So! You’ve decided to become your own boss and start up your business – you’ve worked out what you want to do and you’re excited to get started. But what do you need to have in place before you can start trading? With all of the various rules and regulations around businesses in Australia, as well as the often complex tax system, it’s important to set up your business correctly from day one to avoid issues down the line. So without further ado, here are 10 steps to starting a business.
- 1 1. Develop a Business Plan
- 2 2. Establish an Appropriate Trading Entity
- 3 3. Register your Business Name
- 4 4. Obtain Appropriate Insurance Cover
- 5 5. Obtain Council/Shire Permission
- 6 6. Secure Relevant Licences or Permits
- 7 7. Open a Business Bank Account
- 8 8. Establish a Thorough Record-Keeping System
- 9 9. Check Industry Awards and Conditions
- 10 10. Get your Personal Affairs in Order
1. Develop a Business Plan
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Like many things in life, it’s crucial to have a plan for your business before you get started. While a detailed, comprehensive business plan can be time-consuming, it ultimately lays the foundation for your business, for better or for worse. Using a business plan template is a good place to start, as all you’ll have to do is fill in the blanks and apply the different sections to your new business.
2. Establish an Appropriate Trading Entity
Getting your business off on the right foot includes setting up your trading entity in a way that minimizes your tax bill, appropriately protects your assets and facilitates growth in line with your vision for the business. Depending on what your business will be doing, how it’s going to operate, and whether or not you’ll be employing staff are all factors to consider. Speak to an accountant about whether a sole trader, partnership, company or trust structure is most appropriate for your needs.
3. Register your Business Name
A fairly simple one really – before you start doing business, you need to register your business name with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission). While this does not mean you own the name, nor does it mean that other people cannot register similar names. Registering a business name is a legal obligation if you plan to trade under a name other than your own.
4. Obtain Appropriate Insurance Cover
Navigating the ins and outs of insurance is tricky – make sure you get in touch with an insurance broker for advice on public liability, workers’ compensation, personal sickness & accident, business assets cover, and any other insurance that’s relevant for your business.
5. Obtain Council/Shire Permission
Some hurdles for business owners include working within the rules and regulations put in by local councils with regards to permissions around operating businesses from home or premises, as well as zoning or planned changes. Touch base with the relevant council or shire office for more information.
6. Secure Relevant Licences or Permits
Certain types of businesses operating within their relevant industries need to have specific licenses in order to trade. For example, these can include liquor licenses for restaurants, bars, and taverns; or development and construction approvals for builders. Contact the SBDC (Small Business Development Centre) for more information on what you need to have in place.
7. Open a Business Bank Account
What’s a business without money coming in and out? Once you have registered your business name, contact your bank to open up a business bank account (make sure you have your certificate of business name registration handy).
8. Establish a Thorough Record-Keeping System
One major gripe with time-poor business owners is the fact that running a business requires thorough and accurate bookkeeping. Thankfully, the development of online bookkeeping software and the various apps and programs that integrate with them, maintaining your books is easier than ever. What’s more, for those who still find making time for bookkeeping difficult, engaging a reputable bookkeeping service may be more worthwhile for you.
9. Check Industry Awards and Conditions
Different industries and their employees are entitled to certain pay and conditions – and meeting these awards is crucial if you are planning on employing staff to work in your business. Fair Work Australia has comprehensive guides on its website regarding the different awards, the conditions set out in them, relevant minimum wages, and other important information.
10. Get your Personal Affairs in Order
Although it’s not pleasant to think about, your business may become a liability to your loved ones if you were to pass away or become incapacitated due to a health issue or accident. Setting up or updating your will, taking out (or reviewing) life insurance, and establishing a succession plan are all practical steps you can take in order to future-proof your business and give you and your family peace of mind.
Establishing a business can be daunting, exciting, overwhelming, but most of all – rewarding. Doing the hard yards in the early days may seem exhausting, but can lay the foundations for a successful and profitable business for many years to come. If you need advice starting your very own business, or with any of the steps outlined in this article, contact McKinley Plowman today on 08 9301 2200 or visit www.mckinleyplowman.com.au for more information.
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