Locad’s Essential Checklist for Starting a Business in Australia

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Locad’s Essential Checklist for Starting a Business in Australia

Congratulations on starting a business!

At Locad, we understand the importance of having the correct information at your fingertips to make your business successful. We’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist to help you navigate starting a business in Australia.

Please note that while this checklist provides a solid foundation, it may only cover some unique situations for some types of business. Be sure to consult relevant government agencies for additional information and guidance.

Here are the four key sections of our Locad Starting a Business Checklist:

  1. Preparing to Launch Your Business
  2. Initiating Your Business
  3. Acquiring an Existing Business
  4. Managing and Growing Your Business

Good luck, and remember that Locad is your dedicated partner in your entrepreneurial journey.

Visit business.gov.au – Starting a business checklist regularly for the latest updates to this checklist.

We wish you the best of luck in your new venture and hope you find this checklist helpful!

Why this checklist benefits you?

Locad’s Essential Checklist for Starting a Business in Australia serves as a comprehensive resource that helps businesses navigate the complex process of launching and managing their ventures. This checklist provides step-by-step guidance on essential topics such as planning, registering, permits, taxes, legal requirements, import/export regulations, and emergency management. Covering a wide range of topics ensures that entrepreneurs have the necessary information to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls. Including relevant links to authoritative sources saves time and effort, directing business owners to the right resources to help them succeed. Ultimately, this checklist streamlines the process of starting a business, helping entrepreneurs focus on their core competencies and set a strong foundation for growth and success.

Making the Most of Starting a Business Checklist

To use the Starting a Business Checklist effectively, follow these simple steps:

1. Read through the entire checklist: Begin by familiarizing yourself with the entire document, taking note of the sections and topics covered. This will provide you with an overview of the various aspects of starting and managing a business.

2. Identify relevant sections: Not all sections may apply to your specific business. Identify the most relevant sections to your situation and focus on those.

3. Follow the step-by-step guidance: Each section provides a series of steps, questions, and relevant links to help you navigate the particular topic. Follow the steps and use the questions as prompts to ensure you address all essential aspects.

4. Utilize the provided resources: Use the links and resources provided within the checklist. These resources offer valuable information and guidance from authoritative sources. By following these links, you’ll be directed to the necessary websites and documents to assist you.

5. Create a personalized action plan: As you work through the checklist, make notes of the tasks you need to complete and any additional research required. Organize these tasks into a personalized action plan with deadlines and priorities.

6. Review and update regularly: Starting a business is an ongoing process, and your needs and requirements may change over time. Regularly review and update your action plan to ensure you’re staying on track and addressing any new issues that may arise.

7. Seek professional advice when necessary: While the checklist provides a wealth of information, some topics may require specialized knowledge or expertise. Feel free to seek professional advice from lawyers, accountants, or industry experts when needed.

By following these steps and using the Starting a Business Checklist as a roadmap, entrepreneurs can effectively navigate the complex process of launching and managing their businesses. This organized approach will help ensure that all critical aspects are considered, laying the foundation for a successful venture.

Preparing to Launch Your Business

Are you familiar with sources of advice & support?
Do you know when a hobby turns into a business?
Have you started planning your business strategy?
Are you aware of how to secure financing?
Do you know which business structure is best for your venture?
Are you operating as an independent contractor?
Are you familiar with sources of advice & support?

Download this cHecklist

When starting a business, find advice and support from government and organizations. Contact business.gov.au at their Contact Us page or call 13 28 46. Use the Expertise & Advice tool to find a government-funded small business advisor. Visit BEC Australia for assistance from Business Enterprise Centres. Indigenous Coordination Centres offer help for Indigenous people at indigenous.gov.au. The Infrastructure, Transport, Cities, and Regional Development Department supports rural and remote businesses. Access to Justice provides legal advice. Attend networking events and seminars found at business.gov.au – Events & Training.

Do you know when a hobby turns into a business?

Determining if you have a business or hobby affects taxes and deductions. Visit the ATO Are you in business? page, watch Tax Basics for small business videos, and explore business.gov.au – The difference between a business and a hobby.

Have you started planning your business strategy?

