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Big dreams, small business: top tips for budding business owners in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

With a planned re-opening of the border and an end to COVID-19 restrictions on the horizon, New Zealand is ‘back in business’.

If you’ve ever dreamed of running your own small business and being your own boss, now’s a great time to do the groundwork.

Thanks to eCampus NZ, you can enrol with Ara, EIT, UCOL, Otago Polytechnic, Whitireia & WelTec, NorthTec, Toi Ohomai or NMIT and study online, so you don’t even need to step on campus to study small business! Whether you choose part-time or full-time study, you’ll work through courses developed by industry experts and learn to lead the way in business.

We asked our small business course facilitators for their top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, and here’s what they had to say…

  1. Dare to dream.

People rarely end up with their dream job by accident.

Pursuing your passion can take courage…but it’s unlikely that you’ll regret your leap of faith, especially if you make the effort to prepare beforehand through study.

All you need to know before you begin is that you want to be your own boss one day; lots of students develop their business idea through networking with classmates and bouncing ideas around with their course facilitator.

Take a punt on yourself; you deserve it!

  1. Learn about yourself.

Everyone begins their business journey with a different set of skills, so your first step should be to reflect on what you already know and what you need to find out and improve on.

Maybe you’ve got great organisational skills but need to know more about taxation. Perhaps you’re confident that you can write a business plan but want to improve your leadership skills.

Spending some time reflecting on where you’re at before you start your small business journey will set you up for success down the track.

  1. Get to know your business environment.

If you already have a business idea, do some research on similar businesses. List out your key stakeholders (i.e., anyone who will be interested in your business, from customers to employees) and start thinking about how you might engage with them.

If you had one minute of their time, what would you say to convince them to buy from you or work with you?

  1. Put together a business management plan…

…to describe how your business will be run. What are your objectives and goals? What will your management structure look like? How will you divide responsibilities? How will you make sure you hit key deadlines? What can you put in place to manage stress? How will you protect the health, safety and wellbeing of yourself and your employees? How will you grow your business?

  1. Think about what’s important to you…

Reflect on your values and how you want to apply these in the world of business.

As a small business owner, you have a responsibility to make ethical decisions and an opportunity to do good. Start thinking about this early as it will inform your business planning.

When Anton Mathews started his fish and chip shop Fush, he committed to business behaviour that celebrates and normalises te reo Māori – offering bilingual customer service experiences.

Kiwi entrepreneur Brianne West hates the amount of waste generated by the cosmetics industry, so her business Ethique is plastic-free.

How will your business practices make the world a better place?

  1. Get to grips with Kiwi law

Before you begin, you’ll need a good understanding of New Zealand-specific regulations. This will be a learning curve, but it really is essential to make sure you’re across key legislation such as the Fair-Trading Act and Consumers Guarantee Act.

  1. Wait, I’ll need some help with all this!

Don’t worry, it’s all covered in the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Small Business) (Level 3). We’ll guide you through the process step by step!

Once you’re happy that you’ve covered this, you’re ready to start planning…

  1. Write a business plan.

You won’t regret taking the time to create a solid business plan.

To build a great plan, you’ll need foundational knowledge of financing, investing, assets, operations, income, and costs.

Don’t worry, you’re not in this alone – we’ll guide you through the entire process in the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Small Business) (Level 4).

  1. Never stop learning!

Have a professional development plan in place from the start so you can lead your business from strength to strength.

Looking to reach more customers? Study towards the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Marketing and Sales) (Level 5) in your spare time.

Want to take control of the financials? Take a look at the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Accounting) (Level 5).

Keen to brush up on your leadership skills to support your growing team? Check out the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Leadership and Management) (Level 5).

Time to learn how to get business flows going and make exciting new initiatives happen? Support your studies with the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Project Management) (Level 5).

One of the great things about studying towards a diploma in business is that you only need to take the four core courses once, meaning if you want to add another strand to your diploma and skill to your skillset, you can!

  1. Rally your crew!Tell your whānau and friends about your dreams, what you want to achieve, and how they can help. Their support can make all the difference.Throughout your study, take the time to get to know your course facilitator and classmates. Treat every new connection as a valuable one…you never know where these business relationships may lead in the future.

Are you ready to take the plunge into the big world of small business? Click here to contact one of our learner service coordinators or apply now!

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