Starting a business can be exciting, but also overwhelming and challenging if you have not properly prepared for your new venture!
This guide will take you through some essential considerations of starting a business.
Business plans are vital if you want your business journey to start on the right track! You don’t have to start with a comprehensive plan, you can write a one page plan that’s succinct and easy to understand. Keep in mind, however, that if you intend to apply for funding, you will need a longer and more comprehensive plan.
A business plan should include your target market, potential customers, competitors, income and expenses. It can also include your business idea and why investors should invest in your business, if applicable.
Business structure – protection
It is important to choose your business structure wisely as it will affect how much tax you pay and what laws will apply to you.
The main types of business structures include:
- sole trader,
- partnership, and
- company (with or without underlying trust).
Your choice of structure will affect your administration burden, tax, legal status, and ability to raise money through selling shares.
We recommend you speak to one of our experienced lawyers to discuss pros and cons of different business structures to determine the most suitable structure for your needs.
Registrations and licences
There may be licences and permits you will need in order to conduct business activities or help protect your business and employees. Licensing and permits usually vary between states, local laws, and industry.
The licences and permits you need will depend on your:
- business type,
- business activities, and
- business location.
A great starting place to find the licences and permits needed for your business is the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website.
If you are confused and unsure exactly what registration and licence requirements apply to your business, we recommend you speak to one of our experienced lawyers.
Insurances – protection
Before choosing an insurance policy for your business, you should evaluate your insurance needs.
It’s important to consider each type of insurance and whether it’s something your business needs. Some insurers also provide insurance package policies tailored for different business types.
Types of business insurance vary and usually provide protection for:
- business assets and earnings,
- customers and employees, and
- business owners.
This list is a general guide only and should not replace professional advice tailored to your circumstances.
Protecting your IP / trademarks, etc.
Choosing a business name to build your brand is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. There is a common misconception that registering your business name or purchasing a domain name gives you the same rights as a registered trade mark, however it does not! A trade mark, on the other hand, will give you exclusive rights to that mark.
It is vital to understand that trade marks give you the right to take legal action to prevent others from using your mark, so it is important to register the name as soon as possible.
If your business involves an invention, you will need to apply for a patent so you have protection and control over your invention. There are different types of patents available, the type of patent you apply for will depend on how long you require protection of your innovation. It is very important to be careful with making your innovation known to the public before you have secured a patent for it.
Get professional help – accountant / legal advisor
Different types of advisers are available to help you with financial, legal and other business needs.
Accountants are one of the most common type of business advisers and can give you advice about:
- starting your business,
- taxation requirements,
- PAYG and superannuation obligations, and
- Managing records and finances.
Obtaining legal advice is also vital for running your business. There will be times when you will need advice on specific legal issues such as contracts, debt recovery, insurance, intellectual property, general business advice and more.
It is clear from the above discussion that starting a business requires careful planning and patience.
Although you may be excited and eager to start your business right away, it is important to plan, organise, prepare and seek relevant professional advice before jumping head-first into starting your business.