Chris Lipscombe is founder of GroundZero, a strategic advice consultancy. His top tips for being in business include:
- In business you need to get your head around GST, PAYE, Taxation, commercial law
- The most important thing of your business is to start making money and to get cash flowing through your business
- Make sure you plan—both strategic (long term goals and vision) and business (cashflow, OPEX, CAPEX)
- Have people who can help you execute—co-founders, employees, customers etc etc
- Plan for growth—be realistic (which is hard)
- Understand governance and operations - two very different things with different skill requirements
Cover the acronyms:
- SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
- PEST: political, economic, social, technological
If a business is looking for investment it needs to think about the return it is offering—does it have IP, does it have a market, does it have cashflow control? Ensure that there is a development path for continuing innovation. The fact is that out of ten investments, one may make money. two may work ok, while seven will crash and burn. It is imperative that the business owner and the investor agree on overarching strategy and direction. Competitor analysis is vitally important—it's too easy to focus inwards and not look at the general landscape—the "head in the sand" approach is very dangerous.
The NZ Venture Capital Association has a helpful angel and venture capital guidebook—n a country like New Zealand there are a large number of people who will help a start-up out - buying people a coffee or lunch can unlock advice, connections and possible investment—don't be shy—people like Lance Wiggs and this author are happy to chat (and actually enjoy it) with start-ups. Sites like bizchat are a place to communciate with, and get advice from, your peers.