How do I start a small business in Australia?

Ever wondered how to start your own business in Australia?

Beginning a brand-new enterprise in one's business life is, in equal parts, both thrilling and worrisome. On the one hand, you'll finally be in charge; you'll be the one in charge of your own life and your own path to success, and you'll be doing it in a field that you're actually enthusiastic about. On the other side, you now have a long list of things that you need to complete before you even begin in order to ensure that everything begins in a timely and orderly manner.

When you work for someone else, you are relieved of these obligations, but when you run your own startup, you are responsible for all of these difficulties. Not only that, but the laws, regulations, and procedures necessary to get your firm up and going might vary greatly from nation to nation. Therefore, even if you have already started a firm in one country, you will still need to conduct a significant amount of study before expanding it into another country.

Would you like to speak to a specialist? Book a complimentary discovery session by calling: (03)999 81940 or emailing

It is highly likely that the day you launch your startup will be one of the most exciting, eventful, and satisfying days of your professional life. However, as you make preparations for the big opening of your firm, it is essential to keep in mind that not all small businesses are destined to be successful. It takes careful preparation, a lot of effort, and unwavering commitment to launch a small business in Australia that is successful. If you exhibit these characteristics, there is a greater possibility that you will be successful over the long run. The following is a list of the stages required to initiate a new business in Australia.

What exactly is a small business?

A small business can have a variety of meanings depending on the laws and regulations that govern it.

The Corporations Act 2001, which ASIC is responsible for enforcing, provides the definition of a "small proprietary company." A "small proprietary company" will be considered "small" for the purposes of an accounting period beginning on or after 1 July 2019, if it satisfies at least two of the following criteria:

  • generating less than $50 million in annual revenue;
  • less than one hundred workers on staff as of the conclusion of the fiscal year;
  • total assets throughout all consolidations amounting to less than $25 million at the conclusion of the financial year

For financial years commencing before 30 June 2019, a proprietary company is defined as 'small' if it satisfies at least two of the below criteria:

  • generating less than $25 million in annual revenue;
  • less than fifty people working for the company at the end of the fiscal year;
  • Gross assets across the company were consolidated amounting to less than $12.5 million at the end of the fiscal year.

The Australian Taxation Office defines a "small business entity" as one that has an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million. This definition is used for taxation purposes.

According to the criteria established by Fair Work Australia, a small business is one that has 15 workers or fewer on its payroll.

Many governing bodies adhere to the definition provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which states that a small firm is one that has less than 20 employees.

Do you meet the requirements to launch a new company or business?

It is an automatic disqualification for certain individuals to manage organizations or run enterprises in Australia.

Is it possible for a person who has been bankrupt, disqualified, or convicted to become a director of a company or to manage a corporation?

It is impossible for a person who has declared bankruptcy to serve as the manager of a business during the time in which they are bankrupt. Please visit our articles on bankruptcy and personal insolvency arrangements for further details.

You could be disqualified from managing a company or banned from doing so by ASIC for up to five years if any of the following apply to you:

You have been involved in two or more companies that have failed (been liquidated) in the last seven years, and a liquidator has submitted a report with ASIC for each of the firms indicating the companies' incapacity to pay their debts. If you are found guilty of this offence, you will be fined $10,000.

Take for example a person who has been found guilty of multiple crimes, one of which is fraud. If this is the case, they are automatically banned from managing a firm for a period of five years, beginning on the day they were convicted or, if they were imprisoned, the day they were released from jail, whichever comes first.

If you have been barred from managing a firm in the past, are you still able to register a business?

If an entity has been banned from managing a company by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), then that entity is unable to have a business name. An entity is able to be:

  • an individual
  • a company
  • a partnership
  • a body corporate
  • a superannuation fund
  • any other unincorporated association or body of persons
  • a trust

If you or a person who is engaged in the management of your firm is disqualified from holding a business name, you are required to inform ASIC of the situation. It is a violation of the law to manage a business while you are barred from doing so.

How to Get Your Australian Business Off the Ground

Make a plan

An idea can come to anyone at any time. What really matters is how well your idea is put into action and how strategically you approach it. If you follow these steps, you will be able to transform your pastime into a lucrative work-from-home enterprise. When it comes to managing your company, your business plan ought to serve as your primary reference point.

Your strategy needs to identify crystal-clear goals, opportunities, and financial projections that you intend to accomplish within a certain amount of time. It is also crucial to determine how you will react to any failures or obstacles that may arise. Planning for a company involves more than just the day-to-day operations; you also need to sketch out how you want your company to develop over the next six to twelve months.

Before you launch your company, here are some questions you should think about answering:

  • Who do you anticipate being the primary purchasers of your goods or services?
  • What are some of the things that your budget can support?
  • Where do you see your company in the next year from now?
  • How might you price your goods and services in comparison to those offered by your rivals?
  • Do you have a formal plan in mind for your business's marketing?
  • What kind of organizational framework do you see for your company?

