First-time Whanganui business owner Wendy Johns has a business administration background but says even so it's a steep learning curve going out on her own.

Johns took over Blank Kanvas Concepts in Victoria Ave on August 1, employing a manager and some casual staff while continuing to work full-time as administration manager for Central Glass.

She is spending evenings and weekends working on new systems which will streamline how the business operates.

"For this business, the administration is run quite manually so I'm working on a new point-of-sale system," Johns said.

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"It's been a lot of work learning the system and getting ready to go live with it on October 1. We have 1200 inventory items and I need to make sure all the details of them are in there.

"It will help us keep track of the product better so [manager] Lisa's time is spent with customers."

Johns has an advantage over some first-time business owners in that she is already familiar with business processes.

"Being responsible for staff, payroll, tax and bills, all the jobs I've had up until now, helps but it's given me a better appreciation for my bosses and what they have to cope with."

Johns says Blank Kanvas is not a big business and the key will be ensuring all her records are kept up to date. She is relying on cloud-based accounting software platform Xero.

"Xero is brilliant. I use it at Central Glass and I wouldn't not have it. It's my first port of call."

Having a good accountant was also essential for small business owners, Johns said.