Starting a Business


Are you thinking of starting your own business?

Running a successful business requires a host of skills - such as financial management, organisational skills, marketing knowledge and awareness of legal issues. It also helps to have characteristics such as assertiveness, determination, self-motivation and the ability to work well under pressure. You may feel that you are well equipped in certain areas but somewhat lacking in others ….. don’t despair! Not everyone who sets out in business has all of these things to begin with.

With the help of the Rural Women’s Network website you can take your aspirations one step further … here you will find links to a series of workbooks that take you, step by step, through the business start up process, leading to putting together a basic business plan.

On our Members’ Directory page you will find details of personal development trainers who can help you develop some of the characteristics you will also need.

Some of the things you need to think about are:

  • Am I the right sort of person to run a business?
  • Market Research
  • Marketing
  • Business Viability
  • Finance
  • Legal and Practical

Am I the right sort of person to run a business?
Download our Workbooks 1a (Lifestyle and Personal Information)  and 1b (Define Your Business) to start finding out now.

Market Research
The first thing you need to know (and the first thing the Bank Manager will ask you if you are looking for finance to start up your business) is who your customers will be and what the demand will be.

You also need to work out how much of your product or service you might realistically be able to sell, but how do you do that?

Workbook 2 (Market Research) (download) tells you how to go about finding out the answers to these, and other, very important questions.

Identifying who your customers are likely to be is a very important part of Marketing your product or service … it will affect your decisions on what you offer, how much you charge, how you advertise and how people will access your goods or services.

When you first start up, promotion is extremely important because, unless people have heard of you, you aren’t likely to get any business! You need some effective and efficient ways of advertising your business so that you don’t waste money on mis-directed promotional materials.

Click here to download Workbook 3 on Marketing.

Business Viability
Now you have a better idea what your product or service is, who your customers are and how you are going to make sure they know about you, you need to consider whether you are likely to make a profit from running your business.

  • How much will it cost me to set up and run my business?
  • What is the difference between fixed and variable costs?
  • How much should I be charging?
  • What about my own wages?
  • What is breakeven analysis?
  • What is my capacity?

Click here to download Workbook 4 on Business Viability.

Having established that it is possible to make a profit from your business, it is now important to develop your understanding of financial systems further. This Workbook will help you to answer questions such as:

  • How can I develop a sales forecast?
  • What is the difference between cash flow and profit and loss?
  • What records do I need to keep?
  • Do I need an accountant?

Click here to download Workbook 5 on Finance.

Practical and Legal Considerations

Here we look at some of the other things you need to think about when setting up a business ….

  • What trading form is most appropriate for me?
  • How do I register with the Inland Revenue?
  • Insurance and tax
  • Premises
  • Trading standards

Click here to download Workbook 6 on Practical and Legal Considerations.

Business Plan
Now that you’ve completed all the Workbooks, all you need to do is pull all the information you’ve gathered together into one place - the business plan. 

Click here to download an Action Plan and Business Plan workbook.

This should be a document you keep close to hand - not just something to be written before you start the business, that gets forgotten once you’re up and running. Keep looking at it, refining it, updating the cash flow forecast and profit and loss, and it will be an invaluable tool in keeping on top of what’s happening in your business.

So, good luck!

Documents for download