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Start-ups: think big or you'll always be small

In 2012 Genevieve George came up with a brilliant idea. After spending the summer working in the hospitality industry and watching her friends in similar employment finding it difficult to coordinate long working hours with other commitments, Genevieve started talking to businesses. She talked to them about their thoughts on flexible and short term employment, and even the idea of hiring staff for just ‘one shift’.

Genevieve received an enthusiastic response to her idea for a more open hiring structure and as a result launched OneShift in June 2012. OneShift is an online job network which directly matches job seekers to employers in order to provide temporary or permanent part-time employment.

The network’s format is similar to a dating website; a seeker’s availability, location and skills are visible to a business searching for a suitable candidate. The internal database only matches those employees whose profiles are exactly what the job advertisement requires. This means that time and resources are not wasted during the often prolonged recruitment process.

The idea of ‘one-shift’ was embraced predominantly in the hospitality sectors of Sydney but has inevitably expanded so that the network now includes both casual and part-time employment across all industries in Australia.

So how is OneShift changing the employment scene?

Firstly, the hiring process is online. Every day, more and more Australians are connecting via the web in order to achieve and accomplish even the most mundane activities in their lives; shopping, communicating, researching and studying. With more people living and breathing on this online world, it is no surprise that when they are searching for a job that they turn to the web. OneShift is an online network which makes this job search, an often pained and prolonged process, so much simpler.

Secondly, OneShift is embracing this idea of flexibility in the workforce. Whilst they recognise that there is still a place for full-time work positions, they are embracing a new, more flexible, employment structure which hopes to get more Australians working.

As a start-up business, the greatest challenge for OneShift is keeping up with the growth of their site. They are making daily changes to their platform as they discover new industry skills and qualifications which need to be included for a more specific match.

Trying to understand and adapt their business so that it suits their customer needs is also a challenge. Ideally, they want to provide a platform which assists all types of industries in finding the staff they need. Each business is different and has their individual employment needs and requirements. Creating a single mould is not an option for them.

Genevieve has this advice to offer to other start-up businesses:

“Always remember your core business values and try to stick to these as your business grows, changes and develops. It’s these core values which were the reason why your business was successful in the first place.

Remember to think big because unless you do, you’ll always be small.

Everything about starting a business takes three times longer (and is three times more expensive) than what you originally think.”

Tips for new small businesses

Teresa McDowell is the founder of organic skin care business, Hemp Hemp Hooray. In the early years of her business, Teresa sold her products at markets while raising a young family. In the past two years Teresa has re-branded her range, built a new website and implemented an online store which has seen global online sales exceed their sales to retail outlets.

Teresa has some valuable tips for new small businesses owners or those looking to start a business:

Develop a strong business plan

 

I cannot express enough how important it is to have a strong business plan and clear vision when approaching your bank for finance and support.  You need to not only prove you have an understanding of your market and industry but it is also vital to bring your bank on board with your vision. We had no capital to launch our range and no assets to back us up, but we had a bank that believed in our plan.

Create a website for your business

Even if you don’t have a product you most certainly have a service and people need to know about you - they WILL be searching.  If you are not present on the web then someone else will be.

If you don’t have large amounts of money to invest in a website, programs such as Wordpress are quite simple to navigate and you can have a professional looking presence for little outlay until you can afford to update or expand your site.

Build a support team

Creating an organisational chart is a great exercise.  It not only highlights the many hats you wear in your business but it also shows you where you can outsource skills to further support and grow your business.

You may not be able to afford to employ any staff in the early days of your business but you can still build a very strong team around you.

In time your team will grow and be enhanced by new employees, either casual or full time, which is a wonderful opportunity for any business owner.

Pay for good advice

For me my best work is done when I am being creative – formulating and creating my products, visions, goals etc. I am very visual and I am less passionate with tasks such as bookkeeping and accounting.

To someone else numbers are creative and exciting so it made sense for me to outsource to a great bookkeeper, one who is now part of my team and who has been invaluable in regards to advice with GST and BAS requirements, employer obligations, super, PAYG tax etc.

Your team will also extend to those in other supporting roles such as a solicitor or your accountant. Very soon you will see that even though you may be going it alone in your business, you do have quite an extensive team around you to draw skills, knowledge and support from.