasted efforts that don’t actually fit with the marketing plan.
  5. Ensure that you are complying with any legislation and requirements that are specific to your industry. You don’t want to go too far and realise there’s quite a big regulatory hurdle standing in your way. Find out about it first so you can plan with it in mind.

And a bonus tip – learn everything that you can! Take advantage of the sessions offered by Staples Rodway (there’s even free ones!) to learn the Basics of Financial Management and the Basics of Business Planning. When you’re running the show, it doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about a lot of things – you can leave the work to the experts but understanding these aspects of your business will empower you to feel more in control.

Rob McEwan, IT Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki and Mentor at Startup Weekend Taranaki
Rob McEwan, IT Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki and Mentor at Startup Weekend

 

Katherine Blaney