Find your structure

When beginning a new business, determining the structure of the company is one of the first steps that must be taken. When you choose a structure for your company, there are crucial tax ramifications, liability limitations, and reporting duties that come along with it. Because of this, the structure of your company will have a considerable influence on how you manage your company and the actions you must take to ensure that it is in compliance with the law.

The following are the three most common types of business structures in Australia:

  • Sole trader (or sole proprietorship)
  • Partnership
  • Company

Depending on your current situation and the kind of company you intend to launch, there are particular organizational forms that will be more appropriate than others. If you wish to be your own boss as an electrician, for instance, you might find that operating as a sole trader gives you more flexibility. However, sole proprietorships do not have limited liability protections. This indicates that your assets may be used as security and that the gains you make will be subject to taxation as a component of your income. In addition, if you wish to conduct business under a certain brand name, you will be required to register a distinct business name.

You also have the option of registering your business as a corporation if you do not wish to accept any financial responsibility for your actions. Your company's profits will be subject to a tax rate that is lower than the personal income tax rate, as they will be treated as separate from your personal income. When you register a company, you remove yourself from personal liability for any financial losses incurred by the firm (unless you sign a director's guarantee).

Find your space

You can enjoy greater freedom and convenience by operating a business out of your home; but, you should designate a space in your house specifically for business-related activities. This might be as simple as a desk that will function as your office, or it can be a separate room where you will oversee the day-to-day activities of your company. If you do this, you will get into the mindset of running a business, and it will also help you reduce the number of distractions that may be present in your house. You should also review the instructions provided by the local government to determine which regulations apply to your immediate vicinity. Home-based enterprises are subject to a variety of regulations from various local governments; some of these regulations even require approval.

tax strategies on paper

Create an account to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN)

You are required to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN), regardless of the kind of business structure you decide to use (ABN). An Australian Business Number, or ABN, is a one-of-a-kind number that identifies your company for tax purposes. If you plan to register for GST or PAYG Withholding, you are required to obtain an ABN in order to do so. In addition to this, you are required to include your ABN on all receipts and invoices that you provide to customers.

Please be aware that in order to submit an application for an ABN on behalf of your firm, you are required to first register for an Australian Company Number (ACN). After you have finished registering for an ACN, you are eligible to submit an application for a new firm ABN.

Build a digital and social media presence

Creating a positive presence on the internet is essential for the success of any small business. Your website serves as the initial point of contact with customers and is an important factor in determining the trustworthiness of your company. Your website not only gives potential customers information about the services you offer but also helps to establish their perception of your brand.

To have a successful home-based small business in today's digital age, where 79 percent of Australians own smartphones and 81 percent of consumers conduct product research online before making a purchase, having a digital presence is absolutely necessary. In Australia, this percentage stands at 79 percent. In addition, the majority of proprietors of small businesses are taken aback when they learn that the cost of maintaining a website is surprisingly low.

Think about the legal requirements you'll have come forward

It is essential to make certain that you are in possession of the appropriate legal documents in order to guarantee that your website complies with applicable laws and is protected by Australian Consumer Law. These contain the terms and conditions for using your website as well as your privacy policy.

As your small business expands, you may find that you require employment agreements when recruiting new personnel, additional asset protection, or the decision to register your company to better safeguard your organization's interests. By participating in our no-cost Legal Health Check, you will be able to determine the areas of law in which your company's operations are lacking and stay current on all of your legal responsibilities.

Determine where your funding will be coming from

If your new company is like the vast majority of other new businesses, managing your cash flow will likely be your top priority. Even if you have the most brilliant idea for a business in the history of mankind, it won't be of many services to you if you can't afford to keep the lights on while you're still trying to find your footing in the marketplace. Because of this, it is essential to have a good understanding of the resources that are at one's disposal in order to make the era of rapid expansion much more manageable.

There are not a lot of grants available from the federal government to assist you to get your business started, but there are lots of choices that are unique to each state. For instance, if you are beginning a firm in Adelaide, you are eligible to apply for a cool $20,000 Small Business Development Fund.

Choose your software stack

When you first begin constructing your company, you will be faced with a significant number of important choices. The smart selection of software that can simplify your life as your business grows is one of the most essential decisions you will need to make.

There are a few tools that ought to be on every firm's radar, despite the fact that the specific software options you go with will rely heavily on the kind of company you end up launching (for example, a software as a service company will call for slightly different tools than a coffee shop).

A customer relationship management system (CRM), an accounting or bookkeeping software, and an analytics tool are three things that almost every business should use in order to keep their finances in order, track the growth of their business, and monitor critical information about their customers.

Register in order to pay the appropriate taxes

According to a well-known proverb, "the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes." Unfortunately, this is also true if you start a business in Australia; in order to prevent any potential legal ramifications, you are required to register for the appropriate taxes as soon as possible. There are some taxes that apply to every kind of business, while others are only necessary for particular kinds of businesses. The taxes that you have to register for are determined by the kind of business you plan to create.

