Tools and Checklists

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Last updated on December 18, 2012

Checklist: Growing your business

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Before you decide to grow your business.

  • Do you have the right business skills?
    Assessing that you have the right business skills can help you decide whether to grow your business.
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  • Do you have systems in place to control your business?
    Making sure you have internal procedures to keep control of your business activities can help you manage growth in a controlled way.
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  • Is your idea for growth viable?
    Establishing whether your idea for growing your business is viable before you start can save you time and money.
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  • Do you have a business plan to manage growth?
    Planning can help you avoid mistakes when growing your business and can also help you seek finance and support from others.
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  • Have you thought about how you will market your growing business?
    A marketing plan can help you decide the best way to market your goods or services to your customers.
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  • Will you need to obtain finance to grow your business?
    You will need to work out how much money (capital) you'll need including how much you will contribute and how much you may need to borrow. It's important to know how to be prepared to borrow from a financial institution.
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  • Will you be building infrastructure to grow?
    There may be planning issues to consider.
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  • Will you need to change locations?
    You might be a home business moving to some other premises and needing to decide where to locate your business. Once you've decided you'll need to check with your local council about any planning or permit requirements as well as any zoning issues or restrictions on signage.
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  • Will you need to change your business structure?
    A change in your business may mean a change to your business structure. You may also see opportunities to operate as a social enterprise.
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  • Do you invest in innovation, research and development?
    In business you must constantly be on the lookout for new and better ways of doing things. There are tax incentives available for businesses to undertake research and development.
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  • Will you be exporting goods?
    Understanding your requirements when exporting goods will put you on the front foot.
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  • Will growing your business mean a change to your GST status?
    Growing your business may mean you now have to register for GST. The Australian Tax Office has all the information you will need for this.
    Link to ATO site
  • Will you need to register a different business name and domain name if applicable?
    The Australian Securities and Investment Commission can help you.
    Link to ASIC website
  • Will there be additional licences, registrations, codes of practice or standards that are applicable to your business?
    The Australian Business and Licence Information Service is a one-stop-shop for all the information you need about this.
    Link to the Australian Business Licence Information Service
  • Do you have the right insurances?
    You will need to check whether your growth means any changes to your business insurances. Your insurance broker will be able to help you.
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  • Will you have new intellectual property or trademarks that need protecting?
    Have you some new intellectual property that needs protecting? There are laws to support this as well as some strategies that you can put in place.
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  • Will you be employing people?
    Sometimes a growth in business means that you will go from being a sole trader to an employer. This brings a range of additional challenges and obligations.
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  • Will you be applying for government tenders?
    As your business grows you may be in a better position to apply for government tenders.
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  • Are there opportunities to improve your energy efficiency?
    As your business grows, you may need to find ways to manage your energy costs.
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  • Are you prepared for an emergency or crisis?
    Planning for difficulties or crises can help you reduce the risk of this occurring. Knowing where to go in the case of difficulties or crises is also important.
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  • Do you plan to do business online or promote your business online?
    Our Digital Ready site will link you to all the information you need.
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Checklist: Managing growth

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Action

Practical tips

1. Be aware of the pitfalls of uncontrolled growth

Know the symptoms and be on the lookout for any to emerge.

Take action to control these (refer to "Controlling your business" information on this website).

2. Plan thoroughly

Plan the growth of your business.

Develop a business plan and direct special attention to cash flows.

Monitor progress and take remedial action if unfavourable variances occur.

3. Build on your competitive strengths

Plan growth in areas where you are competent.

4. Consolidate after each growth of phase

After each phase of expansion (such as a new product or new outlet), update your plan and consolidate before you move to the next phase.

5. Control your cash position

Examine carefully the timing of cash inflows and outflows, not simply the level of cash.

Do not think that because your business is getting bigger, you can start taking more for yourself straightaway.

Think in terms of the cash implications of any business decision you make.

Constantly look for ways to improve your cash flow.

6. Recruit additional employees and be prepared to delegate

Develop a preparedness to let go of what may currently be a hands-on mindset.

Consider recruiting additional employees on a part-time, casual or permanent basis.

Reward and empower your employees and develop a relationship of mutual trust.

7. Upgrade your accounting system and ensure information is provided in a format which suits you

Identify what is critical to the success of your business and learn how to extract information on these factors and monitor progress.

Seek assistance from your accountant or business adviser.

8. Continually reassess your core business

Apply the 80/20 principle to identify your key customers and market to them with a high standard of service. That is, focus your energy where you can make the most difference.

9. Think strategically

Maintain your focus.

Monitor your market and identify where you can build customer relationships.

10. Deal with a banker to whom you can relate

Find a good banker who consults with you and gives timely responses.

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