So, you’re in business now

I received my Australian Business Number (ABN) in the post yesterday.  It was one of those moments that made me realise that I was no longer an employee. Me? The boss? Well I never.

But here we are, one week into this new adventure.

In addition to starting working on new clients (YAY), I’ve spent a lot of time on the ATO website and downloaded a tonne of guides for start-up businesses.  I’ve registered for a course at the Small Business Development Corporation and found templates galore for cashflow forecasts.

My inner Excel geek is living the dream.

And, speaking of which, I’ve started timesheets. Thanks to a recommendation from my old boss, I now use an online system called Harvest that tracks my time and produces invoices. So far, so good.

Amongst all of this I have come to appreciate how much a start-up business has to contend with in the early days.  I can totally understand why defining the newly hatched organisation’s brand doesn’t necessarily come at the top of the never-ending to-do list.

This hit home when I ran into an old client the other day. I updated her on my plans and she said, so tell me why I would hire you? What makes you different?

I’ve spent my career answering those questions for other people but, believe it or not, I get really uncomfortable when I have to promote myself.

But they are two really important questions and are at the heart of helping to define and communicate your brand. And I’m not talking about a logo.

Seth Godin neatly defined a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, defined his brand by saying “In the factory we make cosmetics, in the store we sell hope.”

This is the promise Revlon makes to its customers and they aim to deliver it in everything they do – the product itself, the packaging, the marketing, the customer service.

So ask yourself, what do you want your customers to say, feel, believe about your brand?  Now, how are you going to deliver it?



If you’re thinking about starting a business, here’s some resources I’ve used so far:

Australian Tax Office –

ANZ’s Small Business Hub –

Small Business Development Corporation –

Business Victoria –

Build a business from your kitchen table –

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