The Small Business Survival SeriesEpisode 2 – Planning

Dive deeper into the role of business planning with Trent Brinsley, General Manager at Alltel Australia. With over a decade’s worth of experience helping small businesses, he identifies common roadblocks to launching your product.

Transcript

Interviewer:

Hello and thanks for joining us for our second podcast in the Alltel Australia Small Business Series. I am Mel Slade. And I am joined by Alltel’s General Manager, Trent Brinsley, who has designed this series to help businesses not only to survive, but thrive. In our first podcast, we covered all the things to consider before going into business. Now it’s time to talk planning. Trent, you’ve been in business for 10 years, just how important is planning?

Trent:

Look, planning is the most important (thing). It’s just a way of putting in a bunch of steps that you need to complete and understanding where you are in that process.

You know, everything in starting a business—from your website, to your phone calls, to how your customers communicate with you. They’re all important steps that need to be done right.

You need to understand the running costs of the business. And I always say budget is great for business. Understanding what next month’s running costs are going to be or even the month after, certainly helps you to forecast some growth within there.

Interviewer:

Okay, so you’ve got an idea. What’s next?

Trent:

Then it comes down to getting out there and selling product— and that’s based around advertising and marketing.

For example, we sell to customers all over Australia. We don’t have a real showroom, so our website is our online showroom. That’s a major part of our business. We have a full-time team of people working on it. Those are the sorts of things you’ve got to consider when starting a business.

How are you gonna get your product out there? How will your customers contact you? When are you available? What happens if you’re not available? What happens if you want to grow the business in 6 months’ time or need to add another staff member?

I think it’s important to set up the structure initially that caters for growth later on, down the track…Read more >>

Interviewer:

Do you need to have your product perfect before going to market?

Trent:

No. There is never a perfect product out there. I think what we see is a lot of people procrastinating when it comes to starting businesses. Twelve months later, they’re still talking about starting a business.

You just need to get out there and start selling it. You can fine-tune things along the way. You can improve it as you need to. You can streamline the process. But what you can’t do is start generating income later. It’s too late by then.

Interviewer:

When is the best time to start trialing your product and putting it out there? Conducting market research—is it important to do that in the early stages?

Trent:

It is. And I think a lot of people, they don’t get into business in an area that they’re unfamiliar with. If your passion is telecommunications or you’ve been in a telecommunications role, you don’t go out and start up a Boost Juice store or something that you’re not familiar with.

So, you generally should have an idea before you go out to sell the product. You should have an idea of whether there are any gaps in the market—who your competitors are, what’s your competitive advantage, and what’s your target market.

Interviewer:

Next podcast, we’re going to look a little bit more at marketing, in particular target audience. We’re also gonna look at your market, your customers—basically where your business or income is going to come from. Is this something, Trent, that you considered when you started?

Trent:

Yeah, we do. Look, when we started, I don’t think we had any competition back when we started. Now we have a lot of competition. So for us, it’s about staying ahead of the game. And that comes down to looking at our customers and it comes down to looking at how relevant our products are.

Interviewer:

Plenty to discuss next time. We’d love you to join the conversations. Send us your comments, questions on the Alltel Australia Facebook page or send us your comments via Twitter. You can also check out the website alltel.com.au or give us a call at 1 300 ALLTEL or 1 300 255 835. We hope you can join us next time.

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