Starting your own business? Here’s what you need to set up.
A lot of people dream of starting their own business, working for themselves rather than answering to a boss, setting their own work hours and making as much or as little money as they desire. However, there’s a reason not everyone does it – it’s complicated, it can be confusing and sometimes there’s no room in the marketplace for what you want to do.
But if you have a great business idea, you have the passion and you’re motivated, then it’s time to set yourself up! So what should you start with? Here’s a basic guide (from someone who’s done it all before)…
1. Register for an ABN & Business Name
Once you have a name for your business, you need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and register your business name. You will need to decide if you want to be a sole trader, partnership, company or trust. More information on that can be found here. You can register your ABN and business name separately if you like, but it’s easier to apply for both at the same time here.
2. Register your domain name and set up your website and email address
When you’re choosing a website domain for your business it’s best to go with a name that represents your business or brand, is easy to remember, pronounce and spell and is short or unique.
If you want to buy a .com.au or .net.au web address you will need to be a commercial entity and have either an Australian Company Number (ACN) or Australian Business Number (ABN).
For more information go to the .au Domain Administration Ltd (.auDA) website.
You can choose to create your own website using an easy-to-use platform like Wix or you can employ a web designer to create it for you – it entirely depends on your budget. If you do employ a web designer, make sure they create your website in WordPress as it’s an easy platform to change in the future.
3. Accounting systems
With your accounting systems, you can go complex or simple. Simple being an Excel spreadsheet tracking your invoices (money coming in) and expenses (money going out). This is all your accountant will need at the end of the financial year, and is often enough in the first few years of business. As you make more money (hopefully!) you may need to set up Xero, Wave or another system which creates and tracks your invoices.
4. Business cards and office supplies for your workspace
Business cards are thought to be a little old-school these days, but they still have their time and place (specifically when meeting new people and in meetings with potential clients). Business cards can be very inexpensive if you look at Vistaprint or Moo.
5. Social media profiles
As a start, you’ll need to create a Facebook business page. If you’re a professional service you should also set up a LinkedIn page. All other social media platforms should be tailored to what your business does and who your audience is. For example, if you are targeting Millenials (those born from 1981-1996) you would want to investigate whether Snapchat and Instagram may be beneficial. And if you’re selling a physical product that lends itself to photography then Instagram is a must.
6. Legal contracts
Contracts help cover you in instances where clients are not paying your invoices, or where there has been a difference in opinion as to what you have been employed to do. In a service business, you should sign a client agreement with each new client that comes on board. When you’re selling a product, your liability needs to be covered in terms of lost parcels, goods returned, etc. It’s best to be as clear as possible so both sides know the agreement clearly.
7. Marketing activity
You’ll also need to register your business with Google My Business, so you come up in search results. It’s a good idea to look at online and offline marketing. Examples of online would include paid social media advertising, online banner ads on appropriate websites, email marketing and blogging. Offline advertising could include printed advertisements in local or national newspapers and magazines, printed flyers distributed in the mail, roadside banner advertising, radio and TV advertising and event marketing.
Starting a new business is exciting, scary, thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. Enjoy the ride!
Yours in digital,