Planning is crucial for your business’s success. Review and revise your plans regularly.

Download the AU Gov Business plan template and Marketing plan template.

Find a business advisor using the Expertise & Advice tool.

Consider creating an Export plan and a Succession plan.Prepare an Emergency management & recovery plan.

Are you aware of how to secure financing?

Starting a business requires careful financial management for ongoing success. Determining how much funding you need is essential, where to obtain it, and how to manage your financial arrangements is essential. Consider sources of finance such as loans from banks, personal savings, borrowing from friends and relatives, chattel mortgages, finance leases, venture capital, and government funding. Contact a business advisor or consult your accountant or solicitor for advice. For more finance information, visit business.gov.au. 

Do you know which business structure is best for your venture?

Before starting a business, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of business structure to decide which best suits your needs. Your business structure can affect the safety of your personal assets and taxation obligations. The most common forms of business structure include sole trader, partnership, trust, and company. For more information, visit the Choosing your business structure page at ATO or contact a business advisor for advice using the Expertise & Advice tool at business.gov.au. You can also consult your accountant or solicitor. To register a business name or company, visit ASIC.

Are you operating as an independent contractor?

Independent contractors should determine their employment status under common law before entering a contract. They have different tax obligations and may be entitled to receive superannuation, Paid Parental Leave and may need to have workers’ compensation insurance. Contractors negotiate their fees but should cover the service’s actual cost and comply with WHS duties. A written contract can prevent disputes.

Useful links:

Initiating Your Business

Are you familiar with sources of advice & support?
Do you know when a hobby turns into a business?
Have you started planning your business strategy?
Are you aware of how to secure financing?
Do you know which business structure is best for your venture?
Are you operating as an independent contractor?
Are you familiar with sources of advice & support?
Have you taken corporate governance into account?
Are you knowledgeable about employing staff?
Have you looked into available grants or financial assistance?
Have you considered conducting business online?

Download this cHecklist

Diving Deep into Registrations & Licences

When starting a business, you must complete several registrations, depending on your chosen business structure. Here is a checklist of the main items, including relevant links.

Business name or company

Research the advantages and disadvantages of each structure before deciding. Registering a business name requires an ABN or ABN application number > Business structures.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

Apply for an ABN if you carry on an enterprise or register for GST >  Australian Business Register.

Tax File Number (TFN)

Sole traders can use their personal TFN, but partnerships, trusts, and companies need their own > ATO website.

Goods & Services Tax (GST)

Register for GST if your GST turnover is $75,000 or more > Australian Business Register.

Pay As You Go (PAYG) Withholding

Register if you have employees or pay employees of another business > Australian Business Register.

Fuel Tax Credits

 Eligible businesses can claim fuel tax credits for fuel used in business activities > ATO – Fuel Schemes.

Business Name

Register your business name with ASIC >  ASIC – Online Services

Licenses or Permits

Use the Australian Business Licence & Information Service (ABLIS) to find the licenses and permits applicable to your business > ABLIS.

Standard Business Reporting (SBR)

Register to streamline government compliance and financial reporting tasks >  SBR.

Domain Name

 Register your domain name to establish your online identity or brand >au Domains

For more information about registrations and licenses, visit business.gov.au – Registrations.

Understanding Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) covers a range of laws that give individuals and businesses exclusive rights over their creative and inventive projects. These include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and more.

Patent Protection: Patents protect new, inventive, useful devices, substances, methods, or processes. If your invention meets these criteria, consider applying for a patent through IP Australia.

Registering a Trademark: A trademark distinguishes your goods and services from similar offerings in the marketplace. Registering your business name as a trademark provides national proprietary rights, which can be enforced, sold, or licensed. Visit IP Australia. for more information.

Copyright Protection: Copyright automatically protects ideas and information expressed through writing, music, visual images, moving images, and computer programs. For resources on the Copyright Act 1968, visit the Attorney-General’s Department website.

Protecting Trade Secrets: Common law protects your trade secrets, but additional security can be provided by signing confidentiality agreements with those who know your secrets.

Registering Product Designs: If you own a new and distinctive design, you can register it to prevent others from using it without your permission. Visit IP Australia – Designs for more information.

