How to start a business in Australia

a man starting a business

If you want to start a business in Australia, the following checklist will make it easier to plan and manage your startup.

If you are considering the possibility of starting a business, but not sure if its right for you, read Thinking of starting your own business?

Having made the decision to start your own business, the steps involved are not difficult, but it will involve a bit of time and some thought on your part.

It is possible to organise most of the business setup yourself.  The money you save can be invested in the business.

I have provided links to other articles, if you would like more information on any of the following steps.

Business plan

  • Don’t miss this step. Put your business idea on paper. It will be your road map providing guidance and direction on what is needed to start, run and grow your business.
  • Read: Simple 10 step business plan.

 Business name

  • Think carefully about the name you choose because it will be what identifies the business to customers, and will be used for branding, marketing and all communications.
  • Read: Do you need to register a business name.

Branding your business

 Legal structure

Registrations

  • Determine which registration are required for your business structure.
  • This may include an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN), Tax File Number (TFN), GST, Pay as you go (PAYG), Copyright, Trade-mark, Patent, Domain, Superannuation and Worker Compensation.
  • For all business registrations read: Business registration summary.

Location

  • You may decide to run your business from home.  This can be a cost-effective option, but try to have a separation between living and work spaces.  A separate work space will generally be a claimable tax deduction.
  • Contact your local council to enquire if permits are required because, some may prohibit certain home-based industries.
  • If considering a commercial lease, understand they can be quite different from residential.  Make sure you fully understand the lease agreement, and seek legal advice before signing.
  • Before deciding on a commercial property, explore the neighbourhood giving special attention to how foot and road traffic, parking and security may affect your business operations.

Finance

  • Calculate your start-up and ongoing business costs. The Simple 10 step business plan has templates, and further information to assist with costing.
  • Open a business banking and credit card accounts where appropriate.
  • If the business will be accepting payments, research suitable payment gateways such as bank credit card processing, PayPal and Stripe etc.

Loans and lending

  • If you need business finance check with your bank to see what they can offer because they will likely be cheaper than non-bank lenders.
  • Consider a business credit card, overdraft or line of credit for smaller borrowings.
  • Read: Business lending and loans.

 Marketing & Promotions

 Get online

 Equipment and furniture

  • Determine what will be required, and how it will be installed and financed.  Consider buying used rather than new for cost savings.  Keep all documentation for tax deductibility purposes.

Hardware and software

  • Purchase any hardware such as computer/laptop/tablet, printer, point of sale, mobile phone etc.
  • Purchase or subscribe to necessary software to run the business.

Stationery

  • Organise the printing of business cards.
  • Determine whether other stationery, such as letterheads or forms need to be printed. A template can be easily designed on your computer to save printing costs.
  • Prepare a valid invoice template.  Read: Australian invoice requirements for more information with free template downloads.

Insurance

 Employees / Sub Contractors

Accounting

Seek advice

  • Speak to an accountant, bookkeeper, business coach and other specialists in your business field.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or pay for good advice.  It could save you an awful lot of time, money and frustration in the long run.

Final thoughts

Getting started in business can be both exciting and rewarding but, challenging and daunting all at the same time.

Start and grow your business has tried to cover all the essential elements involved with a new start-up, or for those wanting to increase, or expand their market share.

There is a variety of information including resources, tools, services, and downloads to help and support business owners.

This site has been designed to easily find information using the inbuilt search facility, or the top menu.

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