So, you want to start your own small business? You might have the perfect idea to bring in new customers, like a niche cat toy company selling handmade cat toys filled with catnip, but starting out on your own needs more than just a great idea.
Before you apply for business loans in South Africa, you will need to look for the right financial and business advice to help you on your way. Other than looking online for some tips and tricks, there are some people you should speak to for sound financial advice, as outlined below.
An accountant is one of the best people to go to for small business financial advice, especially if you are looking into business loans in South Africa. An accountant can give you advice on how to prepare financial proposals, as well as how to draw up a business budget.
Don’t only turn to an accountant at the start of your business, but continue returning to them once your business starts to bring in revenue too. They can help to determine the financial health of your business and give you suggestions on what to do if your business is underperforming. Once you start hiring employees, an accountant will help with your payroll and taxes.
Starting a small business involves a lot of legal legwork. For example, you will have to decide if you want to be labelled as an LLC, a corporation or a sole proprietorship. If you are not sure what those terms mean, then it is time to chat with a lawyer.
Lawyers can also provide you with advice on how to draw up the legal paperwork to make sure your business structure matches your business plan when applying for business loans in South Africa. If you have a partner, then you will need to draw up a legal contract with them stating all the aspects of your partnership and getting the help of a lawyer is imperative in this situation.
While some small business owners prefer to go it alone, there are some who need staff to help with the smooth running of their venture. If you are one of the people who will be hiring staff, then you will need to speak to recruiters about how to handle your hiring processes.
Recruiters who have experience in your industry will be able to tell you what type of employee you should look for in terms of experience and what skills they will need for the position. A recruiter will be able to help you put together a job description and help you to screen and interview potential employees. Ask recruiters for professional advice on who they think the best candidates would be for your business.
Other business owners
Now, this might sound like you are cosying up to the competition, but if you are just starting out in an industry, talking to other business owners can help immensely. They can offer you sound advice on what steps to take when you are starting out and how to progress after the first year of business.
From other business owners, you will learn good business habits, such as getting invoices out early and replying to customers timeously – all of which can boost your business to new heights. If you brand yourself as a friendly competitor, you can build strong relationships with other businesses in your industry and ask for names of accountants, lawyers and recruiters who can help you.
Family and friends
Speaking to family and friends about your business will allow you to bounce ideas off of them and ask for consumer input. After all, they are likely the people who will be buying your first products or making use of your services in the first few months of your business’ inception.
Some family members might turn into mentors by providing sound advice on what to do when, and some might give you feedback on your products and services. Do not take this advice lightly, as they are your consumer base and can give you insights into what your potential customers are thinking about your small business.
Many entrepreneurs obtain small business loans in South Africa from financial institutions, so it stands to reason that you should ask these institutions for help and advice for your small business.
You will need to ask them about the application process, what documents they will need from you and if there are any restrictions on what types of businesses they will offer funding for. It is best to get financial advice about a loan from the company you are taking the loan out from as they will give you the exact processes from the beginning. Financial institutions are also more in touch with what will make a business a financial success, and so can provide you with the right advice for growing yours.