International IP Protection: Besides registering in Australia, you can register for a trademark, patent, or design in overseas countries, which is vital if you export goods or sell goods and services over the Internet.

Download this cHecklist

What to do if you are a Home-based business?

Home-based businesses must consider additional issues, such as relevant licenses and permits, tax implications, insurance coverage, and good Information Technology (IT) practices.

Licenses & Permits: Home-based businesses must often comply with particular state, territory, and local government regulations. Contact your local council or planning authority for more information, and visit ABLIS to find the requirements for your specific business.

Tax Implications: Running a home-based business can affect what expenses you can claim and whether you have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) when you sell your home. Visit the ATO – Home-based Business page for more information.

Insurance Coverage: Your current home and contents insurance may not cover your home-based business operations. For more insurance information, see our Insurance topic.

Good IT Practices: Protect the security and integrity of your computer systems, manage the risk of information loss, and comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cwlth) if you handle personal information. For more information, see our Legal Requirements and Online Business topics.

Find more information about home-based businesses at business.gov.au – Home-based Businesses.

Keeping in mind your legal requirements and consumer laws

Legal Requirements:

Understand applicable laws and regulations, including federal, state, and local government laws. For general legal issues, visit the Treasury – Business and Industry.

Comply with licenses, registrations, and leases. Use the Australian Business Licence & Information Service (ABLIS) to find the necessary permits and contact your local council or planning authority.

Competition & Consumer Laws:

Know the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) and Australian Consumer Law (ACL) for promoting competition, fair trading, and consumer protection. Visit the ACCC website for more information.

Retail Leasing Laws:

Understand retail leasing laws, ask relevant questions before signing any lease agreement, and seek further information from the Treasury website – Business and Industry.

Privacy Laws:

Comply with privacy laws, ensuring you follow the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) if the Privacy Act covers your business. Visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for more guidance and advice.

Securing the Right Insurance for Your Business

Understanding and obtaining appropriate insurance is crucial for safeguarding your business. Consider workers’ compensation, home-based business insurance, public liability, asset and revenue protection, personal accident coverage, professional indemnity, and product liability insurance. 

Develop an emergency management and recovery plan to ensure business continuity. For general advice on product liability, visit the ACCC website or call 1300 302 021. More information on preparing an emergency management plan is available on – How to prepare an emergency management plan.

Meeting Employer Obligations and Ensuring a Fair Workplace

You must comply with various obligations under the national workplace relations system as an employer. Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website or call 13 13 94 for information on pay and conditions.

For additional guidance on recruiting, hiring contractors, apprentices, trainees, and overseas workers, visit business.gov.au – Hiring. For further guidance on recruiting, hiring contractors, apprentices, trainees, and overseas workers, visit business.gov.au – Hiring.

Exploring Available Grants and Assistance for Your Business

Grants and funding programs are available from various government levels to support business activities such as expansion, research and development, innovation, and exporting. Visit business.gov.au – Grants & Assistance or call 13 28 46 to find suitable grants and assistance, including those for employers, industry, environmental projects, and indigenous businesses. For indigenous business support, visit Indigenous Business Australia or call 1800 107 107.

Maximize Your Market Reach by Going Online

Consider starting an online business or offering your products and services online to reach a broader customer base. Establish a secure website and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. For IT training, visit business.gov.au – Hiring. For guidance on securing a secure website, visit the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online website and SCAMwatch.

Understanding and Complying with Applicable Laws and Regulations

Online businesses must adhere to the same laws and regulations as traditional businesses and additional rules such as spam laws. Learn about your spam obligations at Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) or call 1300 855 180. For privacy obligations, visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or call 1300 363 992. For consumer protection and competition laws, contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) at 1300 302 021 or visit the ACCC website. To protect your online business, visit the SCAMwatch and ACCC websites.

Acquiring an Existing Business

Have you thought about purchasing an existing business?

Have you explored the option of acquiring a franchise?

Buying an Established Business

Important Considerations Before Signing a Purchase Agreement

Before buying an established business, assess its current value, future prospects, financial records, and associated Intellectual Property (IP) issues. Be aware of the taxes that apply and your legal obligations, including those to existing employees. Consult a business advisor using the Expertise & Advice tool at business.gov.au and seek advice from an accountant or solicitor.