Some instances include:

  • If your company has a yearly revenue of more than AUD 75,000, you are required to register for the Goods and Services Tax, sometimes known as GST;
  • Pay as You Go (PAYG) withholding tax - this is required if you need to withhold an amount for tax purposes, such as when paying wages or salaries; Pay as You Go (PAYG) withholding tax rates are as follows:
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT): You are required to register for this tax if you are in the fortunate position of being able to offer benefits to your employees, such as providing them with a company automobile.

If you take care of the fundamentals I listed above, you should be good to go. However, we do have one more piece of advice for you: beginning a business is a challenging endeavour that may be made a great deal less difficult if you are able to find ways to cut costs and build a strong network of peers and partners with whom you can collaborate.

Setting up shop in one of Australia's many coworking spaces is a fantastic method to accomplish both of these goals. You will not only be able to save a significant amount of money on office bills, but you will also be able to open the door to opportunities for networking, which can lead to more benefits in the future.

We wish you the very best of luck in everything you accomplish and wherever you choose to set up shop for your new venture, no matter what it may be.

Before you launch a company, you should know this:

  • The government and a variety of other organizations both offer various kinds of support to those who need it.
  • There is a significant gap between having a pastime and operating a profitable business. Determine your status as soon as possible because it will have an impact on your taxes and deductions.
  • Attending classes geared at small business owners can help with concerns such as planning, managing finances, being innovative, hiring employees, and exporting goods. Through networking, you may stay abreast of developments in the field as well as in the community.
  • It is absolutely necessary to create a business strategy in order to ensure the success of your company. As a standard part of your continuous company activity, you should regularly examine and adjust your strategies.
  • Having a business and marketing plan will help direct your efforts. Take into consideration a plan for social media, a plan for exporting or importing, a plan for succession, and a plan for responding to emergencies.
  • To ensure the continued success of your company, sound financial management is absolutely necessary. Be aware of how much funding you require, the locations from which you may obtain it, and the strategies for managing your financial arrangements.

How can I start a small business online?

The following are some things that can be helpful when beginning an internet small business:

Help is available from a variety of government departments and agencies, including the Department of Communications and the Treasury.

Find out where you can acquire training in information technology (IT) so that you can create a safe website. You have the option of doing it yourself, using services, or employing a professional site designer. Create a website that is simple to navigate and utilize. To draw people to your website, you should make use of search engines, social media, and keywords.

When you have finished developing your website, it is critical to take the necessary precautions to guarantee that it is adequately safeguarded, so that private information is not lost, corrupted, or deleted. On the Stay Smart Online website and across its many social media channels, users may get information on the straightforward measures that they and smaller businesses can take to safeguard their private and financial information when transacting business online. Sensitive data runs the risk of being taken, corrupted, or deleted if it is not well protected.

You are required to abide by the same laws and regulations as if you were doing your business out of a storefront. When you run a business online, you are subject to extra restrictions, such as spam laws and privacy duties. Complying with these requirements is required in order to protect the personal information of your clients, which you collect both online and offline. Even if your company is not covered by the Privacy Act, you should nevertheless make maintaining customer confidentiality a priority. Examine the applicable state and territory consumer laws in your area, then get in touch with the consumer affairs department in your state or territory.

Consider Having a Soft Opening

"The most common error that new business owners make is jumping right in with a huge party to celebrate the grand opening of their company. After that, they find out that the computer system still has some issues, that they did not hire enough staff, and that the phone system is not functioning properly. Because of this, every company ought to have a soft opening' at least thirty days before their official 'grand opening.'" — Diane Seltzer, Small Business Marketing Tools.

It is possible that, in your haste to begin providing services to clients, you will be tempted to plan your official opening before you have ironed out some of the more usual problems. You can help avoid some of the typical problems that plague business owners during their first week of operation by planning a "soft opening" approximately 30 days before you officially open your business to the general public. This will allow you to get a feel for how customers will interact with your establishment.

You will be able to evaluate the efficiency of your website, phone system, production line, and other essential aspects of your company if you choose to do a soft opening first. Most significantly, it will assist in making sure that everything runs properly throughout the first official week of your business's operation.

Would you like to speak to a specialist? Book a complimentary discovery session by calling: (03)999 81940 or emailing


When launching a business from home, preparation and strategy is absolutely essential. Be sure that you understand the guidelines that have been set by your local council and that you comply with any zoning rules. You should also make certain that you obtain home and contents insurance to cover the assets of your company in the event that something were to go wrong. In spite of how exciting it may be, it is essential to evaluate the objectives of your business and have a solid legal foundation in order to guarantee that your company is in full compliance with the law.

Starting a new venture, particularly a small business, can be one of the most thrilling experiences a person can have in their lifetime. In addition, if you follow the procedures outlined above, you will be able to set your small business up for success right from the moment that you formally open your doors for business.

We at Klear Picture encourage you to get in touch with us so that we can educate you on additional ways to make your company successful in Australia. We will help you maximize the financial future of your company by providing you with individualized guidance and instruments for great savings, in addition to assisting you through the phases of beginning your own business and leading you through those phases. We can't wait to be of assistance in the expansion and success of your small business!


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