21 Actionable Small Business Tips For Starting Up

by | Aug 14, 2018

Are you thinking of starting a small business and looking for some tips to help get started?

Starting and maintaining a small business can be overwhelming.  Thankfully small business owners are generous with sharing their knowledge – as they have done when we put out the call for their tips to include in this blog.

If you are new to business, or looking for a place to share and generate ideas, we highly recommend you look at the networking groups at the end of this blog, they’re a wealth of information including more small business tips on a daily basis. Before we get to that though, let’s see what these business owners had to say about getting started in business!


When you first start your business, it’s a challenge to get your name out there. As these tips have all come from excellent networking groups, you can imagine there were a lot of tips around networking! Here are some of our favourites.

  • Network, Network, Network – in business, relationships are everything. By intentionally networking as much as possible for my first 12 months in business, I significantly expanded the reach of my business. Not only do I receive referrals from many of the business owners I have met (whether self-referrals or to others they know), I also have a great group of businesses that I can draw on to refer to others when they need help that I can’t provide. Additionally, I also have an excellent knowledge base (other small business owners) that I can tap into whenever I need to.
    Irene Bennetts – Admin Army (you’re already here!!! 🙂 )


  • Talk to people! Tell them who you are and what you do – people, especially friends, family and your local community can’t support you if they don’t know about you.
    Angela Muni – Creation Station NZ


  • Get connected, network, network and network. Focus on generating referral business (word of mouth) from your happy clients.
    Mark French – Marketing Essentials


  • Network. Friends and family generally have no idea whatsoever, nor do they care often, about how to run a small business. It can be very isolating, so find your tribe.
    Sharon Holmes – Totally Balmy 


Designing your brand might not be something you have put much thought into, but it’s more than just coming up with a business name, that’s for sure!

  • Continuity of brand across all areas. Logos, colours, fonts, mission statements. Building a brand that is instantly recognisable.
    Paul Harris – The Village Snob


  • When you create your logo have it made into a portrait and landscape shape to fit all the different advertising formats, e.g a landscape shape will work fine on a pen whereas a portrait shape works better on a drink bottle. My other advice is to get it supplied in vector format as well as the standard format. Vector files are the best for all types of applications.
    Mark French – Marketing Essentials 


Your website is the perfect selling tool. When you first set it up, there are a few key steps recommended by business owners.

  • Don’t be afraid to have a picture of yourself on your “about” page or social media channels. It’s such an easy way to connect with your audience, potential customers and make you “real” to them rather than just a faceless business. It doesn’t even have to be serious, use it as a chance to show off your personality (see my profile picture – this is on my own about page). It doesn’t have to be a professional shot (bonus points if it is!) but try to get good even lighting on your face so people can see who you are.
    Kate Ryan – Ryan’s Daughter Photography


  • Get your photos taken professionally. With a makeup artist. I have seen heaps of really great websites with terrible photos of the business owner. You are selling yourself so do!
    Jemma McDade – BayPix Ltd


  • Great photos grab people attention so make your product photos look awesome. If necessary get a professional photographer to do this. Add an “About You” to your website or social media pages along with a photo of you and your employees. Helps build trust with new customers!!
    Tracey James – Cake & Bake Kiwi


  • On your About Page don’t use buzzwords! Keep it simple. Human & effective.
    Carlene Campbell – Navigate HR 

Client Focus

Assuming you already have a brilliant business idea, now it’s time to really focus on who your ideal client is and what it is you’re offering.

  • You didn’t go into business for you. Without clients, you don’t have a business, so make sure everything you do has them in the centre. Get to know your ideal client, and as much about them as you can so that your offering becomes so irresistible, that you are their natural choice. Your clients are the hero of your story, your success relies on them and you are the solution. Put yourself in their shoes, from your messaging, product or service offering, all the way to the experience they have on your website or when they interact with you – everything should be a great experience for them. Getting to know and serve your clients the best you possibly can is the best investment you will ever make in your business.
    Candice Baker – The Marketing Baker and Network NZ


  • Know what you’re offering and to who. Makes decision making (especially around marketing & pricing) easier. Also, although something is clear to you it might not be to who else needs to know; like clients, staff, suppliers. A public mission statement can add clarity..i.e. “Our priority is to reduce plastic waste”.
    AJ Pipe – The Business Owners Accountability Coach


Business is all about relationships and people. Make sure you’re selective and follow the great advice below!

  • Surround yourself with a great team. Your team is your staff, suppliers, key clients who you can ask for support, sponsored individuals (riders in our case), your advisers (insurance, lawyer, accountant, business coach/mentor), and of course groups like Network NZ. You’ll only ever be as good as the ‘weakest link’ in your team so choose wisely! It’s also amazing the difference a supportive team can make during challenging times.
    Catherine Baxter – NSC – The English Saddle Co


Technology is the best and worst at the same time. Here’s a couple of quick tips to make your life easier.

  • Ensure that YOU own your business assets – make sure that your domain name is registered in your name, not with your web developer.
    Leah Harold – Little Biz Online


  • In your email account, set up a folder for each of your current clients. This helps you keep track of communications sent and received with each client.
    Jackie Procter – Spotty Lizard


Getting processes right from the beginning is really important to ensure success, and to avoid overwhelm.

  • Keep records from the start and keep them up to date! Trying to piece together a whole years accounts in March is hard lol So find out what you need to do when you start and update regularly throughout the year.
    Angela Muni – Creation Station NZ


  • Have a business plan including your exit strategy, work your timeline back to the start point. Business plans make it ‘real’ and makes you think deep into the business ironing out challenges along the way.
    Patience – everything takes longer than you think
    Heather Murphy – Eezapet


  • Write clear and precise T&C’s – they help your customers during the purchase process and also you should something go wrong.
    Tracey James – Cake & Bake Kiwi


  • Make sure you have separate bank accounts for personal and business transactions and always pay yourself first.
    Carol Reid – Soulpreneurs 

Business Focus

The most important thing is to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.

  • Be true to yourself and your business, know your brand and what it stands for. People like to know the ‘why’ behind your products and/or services.
    Amber-Pixie Rose – The Wonky Pixie


  • One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is:
    Don’t think of yourself as a photographer with your own business. Think of yourself as a business owner who happens to do photography.
    Big mindset change that helped me greatly.
    Kaylene Fister – Lupin Bay Photography 


And of course, the purpose of actionable tips is to get going and take action.  If you need a hand with knowing to start or any admin tasks, feel free to get in touch to have a chat about how the Admin Army team can assist – we love seeing small businesses flourish!

A HUGE thank you to the small business owners in The Business Owners Hub with AJ Pipe, Network NZ and Venus Network, for generously sharing their tips with us.

Stay tuned for part two where we’ll be sharing another 20 actionable small business tips, this time with a focus on overall business and growth.  Coming soon!




Receive the latest News and industry tips straight to your mailbox!