Buying a Franchise

Understanding the Franchising Code of Conduct and Other Considerations

When buying a franchise, be familiar with the Franchising Code of Conduct, which regulates the conduct of franchising participants and provides a cost-effective dispute resolution scheme. Visit the ACCC – Franchising for more information or call the Small Business Helpline at 1300 302 021. Consult a business advisor, an accountant, and a lawyer with franchising experience. Be aware of Intellectual Property (IP) issues and dispute resolution options. For more information on franchises, visit business.gov.au – Franchises.

Download this cHecklist

Managing and Growing Your Business

Are you aware of your continuous employer responsibilities?

Are you familiar with your Work Health & Safety obligations?

Have you considered exporting products or services?

Have you contemplated importing products or services?

Could your business gain from applying for tenders or contracts?

Is your business ready for emergencies?

Understanding Your Ongoing Employer Obligations

As an employer, it is crucial to comprehend and maintain your employees’ entitlements. The national workplace relations system, established by the Fair Work Act 2009, covers minimum National Employment Standards (NES), modern awards, minimum wage orders, and unfair dismissal protections. You can find more information about pay and conditions under this system on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Ensuring Work Health & Safety (WHS)

Understanding your legal obligations under WHS legislation is essential to prevent unnecessary costs and damage to your business caused by work-related injury and illness. As a business owner, you have various obligations under the WHS regulations and state and territory WHS legislation. To familiarize yourself with these responsibilities and to determine whether you need a WHS license or registration for work activities or items of plant, consult the Safe Work Australia website.

Expanding Your Market Through Importing and Exporting

Successful exporting requires careful planning and commitment, as expanding your market overseas can lead to greater profits but also increased risks.

Assessing Your Readiness to Export

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is the government’s trade, investment, and education promotion agency that assists Australian companies in growing their international businesses. They have a network of offices in over 50 countries and can provide valuable support and resources for your export venture.

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) is Australia’s export credit agency, providing financial assistance when banks are unable to fully support your export needs.

  • EFIC – Phone 1800 093 724

Department of Agriculture regulates and facilitates the export of food, live animals, animal products, fish, aquatic products, plants, and grains.

Researching Overseas Markets

Austrade has country profiles and doing business information for various countries, which can be found on their website.

Understanding Export Requirements

The Australian Border Force is responsible for clearing your goods for export. It is essential to know about restrictions and export regulations that may apply. Some exports may require approval or permits from other government agencies or authorities, depending on the restricted nature of the export.

Considering Online Exporting

Exporting online can be a cost-effective way to enter the overseas market. Online tools commonly used for international marketing include websites, e-mail, e-marketplaces, and collaboration tools. Contact Austrade for more information on exporting online.

Protecting Your International Intellectual Property (IP)

Registering a trademark, patent, design, or plant breeder’s right overseas is essential when exporting goods or conducting business online. Ensure that your export goods won’t infringe on the IP of others in the overseas market.

Leveraging Australia’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

Australia has a number of FTAs with other countries that provide better access for Australian exporters. Contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for more information on FTAs and overseas opportunities.

Additional Exporting and Financial Assistance Information

Several government agencies provide financial assistance and advice for exporters. Check your eligibility for financial assistance or find more information by contacting these agencies:

For more information on grants and assistance, visit the business.gov.au – Importing & Exporting page.

Emergency Management & Recovery – Why its crucial!

Being prepared for an emergency is crucial for any business. Natural disasters such as floods, fires, and earthquakes can strike without warning, and even if your business is not directly affected, your suppliers or buyers may be. Road closures in other areas can also reduce traffic to your location and decrease sales.

Emergency management planning goes beyond planning for natural disasters – it helps your business survive any emergency. By focusing on the impact of an emergency rather than the emergency itself, your business has a better chance of survival. In most states and territories, emergency management plans are a requirement of work health and safety legislation.

To help you prepare an emergency management plan, download the Emergency Management & Recovery Guide from business.gov.au.

For more information on emergency management, visit the business.gov.au – Emergency Management page.

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